The extension will double the capacity of two sites to 1400MW, enough to power 1.5m homes
Plans to double the size of two of the UK's largest offshore wind farms moved closer to realisation today, as energy giant Equinor today signed Agreements for Lease with the Crown Estate for two major projects off the north Norfolk coast.
The agreements secure a 196 square kilometre area of seabed for extensions to the Sheringham and Dudgeon offshore wind farms, which will see Equinor double the capacity of its Norfolk operations to more than 1,400MW, enough to power more than 1.5 million homes.
Last year, proposals for both extensions passed the Habitats Regulation Assessment, which checks that they would not have an unacceptable impact on important natural sites.
The project is part of the Crown Estate's 2017 Offshore Wind Extensions, which aims to unlock additional capacity from the UK's existing offshore wind portfolio. Developers hope that extending existing projects can help to reduce the cost of new offshore wind capacity still further, following a halving of projected energy costs in recent years, as extensions can take advantage of existing infrastructure and supply chains.
Equinor project manager Kari Hege Mørk said the projects will "make an important contribution" to the UK government's target of increasing offshore wind capacity to 40GW by 2030, which forms a key part of its overall decarbonisation ambition to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
"With good wind conditions, a short distance to shore and a location next to our existing wind farms, the two areas are perfectly suited to build on our offshore wind portfolio," Mørk said.
Equinor is also consulting with the local community, in a bid to gain a Development Consent Order for the extensions.
"We've just finished the first phase of our community consultation, which ran from 9 July to 20 August," Mørk said. "We had really great engagement, with over 1,600 people visiting the online platform during the consultation period."
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