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RWE and SSE Renewables sign up for extension to Greater Gabbard

Two of the world’s leading offshore wind developers have joined forces to develop an extension adjacent to the operational 504 megawatt (MW) Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm, located more than 20 kilometres off the UK coast in the southern North Sea.
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This map shows the location of the North Falls Offshore Wind Farm. Picture: North Falls Offshore Wind Farm

SSE Renewables and RWE Renewables, co-owners of the existing Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm, have established an equal joint venture company and signed an Agreement for Lease with The Crown Estate, managers of the seabed, securing an option to develop an extension project on the site covering a total of 150 km2.

The project has been named North Falls Offshore Wind Farm, after the North Falls sandbank located at the southern tip of the proposed site of the wind farm.

The Agreement for Lease with The Crown Estate has been granted to the joint venture company under an extensions application process launched in 2017. The signing of both the joint venture agreement and the Agreement for Lease means the extension project can now begin its development activity in earnest including comprehensive onshore and offshore surveys and studies to inform the Environmental Assessment.

During the coming three years, work will also include engineering design, stakeholder consultation and community engagement before the Development Consent Order application is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate.

The joint venture company will comprise staff from both organisations and will be led by newly appointed project manager Martin Whyte, who comes to the project with more than 11 years’ experience working in the offshore wind sector.

The North Falls Offshore Wind Farm will comprise a number of wind turbines on fixed foundations, plus dedicated offshore and onshore electrical infrastructure. The newly-signed lease agreement is for an additional capacity of up to 504MW, the same as the existing Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm. The final capacity of the project will be determined during the development and consenting process.

 

Greater Gabbard wind farm2Greater Gabbard wind farm. Picture: North Falls Offshore Wind Farm

Martin Whyte said: “Signing both the joint venture agreement and the Agreement for Lease with The Crown Estate is like firing the starting gun, although we have made some early progress, we can now accelerate our activities and move properly into development.”

The development will build on the expertise and learnings from the original project, and other shareholder developments, to ensure best practice and maximise the positive benefits.

Paul Cooley, director of Capital Projects at SSE Renewables, said: “North Falls Offshore Wind Farm will build on the successful offshore wind legacy in the East of England. We’re looking forward to working with RWE Renewables to create more clean energy, create more jobs and move towards a net zero future.”

Richard Sandford, RWE’s Director Offshore Development Europe said: “Our positive partnership with SSE Renewables on the existing Greater Gabbard Wind Farm has given us invaluable experience that will ensure the success of the extension project. It is exciting to be working together again and to be further contributing to the UK’s green energy future.”

The Development Consent Order application is expected to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in 2023.




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