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Huge offshore wind farm gets green light

PUBLISHED: 18:09 01 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:47 02 July 2020

One of Vattenfall's windfarms. The Swedish energy giant has plans to build two more off the norfolk coast, called Boreas and Norfolk Vanguard. Pic: Robin Dawe/ Perfectly Clear Marketing

One of Vattenfall's windfarms. The Swedish energy giant has plans to build two more off the norfolk coast, called Boreas and Norfolk Vanguard. Pic: Robin Dawe/ Perfectly Clear Marketing

Robin Dawe/ Perfectly Clear Marketing

At least one of three huge wind farm projects planned to be built off the Norfolk coast will go ahead.

Vattenfall’s Horns Rev 3 offshore wind farm in the North Sea off Denmark. The Swedish power company is planning two offshore wind farms off the coast of Norfolk, called Vanguard and Boreas, that could power more than 3.9mn UK homes. Image: VattenfallVattenfall’s Horns Rev 3 offshore wind farm in the North Sea off Denmark. The Swedish power company is planning two offshore wind farms off the coast of Norfolk, called Vanguard and Boreas, that could power more than 3.9mn UK homes. Image: Vattenfall

The government has approved plans for the Norfolk Vanguard wind farm, which is to be built east of Norfolk by Swedish energy firm Vattenfall.

And Alok Sharma, secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, said he was “minded to approve” a second project, Hornsea Three, if he is satisfied with what the firm behind that project, Orsted, can tell him “on a number of specific issues”.

Danielle Lane, Vattenfall’s UK offshore wind manager, said: “This is a great step forward in the battle against climate change, to increase jobs and skills in the East of England, and for the offshore wind industry as a whole.

“The Norfolk Vanguard offshore wind farm will generate 1.8 gigawatts of clean electricity when built. That’s enough to power almost two million homes each year while saving over three million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions – the same as taking approximately 1.6 million cars off the road.”

Vattenfall’s Horns Rev 3 offshore wind farm in the North Sea off Denmark. The Swedish power company is planning two offshore wind farms off the coast of Norfolk, called Vanguard and Boreas, that could power more than 3.9mn UK homes. Image: VattenfallVattenfall’s Horns Rev 3 offshore wind farm in the North Sea off Denmark. The Swedish power company is planning two offshore wind farms off the coast of Norfolk, called Vanguard and Boreas, that could power more than 3.9mn UK homes. Image: Vattenfall

MORE: Can these ideas stop the countryside being dug up for future wind farms?

The offshore wind farm will comprise 158 wind turbines, and will be 47km offshore at its closest point.

The project calls for the cabling to make landfall at Happisburgh and run over to a new substation to be built next to an existing one in Necton, between Dereham and Swaffham.

Hornsea Three’s cabling would come ashore at Weybourne and connecting to the grid via a substation at Swardeston, south of Norwich.

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That wind farm would consist of 231 turbines and at 2.4GW would be the world’s largest, with the capacity to power two million homes. A new deadline for that decision has been set at December 31.

Rather than having two separate cable trenches dug through the countryside - and potentially more if further wind farms are proposed - community groups and MPs have been calling for an investigation into the idea of an offshore ring main (ORM).

This would mean the wind farms could link up their cabling off shore, and run their power to the grid via one cable corridor.

But Vattenfall and Orsted have dismissed the concept as inviable.

Vattenfall also wants to build another wind farm, Boreas, next to Norfolk Vanguard, and a decision on that one is due in April 12, 2021.

Further reaction

An Orsted spokesperson said: “We are pleased that the Secretary of State is minded to grant consent and recognises the contribution the project would make towards the national need for renewable energy. We are now reviewing the full detail of his comments and, while disappointed at the further delay, are confident of providing the evidence requested to ensure that consent will be granted later this year. We will continue to work closely with stakeholders and local communities as we look to take the project forward sensitively and sustainably.

“Climate change is a defining challenge of our time and there is an ever pressing need to act.

“Hornsea Three is a major infrastructure project which responds directly to the urgent need for low-carbon generation at scale in the UK and can contribute to a green economic recovery. Once complete, the project will be capable of providing clean electricity to more than two million UK households, offsetting over 128 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over its lifetime.

“We’d like to thank everyone involved in the project to date and for all the feedback and comments we have received that have helped shape our proposals.”


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