The Crown Estate has completed its initial assessment of offshore wind extension applications in UK waters, confirming that the eight proposed projects, representing up to 3.4GW of potential new capacity, have satisfied the application criteria.
The eight project applications are for extensions to the Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm of up to 317MW, Dudgeon offshore wind farm of up to 402MW, Race Bank offshore wind farm of up to 573MW, Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm of up to 504MW, Galloper offshore wind farm of up to 353MW, Rampion offshore wind farm of up to 400MW, Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm of up to 576MW, and Thanet offshore wind farm of up to 300MW as announced in March 2018.
The eight projects, located in the waters around England and Wales, will now be subject to a plan level Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) which will assess any possible impact of the proposed extensions on relevant nature conservation sites of European importance.
The plan level HRA, which represents the next phase of the assessment process, will be undertaken by The Crown Estate over the next six to nine months.
Subject to the outcome of the plan level HRA, applicants could be granted agreements for lease in summer 2019. Successful developers would then commence project-specific environmental assessments and seek consent for their projects through the statutory planning process.
In parallel, The Crown Estate continues its work to consider the potential for new offshore wind leasing in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Any new leasing would further supplement the UK offshore wind portfolio and help maintain a pipeline of projects through to the late 2020s and beyond.
Will Apps, Head of Energy Development at The Crown Estate said: “It is really positive to see such a strong response to the opportunity for extension projects. In parallel with our Habitats Regulations Assessment, we will continue to work closely with the applicants and our stakeholders to ensure careful consideration of any environmental impacts and existing users of the seabed, ahead of any award of rights.”