Equinor has decided to extend the preapplication period for its Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon offshore wind farm extensions, off the Norfolk coast, and now plans to apply for the Development Consent Order (DCO) for the projects by early summer 2022, instead of this year.
The developer said extending the preapplication period would allow time to undertake additional analysis and further develop the proposals.
“We have taken the decision to carry out additional analysis on seabird species and further develop proposals, in case environmental mitigation and ornithology compensatory measures are required in accordance with BEIS’ new requirements”, said Kari-Hege Mørk, Equinor’s Project Director for the two offshore wind projects.
“We are confident that this extra time will allow us to take into account the thorough feedback on our proposals. It also allows us more time to engage with the local community and now that restrictions have lifted, we intend to use the time to visit communities in person”.
Equinor and its partners will apply for a common Development Consent Order for the two projects, which are being developed jointly with consultation on both projects being undertaken together.
The developer said it was seeking to minimise potential impacts on the community and the environment by pursuing a shared onshore footprint for the two projects and applying for one common DCO.
The company pointed out earlier that this was an industry-first, since two separately owned projects had never made a common DCO application before.
The Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon offshore wind farm extensions are being developed after being selected by the Crown Estate in 2018 to progress to the award of rights together with several other extension projects.
In 2019, the Crown Estate completed the plan level Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) for the 2017 offshore wind project extension applications confirming that seven out of the eight projects which applied would progress to the award of rights.
Last year, Equinor signed lease agreements with the Crown Estate for its two extensions, securing an area of seabed of a total of approximately 196 square kilometres.
With the extensions of Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon sites, Equinor is expected to double the total capacity from its Norfolk operations to over 1,400 MW.