Billions of pounds of investment for East Anglia as windfarms get go ahead
- Credit: Sarah Brown
The go ahead for two offshore wind farms off the Suffolk coast marks a major step forward for energy generation in East Anglia.
Business, energy and industrial secretary Kwasi Kwarteng announced the granting of development consent for the 67-turbine East Anglia One North Offshore Windfarm and the 75-turbine East Anglia Two Offshore Windfarm on Thursday evening.
The decision is a major boost for energy generation in the East of England and marks confirmation of billions of pounds of investment in the area.
But the plan is expected to face a legal challenge from objectors.
The consent marks the culmination of years of work for energy company ScottishPower and will play a part in the UK’s drive to generate more of its electricity from renewable sources.
Mr Kwarteng, who gave the permission subject to a number of conditions, said there was a “strong case” for both projects.
The decision letter said: “Given the national need for the development... the Secretary of State does not believe that this is outweighed by the proposed development’s potential adverse impacts.”
ScottishPower already has permission for the EA3 project which, together with the two new consents, will form the 2.9gigawatt East Anglia Hub project.
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The decision had originally been expected on January 6 but was held back after Mr Kwarteng asked for more information on potential wildlife impacts and increased flood risks.
ScottishPower, owned by major Spanish energy group Iberdola, had agreed to scale back the plan to 800megawatt capacity to 602Mega watts.
The decision has been widely welcomed by energy industry bodies.
Simon Gray, chief executive of the East of England Energy Group, said: “We welcome this decision and what it will mean for supply chain opportunities and jobs, however we recognise that some people will be negatively impacted by the decision but the economic gain for our region.
"The long-term ecological impact that renewable energy brings and the energy security that these projects will deliver, in these awful times, means that this is the right decision for our region and UKPLC.”
Ian Pease, Generate’s energy development manager, said: “The East of England is the UK’s leading renewable energy producer on track to supply 50pc of the UK’s 40GW offshore wind target by 2030 and these projects form an important part of that.
“By combining offshore and onshore wind, solar, nuclear power and gas, the East of England is driving the UK’s energy transition, helping to keep the country on track for net zero by 2050.
“The green light for East Anglian Two and One North will keep the region’s energy supply chain and skilled workforce thriving and is the latest step in the East of England's vision for securing the UK’s sustainable energy future.”
Andrew Harston chair of the East of England Offshore Wind Cluster, said: This is a further significant endorsement of our region as being at the forefront of UK offshore wind development and strongly contributing to the prime minister’s target of 40 giga watts of installed capacity by 2030.
“These EA projects in conjunction with the Norfolk Boreas and Vanguard projects being developed by Vattenfall will see billions of pounds of investment in the East of England with many jobs being supported and new jobs being created in both the construction and long-term operations and maintenance functions.
“This is an absolutely fantastic day for the offshore wind supply chain in the East of England and we are delighted that the Secretary of State has approved these two important renewable energy projects.”