SSE Renewables and RWE Renewables have commenced consultation on early proposals for the North Falls offshore wind farm, an extension to the existing Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm that is being developed in the southern North Sea, more than 20 kilometres off the UK coast.
The developers opened online consultation on 25 October and invited people from North Essex and the surrounding region have to provide their feedback until 10 December.
The North Falls project, being developed by a 50/50 joint venture company owned by SSE Renewables and RWE Renewables, covers a total area of 150 square kilometres adjacent to the operational, 504 MW Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm.
The up to 504 MW North Falls is one of the seven UK offshore wind farm extension projects that secured Agreements for Lease with the the Crown Estate in 2020 and one of the four for which RWE was awarded lease agreements by the UK seabed manager.
Plans for the offshore wind farm remain at an early stage and, while the offshore site of the wind farm has been agreed, the location of the onshore infrastructure is yet to be determined as a grid connection location for the project has not yet been provided by National Grid.
Since it is likely that the connection point will be located in North Essex, the developers organised this initial consultation to introduce the general principles of the project to local people and gather their initial feedback. There will be further opportunities for local people to offer their views on the plans in more detail as part of future consultations and the formal consenting process, SSE and RWE said.
“North Falls is set to play a key role in the UK’s net zero ambitions, and while we do not yet have an onshore grid connection, we wanted to share our plans to date with local communities. We will be able to give further details next year, however as engagement with local people is important to us, we wanted to introduce the project now, share the information we have and start to gather early input”, said Martin Whyte, Project Manager at North Falls.
“Our need to cut emissions and decarbonise our energy generation network is being brought into sharp focus by the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, which starts in Glasgow next week. Recent issues around energy security have also highlighted the need to develop further home-grown sources of energy generation here in the UK”.