Equinor has applied to the Planning Inspectorate for permission to double the capacity of the Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon offshore wind farms, both situated off the North Norfolk coast.
The application provides for an integrated transmission system, as well as separate grid connections for each project, within the same overall onshore footprint. Equinor says it wantsto deliver the integrated grid connection as long as the necessary regulatory changes are in place to facilitate this.
Commenting on the submission, Equinor’s Project Director Kari-Hege Mørk said work on the submissions had started over three years ago and added, “it is the first time two offshore wind farms in the UK are being proposed with an integrated transmission system, including a single point of connection to shore.” The two projects have been identified as a ‘Pathfinder’ under Ofgem’s Offshore Transmission Network Review (OTNR), providing a near-term opportunity for better offshore transmission planning. ‘Pathfinder’ projects have the potential to deliver benefits on better coordinated offshore transmission systems in the near-term and provide important learnings for the other parts of the OTNR process.
Dan McGrail, chief executive of Renewable UK, said: “The industry is working with government, regulators and communities to find new ways of connecting offshore wind farms more quickly and with fewer local impacts. This first Pathfinder project is an important step in upgrading the grid so that we can provide cheap renewable power to consumers.”
The Planning Inspectorate now has 28 days to decide whether the application is sufficient to be accepted for examination.