Seven UK offshore wind extensions to progress, Ørsted told "No"
Gwynt y Mor offshore wind farm. Source: Siemens AG. www.siemens.com/press
The Crown Estate has given the green light to seven out of eight UK offshore wind expansion projects with a combined capacity of 2.85 GW to progress to the award of leasing rights round.
The Crown Estate said it has concluded the plan level Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA), which helps estimate the possible impact of the proposed projects on relevant nature conservation sites of European importance. The assessment process followed the launch in February 2017 of an opportunity for existing wind farms to apply for extensions. Eight applications were lodged at the time.
The developers of the seven approved projects, listed below, now have to conduct project specific environmental assessments and surveys before filing for planning consent, the announcement says.
More details are available in the following table.
up to 317 MW
up to 402 MW
up to 504 MW
up to 353 MW
up to 400 MW
Gwynt y Mor
up to 576 MW
up to 300 MW (as announced in March 2018)
Only one proposal was left behind -- the Race Bank extension project by Denmark’s Ørsted A/S (CPH:ORSTED). The Crown Estate said that an adverse effect on the integrity of the Inner Dowsing, Race Bank and North Ridge Special Area of Conservation (SAC), where most the site for this proposed extension sits, could not be ruled out. There is still the option to pursue a derogation case under the Habitats Regulations, but this would be a first for the offshore wind industry and would cause a delay to the award of rights round.
As a result, the Crown Estate will not pursue this route at this time, but it noted it would continue to work with the developers of the Race Bank extension to consider next steps.