Go ahead has been given for a major offshore wind farm off the Norfolk coast that will provide power for up to 410,000 homes when it connects to the National Grid in 2017.
Offshore work will start in 2016 on the £1.5Bn Dudgeon development after Norwegian companies Statoil and Statkraft confirmed their final investment decision. Work will start this year on onshore cabling and an onshore sub station at Necton, with installation of the 67 turbines some 32 kilometres off the Norfolk coast to follow.
The 67 Siemens 6 MW turbines will sit on monopile foundations in water depths of 18 to 25 metres, and connected to a single 1,000 tonne offshore substation.
The project will support up to 450 construction jobs and bring hundreds of millions of pounds of investment to the economy, according to the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Dudgeon is the first of eight ‘green energy’ projects awarded early investment contracts by the DECC to announce its final investment decision. The others are three offshore wind farms and three biomass projects.
Energy minister Michael Fallon said the decision underlined the success of the early investment contracts, which he claimed would channel a "steady stream of investment" into UK renewable electricity projects.
He said: "As the best place in the world to invest in offshore wind, the UK is attracting millions of pounds of investment, supporting hundreds of local green jobs and strengthening its energy supply with home-grown sources.
"We have already attracted £34bn of private sector investment in renewable electricity since 2010, with the potential to create almost 37,000 engineering jobs in the UK."
The UK has installed some 4GW of offshore wind energy capacity installed and has a target of at least 10GW installed by 2020. Statoil operates another major wind farm off the Norfolk coast, the Sheringham Shoal project which opened in 2012 and is designed to generate power enough for 220,000 homes using 88 3.6 MW Siemens turbines.
Statoil’s senior vice president for the renewable energy cluster, Siri Espedal Kindem, said: “Building on the Sheringham Shoal experience, we now look forward to a progressive dialogue with key stakeholders such as the Norfolk public community, the local supply chain and the authorities.”