Green light for one of world’s biggest wind farms off coast of East Anglia

ScottishPower Renewables' Wikinger wind farm in Germany. Picture: ScottishPower Renewables.

ScottishPower Renewables' Wikinger wind farm in Germany. Picture: ScottishPower Renewables. - Credit: Archant

A next-generation wind farm which could power the equivalent of a million homes has been given the green light from government.

At 247 metres high, the 172 turbines on ScottishPower Renewables' East Anglia Three project will be more than twice the height of Norwich Cathedral which, at 96 metres, is East Anglia's tallest building.

The project was given planning approval by business secretary Greg Clark on Monday and, when construction is completed 69km off the Norfolk coast, will be the Southern North Sea's biggest wind farm.

The project is seen as important in driving down the costs of offshore wind. The company's East Anglia One scheme is the best-value project to enter construction in the UK, at £119 per MW/h, with future subsidy auctions expected to drive that price even lower.

Keith Anderson, chief executive of ScottishPower Renewables, said: 'With the support of a highly-skilled supply chain, East Anglia Three will further enhance the UK's leading position in offshore wind. No other sector ticks all of the boxes in its ability to support the government's plans for rebalancing the economy and promoting economic diversity through the Industrial Strategy.'

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He said offshore wind had already created jobs and investment in towns including Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth and others along the north-east coastline, adding: 'Large-scale projects like East Anglia Three will continue to help to encourage economic regeneration where it is needed most.'

What happens now?

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ScottishPower Renewables will now enter a Contract for Difference (CfD) auction process where the most economical projects are funded for their investment in low-carbon energy generation.

If the bid is successful, construction will begin around 2022 and be operational by 2025.

In total, East Anglia Three will require four offshore collector stations and two converter station platforms, and possibly an accommodation platform.

Cables will run between the turbines and those platforms, with up to four cables bringing the power to shore, and four connecting the two East Anglia array wind farms.

Landfall will be at Bawdsey, from where up to four underground cables will be laid through East Anglia One ducting, running 37km to a transformer substation in Bramford in Suffolk, where the wind farm is connected to the National Grid.

The 714MW-capacity East Anglia One is due to be fully operational in 2020. The company is developing four projects in total in the area, with a capacity of 3,500 MW.

Industry reaction

Emma Pinchbeck, executive director of RenewableUK, welcomed the news.

She said: 'Today's announcement is a vote of confidence in the UK's world-leading offshore wind sector. This huge clean energy project is a great example of how offshore wind can enable the government's industrial strategy.

'The project is expected to create thousands of skilled jobs throughout its 30-year lifetime. Not only will the wind farm use the latest, innovative turbines, but it will also provide a massive boost for local businesses to grow.'

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