IPC Accepts Galloper Wind Farm for Examination (UK)
On 19 December, the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) confirmed acceptance for examination of a Development Consent Order application for Galloper Wind Farm – an up to 504 megawatt (MW) extension to the Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm that is currently under construction – with much of the environmental assessment work completed by Royal Haskoning on behalf of SSE and RWE npower renewables.
The wind farm, off the coast of Suffolk, is a joint venture between SSE and RWE npower renewables.
This is the second offshore wind farm project accepted for examination by the IPC in as many months, with Royal Haskoning playing a key role in both, having notched up similar success in support of Vattenfall on the Kentish Flats Extension project.
Galloper Wind Farm Project Manager Kate Harvey, on behalf of SSE and RWE npower renewables, said: “We are delighted that our proposal for Galloper Wind Farm has been validated by the IPC, which can now proceed to the ‘pre-examination’ phase before the application is considered in detail.
“This is the first offshore wind project above the 100MW threshold to obtain IPC validation. Royal Haskoning played an essential role in delivering this result. They helped us to meet tight deadlines within the programme and worked with us to ensure that the Environmental Statement fulfilled the criteria necessary for the application to proceed to examination.”
“This is a positive precedent, both for our role in the future development of offshore wind farm projects – and for the industry as a whole.”
Royal Haskoning Project Manager Adam Pharaoh, said: “Galloper Wind Farm is one of the first offshore wind farm projects to go through the IPC. It follows closely on our success with the Kentish Flats Extension project, which was the first offshore wind farm project to gain acceptance for examination, underlining how Royal Haskoning is not just supporting clients – but setting industry standards in several key areas as well.
The new process puts the emphasis on the need for extensive pre-application consultation with stakeholders to ensure their concerns are taken into account in the final development put forward for consent.. To ensure we met all of the IPC’s requirements, we worked very closely with SSE and RWE npower renewables, their legal advisers and the IPC itself, as well as key stakeholders such as the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), Natural England and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).”
“Another key element of our contribution to this proposal lies in our application of the ‘Rochdale Envelope’ – a commonly used assessment approach that whilst giving confidence to regulators and consultees that worst case scenarios have been taken into account, maintains the ability to incorporate new technologies, thereby helping to optimise projects at the construction stage.”
“By providing extensive detail of the various alternatives under consideration and clear description of the worst case scenarios, the application will allow RWE npower renewables and SSE to maintain adequate flexibility throughout the implementation phase of this project.
“The Galloper Wind Farm infrastructure will include up to 140 turbines offshore. Export cables from the WTGs will come ashore south of Sizewell on the Suffolk Coast and underground cables will connect to an onshore substation compound in Sizewell, north of Sizewell Gap, immediately to the west of the existing Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm (GGOWF) substation site. The onshore substation compound will connect via underground cables, two sealing end compounds and wires connecting to existing pylons on the national electricity network. The connection will be made to up to two existing transmission towers (pylons) to the north of Sizewell Gap and east/southeast of the existing GGOWF substation.
The application will now proceed towards the examination phase, which is expected to be completed in early 2013. This has been a learning experience for all parties. We are very pleased to have helped SSE and RWE npower renewables successfully complete this first stage and look forward to supporting them through the examination phase to successful consent.”
Royal Haskoning also supports SSE and RWE npower renewables on the neighbouring Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm.
Offshore WIND staff, February 06, 2012; Image: vattenfall