Thor Offshore Wind Farm Moves Through the System

The Danish Energy Agency has concluded that the Plan for the Thor offshore wind project can be realized in the dedicated site west of Thorsminde in the Danish North Sea without significant impacts to the environment.

At the same time, the Danish Energy Agency has narrowed down the site for the wind farm from 440 square kilometres to 286 square kilometres as a result of the site investigations.

The decision was based on the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the Plan and the public consultation, the agency said.

Pursuant to the Environmental Impact Assessment Act, the Danish Energy Agency has prepared a statement summarizing how environmental considerations have been integrated into the Plan for Thor Offshore Wind Farm.

The decision can be appealed to the Energy Board of Appeal for a four-week period up to 28 June.

The statement summarizing how environmental considerations have been integrated constitutes the first step in the environmental approval of the Thor offshore wind farm and sets, at the strategic level, the framework for the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the specific project at sea, the agency said.

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The EIA with public consultation must be carried out by the future concession owner, and will, together with the associated license for construction, constitute the final step in the overall environmental approval of Thor.

Narrowing Down the Site

The process of narrowing down the site has taken into account a number of factors, including visual impact, cumulative visual aspects, birds, stone reefs, raw materials, fishing interest, and safety of navigation.

In parallel with the environmental assessment of the Plan for Thor with the Environmental Protection Agency as the authority, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the specific onshore facility has been carried out, which is now in public consultation until 21 June 2021. This process is expected to lead to an EIA-permit for the land-based project to be issued by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency in August 2021.

Located at a distance of a minimum of 20 kilometres from the shore, Thor will have a capacity of between 800 MW and 1,000 MW.

Denmark plans to have the grid connection for the Thor offshore wind farm ready by 1 January 2025, and the offshore wind farm must be fully built and connected to the grid by 31 December 2027.

Back in January, the Danish Energy Agency pre-qualified six consortia and companies to participate in the tender for the Thor offshore wind farm: Ørsted, Vattenfall, a consortium of Total and Iberdrola, Thor Wind Farm (owned by RWE), a joint venture of SSE Renewables and Thor OFW (owned by Copenhagen Infrastructure IV Thor OFW ApS and Andel Holding), and Swan Wind (a joint venture between Eneco Wind and European Energy).

Photo: Illustration; Photo source: The Carbon Trust