BREAKING: Ørsted Receives Development Consent for 2.6 GW Hornsea Four Offshore Wind Farm

The UK Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero has granted development consent to Hornsea Project Four, a 2.6 GW offshore wind farm Ørsted plans to build some 69 kilometres off the Yorkshire Coast.

The UK government, in a press release issued on 12 July, stated that Hornsea Four was the 126th Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project and 73rd energy application to have been examined by The Planning Inspectorate within the timescales laid down in the Planning Act 2008.

“The Planning Inspectorate has now examined more than 100 nationally significant infrastructure projects since the Planning Act 2008 process was introduced, ensuring local communities have had the opportunity of being involved in the examination of projects that may affect them”, said Paul Morrison, The Planning Inspectorate’s Chief Executive.

“The Examining Authority listened and gave full consideration to all local views and the evidence gathered during the Examination before making its recommendation to the Secretary of State”.

Ørsted submitted the application for the development consent order (DCO) for Hornsea Four to the Planning Inspectorate in September 2021. The Inspectorate began the examination in February 2022 and sent a Recommendation Report for the project to the Secretary of State in November last year, after which the decision deadline was set for February.

However, as there were a few more things that needed further input and resolving in the application, most notably the issue of the overlap area between Hornsea Four and the BP-led carbon capture and storage (CCS) project, the Secretary of State pushed back the deadline for deciding on whether to grant the DCO by five months, setting the final date to 12 July.

As reported in June, the back-and-forth between BP and Ørsted was put to rest after the two companies reached a commercial agreement on the overlap area.

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With the DCO now in place, Ørsted will move to the detailed design stage for Hornsea Four and work up an indicative layout of the offshore wind farm by the end of 2024, according to a document filed by Pinsent Masons on behalf of the developer while the application was being processed by the Secretary of State.

Ørsted acquired the rights to develop the Hornsea Zone in August 2015 from SMart Wind, the company which was originally awarded the zone in The Crown Estate Round 3 seabed leasing round. The same year, the company took over the remainder of the zone from Mainstream Renewable Power and Siemens Financial Services.

At the beginning of 2016, and after reaching the final investment decision for the now-operational 1.2 GW Hornsea Project One, the developer decided to reconfigure its Hornsea Zone projects, after which Hornsea Project Two, Hornsea Project Three, and Hornsea Project Four emerged as separate offshore wind farms.

The 1.3 GW Hornsea Two has also been in operation since last year while the 2,852 MW Hornsea Three, which is said to be the world’s single biggest offshore wind farm, is currently moving towards the final investment decision this year.

The 2.6 GW offshore wind farm is planned to be built across an area of up to 468 square kilometres, where up to 180 wind turbines could be installed, according to information about the project the developer shared earlier.


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