Ofgem E-Serve has announced the shortlist of firms for the first tender to run transmission connections to offshore wind farms. The shortlisted firms are competing to own and operate transmission links with some of Britain's first offshore wind farms. In total, the links will connect up to 2,000 megawatts of renewable electricity. This is the first phase of a �15 billion programme to ensure links to offshore wind farms, which could total 33 GW by 2020, are built on time and cost effectively for consumers and generators. The winning bidders will be announced in May 2010. The first phase has been characterised by strong competition between new entrants and existing network companies, with some attractive offers from new entrants, putting the project on course to achieve the predicted �1 billion of savings to consumers from all phases of the programme. Also, the European Investment Bank is considering making over �300 million available for the first tender phase. Ofgem's Chief Executive Alistair Buchanan, said: "If Britain is to meet its climate change targets and secure energy supplies Ofgem's Project Discovery estimates that up to �200 billion may need to be invested. Offshore wind will play a key role in delivering a better environment for consumers, so it is vital that the transmission links for offshore wind attract investors and are built as quickly and cost effectively as possible. "The strong competition for the first round of transmission links demonstrates the value of attracting new entrants and shows that firms have confidence in the tendering process and are willing to make a substantial investment. This is vital if the �15 billion needed to connect the Government's target of 33 gigawatts of offshore wind is to be raised in these difficult financial circumstances."