Sheringham wind farm gets government nod
Ed Foss An 88 turbine offshore wind farm for Norfolk cleared one of its last major hurdles today as the government approved the plans, leaving the option open to start construction next year.
An 88 turbine offshore wind farm for Norfolk cleared one of its last major hurdles today as the government approved the plans, leaving the option open to start construction next year.
The 315MW Sheringham Shoal wind farm, which would be built between 10 and 15 miles off the Sheringham coast, received consent from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR).
The consent means the developer, joint-venture company Scira Offshore Energy Ltd, is a step closer to constructing the wind farm, which would be the fourth largest offshore wind farm once built.
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There appear to be two major issues remaining. Firstly an investment decision is awaited from majority owner StatoilHydro, while there is still a concern from the Ministry of Defence about the impact on radar.
“This consent is a major progression for the project and shows that the government is committed to its target of producing 15pc of its energy from renewables by 2020,” said Anne S. Lycke, head of wind energy at StatoilHydro and chairman of Scira.
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Scira Offshore Energy Ltd is 55pc owned by StatoilHydro, which has its headquarters in Norway, and 45pc owned by Dutch company Evelop.
The StatoilHydro management board will make the final investment decision on the project before the end of this year. If sanctioned, construction will begin in 2009 with the wind farm being operational in 2011.
Developers say the wind farm would have an annual electricity production equal to powering around 220,000 homes. Each of the 88 turbines would produce 3.6MW. Although the permission granted allows for up to 108 turbines to be built, this figure dates back to an initial application and the number will be 88.
The turbines will be supported by foundations secured to the seabed and connected by a network of cables to a landfall at Weybourne. A 14 mile underground cable will be built to connect to the electricity grid at a new substation near Cawston.
Developers added that the site was chosen because it enjoys high wind speeds, has favourable water depths, has relatively low levels of fishing activity, affords good access and is outside protected and scientifically designated areas.
Energy secretary John Hutton said: “This new wind farm demonstrates our commitment to dramatically increase the amount of energy we generate from renewable sources, helping to cut the UK's carbon emissions and secure our energy supplies.
“Sheringham Shoal will help provide a significant contribution towards our renewable energy targets.”
The government said approval for the wind farm was conditional, with a need for technical solutions to mitigate the effect to air defence radar at Trimingham.
A spokesman for Scira said today that work continued with MoD to resolve the concerns, but they were “confident” that would be achieved.