August 25, 2020
Sheringham Extension and Dudgeon Extension are part of The Crown Estate’s 2017 Offshore Wind Extensions opportunity – which aims to unlock additional capacity in the UK offshore wind portfolio in an efficient way, by extending existing offshore wind farms.
Last year, both proposals successfully progressed through the plan level Habitats Regulations Assessment stage (HRA), which assesses the possible impact of the proposed windfarm extensions on relevant nature conservation sites of European importance.
Now, both of Equinor’s proposed wind farm extensions have officially signed an Agreement for Lease, securing an area of seabed of approximately 196 km2 in total.
The company currently operates two wind farms off the Norfolk Coast, Dudgeon and Sheringham Shoal, which together generate enough renewable electricity to power around 750,000 UK homes.
Equinor is developing plans to extend both sites, doubling the total capacity from its Norfolk operations to over 1400 MW, enough to power over 1.5 million homes.
Kari Hege Mørk, project manager at Equinor, said: “In support of its Net Zero ambitions, the UK Government has set a target to increase offshore wind capacity to 40GW by 2030, around four times what we currently have. The Extension Projects will make an important contribution to the UK’s decarbonisation goals, along with providing benefits to local communities through local jobs and economic opportunities.
“With good wind conditions, a short distance to shore and a location next to our existing wind farms, the two areas are perfectly suited to build on our offshore wind portfolio. This is a significant milestone as we develop these new wind farms, which will double our capacity for generating offshore wind in Norfolk.”
Although these are two separate offshore wind farm extension projects, Equinor has adopted a strategic approach and is developing the projects jointly to minimise local impacts.
As such the company will apply for a common Development Consent Order for the Extension Projects and is consulting on both projects together.
“We’ve just finished the first phase of our community consultation, which ran from 9 July to 20 August,” Kari Hege continued.
“Due to Covid-19 unfortunately we weren’t able to hold face to face events as we would have liked to, so instead we hosted a virtual exhibition platform with all the relevant information, and plenty of ways to get in touch. We had really great engagement, with over 1600 people visiting the online platform during the consultation period. This feedback from the community is really important as we develop our plans.”