Government approves new offshore wind farm
The UK government has approved plans for an offshore wind farm off the coast of Suffolk which could provide power for hundreds of thousands of families.
The East Anglia Three wind farm will be located over 40 miles off the coast of Suffolk. It will have 172 giant turbines to generate 1.2GW: enough to provide for 890,000 homes.
If the ambitious project secures subsidies under the “contracts for difference” programme, construction could begin in 2022, with the wind farm entering operation by 2025.
“The UK is the third-best country in the world at tackling climate change and we’ve been clear in our commitment to supporting renewable energy through our ambitious industrial strategy and smart systems plan,” a spokesperson for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said.
“The East Anglia Three Offshore Wind Farm will unlock significant economic benefits through the UK supply chain and create jobs while helping to reduce our emissions.”
East Anglia Three will be one of four offshore wind farms developed by ScottishPower Renewables in the area. These sites, the company has said, could accommodate new, scaled-up turbines which reach two and a half times the height of Big Ben and provide up to 12 MW each.
ScottishPower Renewables have described these larger turbines as one of the cheapest forms of low-carbon electricity.
“Offshore wind has delivered on its promises from the outset,” said Keith Anderson, chief executive of ScottishPower Renewables. “Our sector has met every technical and political challenge, grown the UK’s supply chain and improved the technology at a rapid pace to allow projects to be deployed in ever harsher conditions.”
“In a little over a decade, our sector has delivered substantial amounts of green electricity for the UK, supported billions of pounds of UK investment and created thousands of high quality jobs.”
Once dismissed as expensive and inefficient, the cost of electricty generated by offshore wind farms has dropped rapidly in recent years.
The decision to approve the offshore wind farm was welcomed by RenewableUK, the UK’s leading renewable energy trade association. Emma Pinchbeck, its executive director, described the farm as a “vote of confidence in the UK’s world-leading offshore wind sector”, and an example of how offshore wind can play a part in the government’s new industrial strategy.
The Government’s new industrial strategy aims to equip British industry for a post-Brexit existence and the long-term future, including upgrading infrastructure and delivering clean energy solutions.