UK Offshore wind bar raised again as UK approves 1.8GW Hornsea 2, By Andrew Lee, Recharge News, August 16 2016
The UK government has given the go-ahead for Dong Energy to develop the 1.8GW Hornsea 2 project off eastern England, currently the largest offshore wind farm planned globally.
UK energy secretary Greg Clark gave development consent in a notice posted by the UK Planning Inspectorate this morning.
The wind farm would cost £6bn ($7.8bn) to build if fully developed in the North Sea some 90km off the coast of Lincolnshire.
Clark said: “The UK’s offshore wind industry has grown at an extraordinary rate over the last few years, and is a fundamental part of our plans to build a clean, affordable, secure energy system."
Dong has already taken a final investment decision on the 1.2GW Hornsea 1 project, which is due to be finished by 2020 when it will claim the title of the world's largest operating offshore wind farm.
The Danish group is also seeking to advance the 2.4GW Hornsea 3 development, with consultation currently underway.
Dong Energy UK chairman Brent Cheshire said: "Hornsea Project Two is a huge potential infrastructure project which could provide enough green energy to power 1.6 million UK homes. A project of this size will help in our efforts to continue reducing the cost of electricity from offshore wind and shows our commitment to investing in the UK."
The consent for Hornsea 2 comes against a widening debate over the UK's future energy mix, with a final sign-off of the controversial Hinkley Point nuclear plant on hold and even sceptical commentators noting the cost reductions achieved by the offshore wind sector.
Jonathan Marshall, an analyst at the UK-based Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said: "This decision shows that, despite the muddle over the new nuclear plant at Hinkley point, there are energy technologies in which the UK has carved out a position as a global leader.
"The Government’s backing of offshore wind gives the energy sector some of the certainty that has been sorely lacking recently. Consistent support has driven costs of offshore wind down so that it’s almost competitive with fossil fuel generation."
Industry body RenewableUK said: "Today’s announcement is the latest vote of confidence in the UK’s world-beating offshore wind market. This huge infrastructure project will provide much-needed investment and energy security for our country.
"Offshore wind represents a massive economic opportunity to the UK and our coastal regions. It is creating new jobs and regenerating local communities."
Hornsea 2 joins a roll-call of huge offshore wind projects off eastern England.
Iberdrola is advancing the 714MW EA1 project down the coast from Hornsea. In the same East Anglia zone, Sweden's Vattenfall has started scoping out the 1.8GW Norfolk Vanguard project with a view to a potential planning application.
However, hopes for the development of a purpose-built regional offshore wind hub suffered a setback earlier this month when Dong decided against using the planned Able Marine Energy Park to support its offshore projects.