Greater Gabbard Offshore Winds recently submitted an application for development consent for the construction of a 500 MW wind farm 25km off the coast of Suffolk.

Greater Gabbard Offshore Winds Limited

(GGOWL), an Airtricity and Fluor joint venture, recently submitted an application for development consent for the construction of a 500 MW offshore wind farm. The site will be located 25km off the coast of


around the Inner Gabbard and Galloper sandbanks.

The application was submitted to the DTI, DEFRA and Suffolk Coastal District Council (SCDC) and follows the awarding of an Agreement for Lease by The Crown Estate in December 2003.

Since awarding of the lease, GGOWL has undertaken extensive environmental and site investigation surveys, has secured a connection to the electricity grid at Sizewell in Suffolk and installed a wind monitoring mast.

This project is the first offshore wind farm to seek consent outside UK territorial waters. This was enabled by the Energy Act 2004 under which a Renewable Energy Zone has been declared for the UK continental shelf, triggering the UK's rights under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 to regulate renewable energy installations.

The Inner Gabbard and Galloper sandbanks are regarded as a good site for an offshore wind farm due to high wind speeds, low water depth, suitable ground conditions and minimal environmental sensitivities.

Should consent be received, it is expected that the first turbines of a two-turbine array will be operational by the end of 2008. The total project capacity is 500 MW / 140 turbines which will produce enough energy to power more than 415,000 homes. This equates to a reduction in carbon dioxide emission of almost 1.5 million tonnes per year, the equivalent of removing 350,000 cars from the road every year.

The turbines will be in up to 30m of water, and each “blade tip” at its highest will be 170m above mean sea level.

Separately, Airtricity recently applied for consent to build a £50 million, 25 turbine wind farm in Sutherland.

The proposed wind farm is located to the north west of Invercassley and Rosehall, approximately 12km to the west of Lairg in the north of Scotland.

The site occupies an area of approximately 2731 hectares, of which just over 1% will be required for infrastructure.

The proposed wind farm will produce enough electricity to power up to 28,000 homes and will mitigate approximately 113,000 tonnes of C02 per annum.