Planning permission granted for East Anglia offshore windfarm

ScottishPower Renewables may site next-generation offshore wind turbines off Norfolk coast

Business secretary Greg Clark has granted consent for offshore wind turbines with a tip height of 247m for the East Anglia THREE project, which will have a total output of up to 1200MW. This output would require up to 172 individual turbines across an area of 305 km², 69 km east of Great Yarmouth. A company spokesman told The Engineer that no decision had yet been taken on the source of the turbines.

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ScottishPower Renewables chief executive Keith Anderson commented the cost of offshore wind has tumbled in recent years, with electricity prices from East Anglia THREE projected to be £119 MW/hr.

“Offshore wind has delivered on its promises from the outset. Our sector has met every technical and political challenge, grown the UK’s supply chain, and improved the technology at a rapid pace to allow projects to be deployed in ever harsher conditions,” Anderson said. “At the same time, the level of cost reductions achieved would more commonly be seen in consumer electronics. 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.”

Anderson hinted that the project will support the UK supply chain. “Major contracts are already being delivered in towns and cities spread out all across the UK” he said.

ScottishPower Renewables is currently developing four projects in the East Anglia region, with the 714MW East Anglia ONE windfarm due to come on-stream IN 2020.

“Offshore wind has supported jobs and investment in Hull, Hartlepool, Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth, Grimsby, Teesside, Tyneside, Fife, Machrihanish and Belfast to name but a few,” Anderson added. “Large-scale projects like East Anglia THREE will continue to help to encourage economic regeneration where it is needed most.”

Based on a 0.367 average load factor for offshore wind and an average household energy consumption of 3.900MWh, the 1200 MW maximum output for East Anglia THREE would power just short of 1million homes.

The installation would require up to four offshore collector stations and up to two offshore converter station platforms, an offshore platform to house staff, subsea inter-array cables connecting the turbines to the converter and collector stations, up to four subsea export cables linking the collector stations to the landfall point at Bawdsey in Suffolk, interconnector cabling between the ONE and THREE windfarms, and an onshore transformer station at Bamford in Suffolk to connect the installation’s output to the National Grid.

The next stage in the process is to enter the project into a Contracts for Difference auction where the most economic projects receive a contract to go ahead with construction. If successful, the project will begin the construction phase in 2022, and could come on-stream in 2025.