Vattenfall Pushes Ahead with Danish Offshore Wind Projects as New Environmental Assessment Starts

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency has initiated a new environmental assessment of the onshore infrastructure of Vattenfall’s Vesterhav Nord and Syd offshore wind farms after the existing permits were rejected by the Environment and Food Appeals Board last year.

This is the first step on the road to a new environmental permit, which is expected to be completed by the spring of next year, Energinet, Denmark’s transmission system operator, said.

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency (DEPA) is the authority for the facilities on land, while the Danish Energy Agency is the authority for all facilities offshore.

Vattenfall and Energinet constructed all of the onshore installations needed for the two projects between 2018 and 2020, after receiving the necessary permit from DEPA in 2017. However, the permit from 2017 was abrogated by a higher authority in the Summer of 2021. The abrogation was among other things given because possible consequences between Energinet’s onshore installations and Natura 2000-areas should be examined more.

All permits regarding the offshore installations are in place and the offshore construction is about to start, Vattenfall said.

”It is important to Vattenfall that all environmental aspects are taken into consideration. When developing our projects, considerations and respect for nature and human beings are very important to us. We have full confidence that the Danish Environmental Protection Agency will conduct a thorough and transparent process,” said Mathilde Lindhardt Damsgaard, Project Director at Vattenfall with the responsibility of developing Vesterhav Syd and Nord.

According to Energinet, Vattenfall will only need to install some filters at the new station in Søndervig and a radar mast to ensure that the light on the wind turbines can be off most of the night, and thus minimize light pollution from the turbines.

”It is of course a somewhat distinctive situation, because we have to apply for a new environmental permit for something that has already been built. But we naturally respect the board’s decision, and will make sure to document the project’s environmental impacts thoroughly,” said Marian Kaagh, Deputy Director of Energinet.

The environmental assessment contains two public phases where affected citizens and organizations can submit their consultation responses.

The first hearing, also called the idea phase, has already begun and the second public phase, including an eight-week hearing, is expected to take place this winter. It is the Danish Environmental Protection Agency’s expectation that a new environmental assessment can be completed by spring 2023.

Vattenfall has already taken the final investment decision for Vesterhav Syd and Vesterhav Nord.

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The developer does not expect the new environmental assessment to affect the development timeline of the two projects, provided that the review results in the obtainment of the necessary permit.

”When Vattenfall took the FiD last year, we knew that the new environmental assessment process was coming in 2022,” Lindhardt Damsgaard said.

”We are working the best we can to have the Vesterhav farms installed no later than end 2023. Denmark needs fossil free energy more than ever.”

Vesterhav Syd and Nord will comprise 41 Siemens Gamesa 8.4 MW wind turbines for a combined capacity of 344 MW.

The offshore wind farms will both be located 10 kilometres off the West coast of Jutland near Thyborøn (Nord) and Søndervig (Syd) in water depths of approximately 20 metres.

Bladt Industries and EEW will provide the transition pieces and monopiles, respectively, and the cables will be manufactured and delivered by Hellenic Cables. Asso.subsea will install the cables at the two wind farms.

The turbine foundations will be installed by DEME Offshore, and the wind turbines by Jan De Nul.

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Photo: The 2020 design of the Vesterhav Syd. Source: Vattenfall