Energy Ministers have granted planning consent for the construction of the next stage of the giant Dogger Bank offshore wind farm in the North Sea – the biggest offshore wind project in the world
Dogger Bank Teesside A and B will boast up to 400 wind turbines and have an installed capacity of up to 2.4 gigawatts (GW) – enough to power the annual electricity needs of two million British homes.
The turbines will have the potential to generate enough green electricity to power up to 1.8 million homes from an area of seabed of around 600km2, located 102 miles from the north east coast of England. The onshore elements of the development will be located in Redcar and Cleveland.
Energy and Climate Change Minister Lord Bourne said: “Thanks to Government support the UK is the world leader in offshore wind energy. As we build the Northern Powerhouse, we want local communities to reap the benefits of investment and green jobs from low carbon developments like Dogger Bank Offshore wind project.
The Teesside project is equal in size to the world’s largest previously consented project, Dogger Bank Creyke Bank (also up to 2.4GW) situated alongside it, which gained consent in February 2015.
In addition, the huge project could create up to 4,750 direct and indirect jobs and generate more than £1.5 billion for the UK economy over its lifetime, according to the project’s developers RWE, SSE, Statkraft and Statoil – the Forewind consortium.
The announcement comes at an uncertain time for the renewable energy industry as a whole following a series of Government announcements about reductions in financial support in other parts of the sector.
The Government has postponed the next round of auctions for Contracts for Difference, which provide financial support for renewable projects, until the spring. Greater clarity on the Government’s plans for this support system are expected in the autumn.
RenewableUK’s Chief Executive, Maria McCaffery, said: “This awe-inspiring offshore wind project has taken another significant step forward. The sheer size of Dogger Bank illustrates just how large the environmental and economic opportunities are in the North Sea for the UK’s world-leading offshore wind industry.
“However, the ambition of the industry needs to be matched by a vision from Government which is backed up by firm commitments on the levels of financial provision which will be available. We need to know that the political appetite exists to ensure that major infrastructure projects like this will gain the right level of support from Ministers – they hold the keys to unlocking the vast potential of the North Sea’s clean energy resources.
“The industry is set to play its part – but it needs a fair wind from Westminster in order to do so.”