Vattenfall’s plans to extend its Thanet Offshore Wind Farm are to be examined by the Planning Inspectorate ahead of a UK Government decision to consent in late 2019.
The Planning Inspectorate’s (PINS) decision to accept the proposed nationally significant infrastructure project for examination follows 18-months of engagement and consultation with residents and businesses by Vattenfall on the Isle of Thanet. As Thanet Extension enters the pre-examination phase, PINS will invite stakeholders to submit evidence ahead of examination.
The Swedish energy group is proposing to deploy by 2023 up to 34 wind turbines in a development area adjacent to the existing wind farm, 8km off Foreness Point. The scheme would have a capacity of up to 340MW, and would be capable of supplying renewable electricity annually to the equivalent of approximately 282,000 UK homes.
Helen Jameson, Vattenfall’s project manager for Thanet Extension, said: “We want to build a wind farm that helps Thanet prosper whilst contributing to the fight against climate change and a fossil fuel free future. If Thanet Extension joins our Kent cluster of offshore wind farms it will allow Vattenfall to expand our existing workforce of 75 people currently working from our Ramsgate operations and maintenance base. We would also expect to see local businesses benefit from our local investment, especially around the Port of Ramsgate.”
As well as supporting the local economy, Thanet Extension is also good news for British bill payers. Ms. Jameson explains: “The rapidly declining costs of offshore wind deployment means that Thanet Extension could be one of the lowest cost offshore wind farms in European waters. This is thanks to the deployment of cutting-edge turbine technology and the ever increasing efficiency of these machines, one of which would be capable of powering a UK home for 33 hours with one rotation of its blades. Thanet Extension can also draw on the experience and established supply chain associated with Vattenfall’s existing Kent cluster, and exploit O&M synergies in a way that is unique to extension projects.
A newsletter is being sent to 88,000 homes in the area to update them on the project’s latest developments.
The Kent cluster is made up of Kentish Flats (90MW operational since 2006), Thanet Offshore Wind Farm (300MW, operational since 2010) and Kentish Flats Extension (49.5MW operational since 2015).