Norfolk Vanguard off the coast in eastern England may have up to 225 turbines and will, if realised, become Vattenfall’s largest offshore wind farm by far. It will be able to produce roughly 7.8TWh of electricity annually which will meet the annual needs of more than 1.3 million UK households.
CONSENT IN 2020
The development of the 1.8GW wind farm has now started and a project team is in place managed by Ruari Lean.
“We are aiming at having an irrevocable consent for the wind farm by February 2020, but we’ll have to pass some major milestones along the way,” he says and explains that a planning application via the Planning Inspectorate’s nationally significant infrastructure projects scheme is due to be submitted in 2018.
“In November 2017 we are aiming to submit preliminary environmental information and the complete planning application will be ready for submission by June 2018. The process of acceptance and examination is likely to take up to 18 months and by then we’ll be close to the end of 2019 or early 2020 when hopefully irrevocable consent has been awarded.”
Lean has a background in project management and joined Nuon Renewables in 2008 which, at a later stage, became part of Vattenfall.
Managing a project of this magnitude presents some differences compared to smaller projects. “The MW scale is an obvious one, the project is 1,800MW. The sheer capacity and tip height of each turbine will be another clear difference to current smaller offshore projects,” Lean says.
Lean states that if all processes run as smoothly as expected and a final investment decision is taken, offshore works can start in the early 2020s.
“One of the main challenges for the project team is to ensure the project’s LEC* (levelized electricity cost) remains lower than our competitor’s projects. The development strategy hinges around low LEC. Other immediate challenges include making sure we deliver the 2016 programme to set the project up for the planning application submission milestone in June 2018.”
The exact amount of turbines will be decided post consent.
“We have said this far that we are counting with up to 225 turbines.”
Next year Vattenfall will also commence development of nearby Norfolk Boreas with a capacity of another 1.8GW.
“We are aiming at having an irrevocable consent for Boreas by 2021,” says Lean and explains why offshore wind is experiencing a growth in the UK.
“Strategically there is demand for electricity in the UK and the industry is getting encouraging signals from the government. Vattenfall wants to work with Norfolk to capture the benefits of offshore wind.”
*The price of producing one kilowatt hour seen over the life of the wind turbines.