ScottishPower Renewables has received planning approval from the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Greg Clark MP, for the East Anglia THREE offshore windfarm with an output capacity of up to 1,200 megawatts (MW).
The planning consent will allow for the installation of larger and more efficient 'next generation' turbines, up to a tip height of 247 metres. This is two-and-a-half times the size of Big Ben (96 metres). To be built 69 kilometres off the coast of Norfolk, the windfarm could produce enough electricity to power the annual demands of nearly one million homes.
ScottishPower Renewables believes that next generation technology will help to ensure that offshore wind is one of the cheapest forms of low carbon electricity. The company's East Anglia ONE scheme is the best value project to go in to construction in the UK (£119 MW/h), and costs are expected to reduce even further in future auctions.
Will Apps, Head of Energy Development at The Crown Estate, said: "It is great to see the East Anglia THREE project pass this significant milestone. Through the continued efforts of ScottishPower Renewables, and their industry peers, the UK now benefits from a strong development pipeline of more than 11GW of consented capacity.
"This is in addition to the projects that are already built or are on track to supply 10% of the UK's electricity demand by 2020. The offshore wind industry continues to deliver as a large-scale, affordable and reliable choice for UK power generation."
ScottishPower Renewables is currently delivering the East Anglia ONE project, which has a capacity of 714 MW and 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.
East Anglia THREE will cover an area of up to 305 square kilometres and will require up to 172 wind turbines to build the full capacity.
What happens next?
ScottishPower Renewables will now commence work on preparing the project for the next phase. The regulatory framework in the UK requires that offshore windfarm developers enter pre-qualified projects into a Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction process, where the most economic projects are selected to receive a contract. If successful in future CfD auctions, ScottishPower Renewables would like to see construction starting around 2022, with the project up and running by 2025.
In total, East Anglia THREE will require:
Up to four offshore collector stations and up to two offshore converter station platforms;
Up to one offshore platform housing accommodation facilities;
Subsea inter-array cables between the wind turbines and converter station and collector station platforms;
Up to four subsea export cables to transmit electricity from the offshore platforms to shore;
Up to four interconnector cables between the East Anglia ONE and East Anglia THREE Projects;
Landfall at Bawdsey with onshore transition pits to join the offshore and onshore cables;
Up to four onshore underground cables pulled through existing ducting to be laid by East Anglia ONE, running for approximately 37 km from landfall to the connection point at Bramford, Suffolk, with jointing pits, to transmit electricity to a new onshore transformer substation;
An onshore transformer substation at Bramford, Suffolk, to connect the offshore windfarm to the National Grid
The RYA is constantly monitoring the developments in Round 3 wind farms and Round 2 extensions and assessing their potential impact on recreational boating. We meet regularly with all the developers to discuss recreational navigational safety. Find out more in our Current Affairs hub.