Vattenfall’s Danish Nearshore Pair Clears Legal Hurdles as UXO Survey Starts

Denmark’s Energy Board of Appeal has completed the processing of a number of complaints filed against the Danish Energy Agency’s (DEA) authorisation of Vesterhav Syd and Vesterhav Nord nearshore wind farms.

Visualisation of Vesterhav Syd/Vattenfall

The Board confirmed the DEA’s decisions from 14 December 2020, when the authority granted Vattenfall the permission to build the two wind farms, after an assessment of the supplementary environmental impact assessments (EIAs).

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Vattenfall had initially planned to commission the wind farms in 2020, but had to delay the projects after the Danish Energy Agency initiated the new EIA processes, with the commissioning now expected by 2023. The company has since changed the layout of the wind farms, pushing the 41 Siemens Gamesa 8.4 MW turbines as far offshore as possible.

DEA’s go-ahead from December allowed the developer to start the projects once the appeal period expired on 11 January 2021.

The Energy Appeal Board received the now-cleared complaints in January and made decisions in 59 cases, of which 50 complaints were rejected due to lack of justification. The remaining nine cases were dealt with at the Board’s meeting on 8 June, as the Board had assessed that these complainants were entitled to appeal against the Danish Energy Agency’s decisions. 

Meanwhile, Vattenfall announced a few days ago that an unexploded ordnance (UXO) survey was starting this summer at the two projects’ sites to ensure that there were no bombs and mines from the First or Second World Wars on the seabed and that, if any are found, they are neutralised.

“Our experience shows that there may be unexploded bombs or mines from the First and Second World Wars hidden in mud and seaweed at the bottom of the sea, and we must have removed them. We estimate that there is an approximately 50/50 probability that we will find bombs or mines that need to be detonated”, said Rasmus Juncher, Senior Geophysicist at Vattenfall.  

Back in 2018, during UXO surveys of the areas for three of its projects in Denmark – Vesterhan Syd and Nord and the now operational Kriegers Flak – Vattenfall and the Danish Armed Forces uncovered and detonated two English mines.