In February 2017 The Crown Estate invited operators of existing UK offshore wind farms for expressions of interest regarding the possible extension of their projects. RWE expressed an interest in creating an extension to Galloper Wind Farm and Greater Gabbard Wind Farm off the coast of Suffolk, Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm in North Wales, and Rampion Wind Farm off the coast of Sussex.
All four projects successfully passed the Crown Estates Habitats Regulations Assessments, meaning they have now being progressed to the development and design stage. A full design and consenting process, including comprehensive stakeholder and community engagement, has commenced for Five Estuaries Offshore Wind Farm. It is anticipated that it will take in the region of ten years to develop and construct the project, prior to it becoming operational.
In summer 2021 a number of onshore and offshore surveys for the project commenced. Prior to offshore surveys commencing the Five Estuaries Commercial Fisheries Working Group met to provide a forum for the discussion of practical issues relating to fisheries including survey planning and phasing. Details relating to the schedule and area of the offshore surveys are being provided via notices to mariners.
The Crown Estate concluded Habitats Assessment for UK extension projects – 2.85 GW of new capacity, across 7 projects, progress to the award of rights.
Contracts being awarded to a number of consultants in preparation for the consenting phase which will involve detailed surveys to inform the Environmental Impact Assessment and Habitat Regulations Assessment.
The detailed onshore and offshore design process for the project progresses. This phase of activity includes formal and informal consultation with stakeholders and local communities.
Agreement for Lease signed with The Crown Estate.
Project name unveiled and website launched.
Onshore and offshore surveys commence
The total area of the proposed Five Estuaries project is around 149km2. It is too early to say what type of turbines or how many will be considered for the Wind Farm. This will evolve from the detailed design process that will take into consideration all of the offshore infrastructure including offshore substation(s) and cable.
The site of the onshore infrastructure will be chosen dependant on a number of factors and constraints and RWE will work closely with the local community, local councils and interested parties throughout this process.