Gunfleet offshore wind farm given the green light
The UK government has granted building consent for the second Gunfleet offshore wind farm, planned for the Thames Estuary.
The 64 Megawatt offshore wind farm – Gunfleet Sands II – is a development by DONG Energy Ltd and will lay a minimum of five miles from the Essex coast at Frinton-on-Sea on the seaward side of the already consented, but not yet built, 108 Megawatt Gunfleet Sands wind farm. Gunfleet Sands II (GS2) will comprise a maximum of 22 turbines, enough to power up to 45,000 homes. It is one of three wind farms granted consent by the Energy Minister, Malcolm Wicks. The other two are an 85MW onshore wind farm planned at Keadby, North Lincolnshire, with 39 turbines – enough to power up to 38,000 homes – and a 66MW onshore wind farm at Thorne, South Yorkshire, with 22 turbines, enough for up to 26,500 homes. DONG Energy acquired the Gunfleet project from GE Wind Energy in December 2006. It is one of the leading energy groups in the Nordic region and in 2002 and 2003 constructed the world’s two largest offshore wind farms. The total area of the GS2 boundary is 7.5km2 and the site is located immediately adjacent to the consented GS1 project. The development will utilise the site-to-shore electricity cable and onshore electricity connection already consented under the GS1 project. It is currently proposed that GS1 and GS2 will be constructed together. Foundation and cable installation will be undertaken in this year, followed by turbine installation in spring/summer 2009 with completion of the project in December 2009. If the total project is constructed as planned, DONG says approximately 120,000 households (75,000 and 45,000 households for Gunfleet Sands 1 and 2, respectively), which is equivalent to over 20 per cent of the households in Essex can be provided with clean electricity. DONG also states that compared to electricity generated from coal fired power plants carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere will be reduced by approx. 180,000 tonnes when GS2 is operational. Likewise, reductions in sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide (other ‘greenhouse gases’) will amount to 2000 and 600 tonnes, respectively, when wind replaces coal as the energy source.