Decision on ‘world’s biggest’ wind farms expected in June

PUBLISHED: 16:24 31 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:55 10 February 2020

Vattenfall's offshore Norfolk Vanguard project promises to be one of the largest in the world. Picture: Vattenfall

Vattenfall's offshore Norfolk Vanguard project promises to be one of the largest in the world. Picture: Vattenfall

© Ben Barden Photography Ltd.

A decision timeline on whether two of the world’s biggest wind farms can be built off the north Norfolk coast is expected in June.

Both energy firms Vattenfall and Orsted have been asked to provide more details and answers to questions and these need to be submitted by the end of February.

The delay will also give people who live nearby more time to make their voices heard.

A spokesman for Vattenfall said: ""Vattenfall welcomes confirmation of a decision timeline for Norfolk Vanguard, which was set to June 1 in early January. Since receiving the request for further information in December, Vattenfall has held meetings with relevant key stakeholders, is progressing the work required, and will deliver appropriate responses by the February 28 deadline.

"Vattenfall's Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas projects both apply innovative embedded mitigation, including the adoption of HVDC transmission technology and construction techniques, to make these projects the best in class. They can make a significant contribution to reaching the government set target of 40GW by 2030, up from around 22GW today. Vattenfall continues to work with local and national stakeholders to deliver the best possible projects it can." Norfolk Vanguard and another wind farm planned by Vattenfall called Boreas are expected to make landfall at Happisburgh, with underground cables connecting it to a substation at Necton, near Swaffham, from where it will link into the National Grid.

Horsea Three would make landfall at Waybourne and link to a substation at Swardeston, south of Norwich.

The government was due to decide on the projects by December 10.

But the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has now written to Norfolk Vanguard's developer, Vattenfall, as well as Natural England and local councils, asking it to address issues ranging from traffic to the environment.

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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 the village of Necton, between Dereham and Swaffham.

Jenny Smedley, from the Necton Substations Action Group, said she was pleased the government was taking the time to scrutinise the plans. The action group has argued that each new wind farm off the Norfolk coast should be connected to an offshore ring main (ORM) so they could link up to the National Grid together, rather than each project running a separate cable through the countryside.

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