Planning Inspectorate Accepts Equinor’s UK Offshore Wind Farm Extensions Application

The UK Planning Inspectorate has accepted for examination the application submitted by Equinor on behalf of its partners to develop the Sheringham Shoal and the Dudgeon offshore wind farm extensions situated off the North Norfolk coast.

After the application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) was submitted by Equinor in September 2022, the Planning Inspectorate had 28 days to decide whether the application was sufficient to be accepted for nomination.

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We have consulted widely with the local community throughout the process, including two rounds of community consultation and a series of public information days, and we will continue to maintain proactive community communications throughout the examination period“, said Kari Hege Mørk, Equinor’s Project Director.

Following consultation, Equinor made several design changes for the Sheringham Shoal Extension Project (SEP) and the Dudgeon Extension Project (DEP) to reduce local disruption.

The projects will include trenchless crossings of all A and B roads and 20 other local roads as well as the construction of a haul road along the cable route to mitigate the number of access points and heavy goods vehicle (HGV) movements on the local road network, according to the developer.

Additionally, opportunities are being assessed for biodiversity net gain through engagement with local communities and nature conservation bodies, to enhance local wildlife habitats, Equinor said.

Prior to the examination, a statutory consultation lasting a total of six weeks will be undertaken which will provide SEP and DEP stakeholders with the opportunity to formally register their interest in the projects and the examination, and review and comment on Equinor’s accepted application.

SEP and DEP were recently confirmed by the UK Energy Minister as a ‘Pathfinder’ project under Ofgem’s on-going Offshore Transmission Network Review (OTNR), providing a near-term opportunity for better offshore transmission planning.

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If the projects are built, they would support more than 1,800 full-time jobs per year across the UK and within East Anglia during the construction phase. Additionally, SEP and DEP would create over GBP 340 million in direct gross value added (GVA) over the construction period.

The projects will double the capacity of the existing Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon offshore wind farms to around 1.4 GW in total, providing renewable energy to power an additional 785,000 UK homes.

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Photo: Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm, operated by Equinor and its partners off the Norfolk coast