World's Largest Offshore Wind Farm Approved

offshore wind

By MarEx 2015-02-24 17:15:06

The first consent order for offshore wind energy at Dogger Bank in the North Sea has been granted – making it the largest renewable energy development ever to receive planning consent in the UK. 

The consent approval is the result of more than four years of comprehensive assessments, stakeholder consultation and planning by the Forewind consortium, owned equally by the four international energy companies – RWE, SSE, Statkraft and Statoil. This work included the most extensive study of an offshore area by a wind energy developer ever undertaken with more than £60 million spent on surveys, the vast majority going to UK-based contractors.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey approved the application for the Dogger Bank Creyke Beck development, which was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate by the Forewind consortium in August last year. He said:

“This is another great boost for Yorkshire and Humberside. This development has the potential to support hundreds of green jobs and power up to two million homes.

“Making the most of Britain’s home grown energy is creating jobs and businesses in the UK, getting the best deal for consumers and reducing our reliance on foreign imports. Wind power is vital to this plan, with £14.5 billion invested since 2010 into an industry which supports 35,400 jobs.”

Dogger Bank Creyke Beck, which has a total generating capacity of 2.4GW, comprises two separate 1.2GW offshore wind farms, each with up to 200 turbines installed across an area of around 500km2. The wind farms will be located 131km from the UK coast and will connect into the existing Creyke Beck substation near Cottingham, in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

When constructed, Dogger Bank Creyke Beck is expected to be one of UK’s largest power generators, second only to the 3.9GW Drax coal-fired station in North Yorkshire and is the same size as the 2.4GW Longannet coal-fired station in Fife. In total it will be capable of generating 8 terrawatt hours (TWh) of green energy per annum, equal to the amount used annually by approximately 1.8 million British homes.

General Manager, Tarald Gjerde said the organisation and its four owners are thrilled that the first consent for the Dogger Bank Zone has been granted, taking the flagship development a step closer to supplying the UK with such a significant amount of renewable energy, and to realizing the many potential economic opportunities, particularly on the east coast.

Dogger Bank Creyke Beck could create up to 4750 new direct and indirect full time equivalent jobs and generate more than £1.5 billion for the UK economy, with the majority of opportunities in the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber regions. This is particularly due to the regions proximity to the development as well as their historic strengths, existing skills in large-scale production activities and a marine support legacy. 

“Achieving consent for what is currently the world’s largest offshore wind project in development is a major achievement for Forewind and will help confirm the UK’s position as the world leader in the industry,” Gjerde said. “It is testament to the stellar efforts made by the outstanding Forewind team, and to the invaluable support given by a wide range of expert consultants and specialist suppliers."

Dogger Bank Creyke Beck is part of the Dogger Bank Zone, the largest of the Round 3 zones but one of the shallowest, with high wind speeds and seabed conditions ideally suited to offshore wind development.

The rights for the Dogger Bank Zone were awarded to Forewind by The Crown Estate, manager of the UK seabed. Head of Offshore Wind for The Crown Estate, Huub den Rooijen said that: 

“Today’s announcement for Dogger Bank Creyke Beck is the largest planning consent for an offshore wind development globally. The sheer scale of this project creates the potential for it to be built at significantly lower costs, presenting a powerful opportunity for economic growth and jobs. We look forward to working with the Forewind consortium and the wider offshore wind industry to ensure the UK remains the most attractive country to invest into the long term.”

As part of the consent process a final six-week judicial review period is now underway.

A decision on Forewind’s second development consent order application, for Dogger Bank Teesside A&B, in anticipated around August this year.

RenewableUK’s Director of Offshore Renewables, Nick Medic, said: “This is an awesome project. It will surely be considered as one of the most significant infrastructure projects ever undertaken by the wind industry. A colossal wind energy power station right in the middle of the North Sea, comprising hundreds of offshore wind turbines over 80 miles offshore.

“Dogger Bank demonstrates the sheer potential of offshore technology to turn our vast ocean and wind resources into green energy. It is a project that pushes the offshore engineering envelope - demonstrating how far this technology has evolved in the ten short years since the first major offshore wind farm was installed in North Hoyle just 5 miles from shore.

“The Dogger Bank projects now in planning could supply around 5 percent of UK electricity. We need to make sure that this project as well as other worthy offshore projects around these islands are adequately supported and funded. In return, offshore wind will generate much more than just electricity: it will turn the country into a green-economy powerhouse, creating jobs and business growth for years to come. Finally, we offer our congratulations for the team at the Forewind consortium taking this project to its consent.”