DUDGEON OFFSHORE WIND FARM
MIXED RESULTS FOR THE PLANNING REQUESTS SUBMITTED TO BRECKLAND COUNCIL FOR THE ONSHORE ELECTRICAL CONNECTION
Dudgeon Offshore Wind Limited (DOW), a subsidiary of Warwick Energy Limited, has received the first of the planning permissions needed to construct the onshore facilities for the proposed Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm (Dudgeon) project.
The permission received yesterday from Breckland Council covers part of the buried cable system needed to allow the electricity generated offshore to enter the transmission network.
The offshore cable system is designed to reach land at Weybourne Hope. The onshore cable route then runs for over 45km in a south westerly direction to the proposed substation site located to the south of Little Dunham in the Breckland District of Norfolk.
However, the application for the substation was refused at the same meeting against the recommendation of the planning officers. This was based on landscape concerns, despite the inclusion in the plans of new woodland and other habitat to screen the site covering nearly 20 acres. This decision will be appealed.
The location of the onshore substation was carefully chosen from over 100 possible alternatives. It represents the location with the lowest overall environmental impact and lies on the far side of the existing pylon and overhead line system that runs 0.5km to the south of Little Dunham.
The Dudgeon site, where the wind turbines will be deployed, is located 32km offshore from Cromer. Consent for the offshore elements of the project is anticipated soon. It was hoped that the wind farm would commence generation by late 2014. The need to appeal the substation decision could now delay the project by around one year, subject to the success of the appeal.
Planning applications for the onshore electrical connection for the Dudgeon project were lodged with North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) and Breckland Council on 18th December 2009, accompanied by a full Environmental Statement (ES) regarding the onshore elements of the project. The ES drew on the results of the environmental surveys and studies and concluded that overall, the development will not have a significant impact on the local environment.
An extended and extensive public consultation then followed and has resulted in both District Councils recommending acceptance of all the applications related to their areas. A decision from NNDC is anticipated next month.
The full Dudgeon project could generate up to 560MW and is expected to cost around £1.3bn; save up 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over its expected 50 year life; and could provide more than 0.5% of the UK’s annual electricity needs. The project could create many temporary jobs during the construction phase and around 50 full time jobs thereafter.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1. The Dudgeon project would include up to 168 wind turbines producing enough electricity on average to supply up to 400,000 homes with green electricity, approximately the same number of households that exist in the county of Norfolk.
2. In relation to the onshore electrical connection, DOW held public exhibitions in Fakenham, Necton and Holt in November 2009. The main purposes of the exhibitions were to increase public awareness of the project; identify any particular concerns that the general public might have; and to answer questions on a face to face basis.
3. The public exhibitions were attended by 321 people of whom 154 (48%) completed a questionnaire, either at the exhibitions or afterwards by post, which provided feedback to the scheme.
4. DOW had been very encouraged by the general level of local support for the project and this was confirmed from the questionnaire returns at the exhibitions where 69% of people supported the specific onshore proposals, 23% were undecided and only 8% of people were against the proposals.
5. The Little Dunham Parish Council decided to object to the substation plans from the start of the public consultation period and has maintained this position despite none of the expert consultees (including Natural England, the Environment Agency etc), nor any of Breckland Council’s own experts, objecting to the proposals.
6. The consent applications for the offshore elements of the Dudgeon project were lodged with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in June 2009 and are still being considered.
7. It is expected that electricity generation from offshore wind farms, such as this one at Dudgeon, will make a significant contribution towards the UK’s target of producing at least 20% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020.
8. Warwick Energy’s wind farm project at Dudgeon is one of 15 such projects that were awarded licenses by the Crown Estate as a national second Round of offshore wind projects.
9. The Dudgeon area holds the potential for a second stage of development which could more than double the output currently proposed. The planning requests for the onshore works take into account this possible additional activity to ensure that the maximum possible impact was correctly assessed.
10. Warwick Energy Limited is a leading UK developer of a range of energy projects and has previously been responsible for the development of the 90MW Barrow offshore wind farm (in operation since 2006) and the 300MW Thanet offshore wind farm (completed this year).
11. Thanet is currently the World’s largest operational offshore wind farm facility, but Dudgeon could be almost twice its capacity.
Contacts: Mark Petterson Director, Warwick Energy 01789 471091
Warwick Energy Limited, Wellesbourne House, Wellesbourne, Warwickshire CV35 9JB