On behalf of Sheringham Shoal Extension and Dudgeon Extension partnerships (SEP and DEP), Equinor has published a summary of its phase two consultation, which took place in the summer of this year.
SEP and DEP will double the capacity of the existing Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon offshore wind farms off the Norfolk coast to around 1.4 GW in total, providing renewable energy to power an additional 785,000 UK homes, Equinor said.
The summary report provides an update on proposals to the two wind farm projects in response to the consultation, and upcoming plans to meet the community.
The second phase of consultation was completed in the summer, and Equinor received over 300 pieces of feedback from the local community and welcomed over 1,200 visitors to its virtual exhibition. Since then, the company has been refining its proposals using feedback from the consultation and more information from technical and environmental studies.
The consultation summary report highlights common feedback received at phase two and provides details on what is being done in response. For example, to reduce local traffic and hedgerow impacts, Equinor has committed to increase the number of trenchless road crossings by more than double along its onshore cable route for SEP and DEP.
Equinor has also announced its plans to visit communities in person in early 2022 to present refined proposals to the community, dependent on Covid restrictions at the time.
More detail on the upcoming Public Information Days on the offshore wind farm extension projects will be advertised closer to the time, in local media and online, Equinor said.
Kari-Hege Mørk, Equinor’s Project Director for SEP and DEP said: ‘‘We received lots of insightful feedback on our proposals and have been carefully considering all comments and suggestions. We also took the decision to allow more time for further studies, to ensure that our proposals are robust ahead of our application submission in early summer 2022. We are looking forward to the opportunity to visit Norfolk in early 2022 to update communities on our refined proposals following the valuable feedback that was received.”
SEP and DEP are classified as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) which means Equinor will apply for a DCO from the UK Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Equinor and its partners are seeking to minimise potential impacts on the community and the environment by proposing a shared onshore grid connection footprint for the two projects and applying for one common DCO.
This is an industry-first; two separately owned projects have never made a common DCO application before, and it is hoped this joined-up approach will pave the way for other coordinated projects in the UK, Equinor said.
Equinor is also supporting the work already underway for a longer-term solution for more coordinated infrastructure in Norfolk as part of the UK government’s ongoing Offshore Transmission Network Review.