Vattenfall is seeking views from Thanet and Sandwich residents on plans to use up to 34 wind turbines, up to 250 metres tall, for its proposed Thanet Extension wind farm offshore Kent, UK.
The Swedish energy company is looking to cutting edge technology to maximise the generation of clean, green electricity for the project, and although turbines that tall are not yet commercially available, the company believes that rapid technological development will deliver in time for deployment in the early 2020s.
“We hope that Thanet Extension will be operational by the end of 2021, 11 years after the existing wind farm started to operate. The rapid growth in wind turbine productivity and the incredible rate of innovation means we could produce more than the current wind farm whilst deploying only a third the number of turbines. This approach will continue the industry’s strong record in significant cost reduction by offering cheap, clean, green electricity for the British consumer,” Helen Jameson, Vattenfall’s Project Manager for Thanet Extension, said.
Early next week, over 70,000 residents in the area will receive a newsletter about the company’s proposals. This is ahead of a statutory consultation on the Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR) which sets out a ‘maximum design envelope’ and considers the potential impacts of the project during construction and operation.
In addition, Vattenfall will run 15 public events in the area through December and early January.
“There will be impacts though, both positive and negative, onshore and off, and that is why we are keen to understand the views of residents, businesses and organisations before we submit a final proposal next spring to the Planning Inspectorate. We think we pose an interesting question: what is the right balance of turbine numbers and height? Fewer and taller or more but smaller?”
In May, an independent survey including 748 residents was conducted by Lake Market Research on behalf of Vattenfall. The survey showed that 60% of the respondents said that Thanet Extension offshore wind farm was a good idea, 29% stated they were not sure, while the remaining 11% claimed it was not a good idea.
If consented by the UK Government, Thanet Extension will extend the existing 300MW Thanet offshore wind farm consisting of 100 turbines. With fewer turbines, the extension will produce more power than the seven-year-old project which was at the time of its inauguration the world’s largest offshore wind farm, Vattenfall said.