Crown Estate to allow seven wind farm extensions

In 2017 The Crown Estate gave existing offshore wind farms the opportunity to apply for project extensions. In May 2018, the opportunity to apply was closed, with eight applications meeting the application criteria. Since then, a plan level Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) has been undertaken to assess the potential impact of expanding wind farms into their respective nearby natural areas. This assessment was conducted by contracted independent advisors who consulted with marine planning authorities, nature conservation groups and NGOs. The Crown Estate has now concluded this assessment, and will grant rights to seven of the applications. These extensions are predicted to add 2.85GW of new generating capacity to the UK national grid.

The projects that have been granted extension rights are the Sheringham Shoal, Dudgeon, Greater Gabbard, Galloper, Rampion, Gwynt y Môr, and Thanet offshore wind farms. These are situated off England’s southern, eastern and south-eastern coasts. The Race Bank wind farm had been under consideration until the HRA determined that an extension in the region, off the coast of Norfolk, could have an adverse effect on the North Ridge Special Area of Conservation. No extensions will take place at the Race Bank site for the foreseeable future.

Will Apps, Head of Energy Development at the Crown Estate said of the planned extensions: “Project extensions offer an efficient opportunity to unlock almost a 10% increase in the UK offshore wind portfolio, supporting the continued growth of the development pipeline and demonstrating continued strong market appetite for new projects in UK waters.”

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