Two UK Offshore Wind Farm Extension Projects Sign ‘Good Neighbour Agreement’
The North Falls and Five Estuaries offshore wind projects, both extensions to existing offshore wind farms, have signed what is called a “good neighbour agreement” with regard to their connections to the UK grid.
The agreement enables closer liaison, information sharing and joint planning, and is a result of feedback gathered through public consultation, which has shown a preference for more cooperation and coordination between the two projects on the landfall location, onshore corridor route, substation location and stakeholder engagement.
This is according to a newsletter published by North Falls Offshore Wind Farm Limited, the joint venture company owned 50/50 by SSE and RWE, which has also just announced several significant changes to the project plans following statutory consultation. RWE, on behalf of its partners, is also leading the Five Estuaries project, whose statutory consultation closed in May and yielded the same feedback regarding the onshore grid connection.
Under the now-signed “good neighbour agreement”, each project has reduced the maximum number of export cable circuits it will include from four to two, which will result in the reduction of impacts both onshore and offshore, particularly during the construction phase, according to the North Falls joint venture.
Furthermore, the combined construction corridor is now proposed to be 90 metres wide, rather than the previous width of up to 250 metres.
North Falls also recently decided on the location of its landfall construction compound, which is now planned to be closer to Five Estuaries announced preferred landfall.
The Five Estuaries offshore wind project has also recently selected its preferred substation search area which now overlaps with North Falls’ substation search area.
“Towards the end of this year, both projects will jointly engage with local communities, particularly those near the onshore substation location, to present how the infrastructure could look in combination and to provide an update on the project proposals”, the North Falls joint venture said in the recently published newsletter.
The North Falls project is a proposed extension to the existing 504 MW Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm of a similar capacity. As reported earlier, RWE and SSE Renewables have made several changes to the project plans following statutory consultation, including removing the northern array area and reducing the number and height of wind turbines. Since the work on implementing the changes into the project plan will take some time, the companies are now likely to move the planned date for filing a development consent order (DCO) application into 2024.
The proposed Five Estuaries offshore wind farm is an extension to the operational Galloper offshore wind farm and has a potential capacity of up to 353 MW. Same as the developers of the North Falls offshore wind farm, the Five Estuaries project consortium now also anticipates submitting the DCO application in early 2024, rather than at the end of 2023, following a review of the consultation feedback.
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