In a UK planning first, two wind farms under separate ownership have teamed up to carry out a game-changing expansion with “minimal impact” to surrounding communities. 

Norfolk’s renewable energy industry was given a major boost last week when the UK Secretary of State for the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero granted development consent to the Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon extension projects.

The projects will double capacity across the two sites, meaning they could generate enough power for 1.5 million households, making a significant contribution to the country’s decarbonisation goals.

It’s been a long time coming for the Norwegian firm, which has been working on the development plans for around five years.

READ MORE: 'Game-changer': An expert look at East Anglia's renewable energy sector

And on top of helping the UK's energy security efforts, this approval will also pave the way for a new approach to planning, which could see developers rewarded for working together to minimise disruption to local communities.


Equinor holds stakes in both wind farms, with Green Investment Group holding a share in Sheringham Shoal, and Masdar and Statkraft holding stakes in Dudgeon.

The consent marks the first time in the UK that two offshore wind projects under separate ownership have been awarded consent under a shared application which provides the opportunity to combine the development of the two projects.

Through this coordinated approach and consultations with locals, Equinor said it’s looking to develop the extension projects to maximise local benefits and minimise disruption.

This includes an option in the consent application to utilise an integrated transmission system, as well as separate grid connections for each project, within the same overall onshore footprint.

The development has been selected as a Pathfinder project for coordinated offshore transmission development under the UK Government’s Offshore Transmission Network Review.

Eastern Daily Press: East's renewables sector workforce could grow by 46pcEast's renewables sector workforce could grow by 46pc (Image: Submitted)

Halfdan Brustad, Equinor’s vice president of UK Renewables, said he was delighted with the decision to approve the plans.

He said: “This is a huge milestone for the joint venture partners in both Dudgeon and Sheringham Shoal extension projects. 

“The Extension Projects have been developed carefully over the last five years, with innovative approaches to transmission planning and consenting, underpinned by close engagement with the local community. 

“The extensions build on our longstanding presence in Norfolk and we look forward to contributing even more positively to the local region and the UK’s offshore wind growth.”


The biggest benefit to the surrounding area will, according to the developer, be a swathe of job opportunities for local people. 

READ MORE: East's renewables sector workforce could grow by 46pc

During the construction phase, the projects are anticipated to support more than 1,800 full time roles per year, generating around £370m in direct gross value added to the East Anglian economy. 

The projects are also planned to leverage the existing operations and maintenance base at Great Yarmouth, which will continue to serve the operational Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon wind farms; as well as the new turbines once developed.

Equinor added that local people not looking for jobs would also benefit as a result of the work, thanks to funding set aside to boost community projects.

A spokesman for the firm said: “Both wind farms have established community funds which in total have awarded over £1.65m to projects in Norfolk.

“The funds were set up to provide grants to Norfolk community groups, including schools and charities, seeking financial assistance for projects or initiatives that meet key criteria and focus on renewable energy, marine environment and safety, sustainability, or education in these areas.”