Government gives go-ahead for giant offshore wind farm

One of the world's largest wind farms has been given the green light to be built off the Suffolk coast, supporting almost 3,000 jobs and bringing over £520m of investment to the UK economy.

The East Anglia One offshore wind farm has this week been given consent from the Government, marking a strong vote of confidence for the nation’s offshore wind sector.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: “East Anglia and the rest of the UK have a lot to gain from this development. The project has the potential to inject millions of pounds into the local and national economies, and support thousands of green jobs.

“Making the most of Britain’s home grown energy is crucial in creating job and business opportunities, getting the best deal for customers and reducing our reliance on foreign imports.”

The wind farm is expected to deliver enough clean power for approximately 820,000 homes. Construction work on the 1.2GW farm is expected to start in 2017 subject to a final investment decision. Offshore installation work would then start in 2018 and generation from the development is scheduled to come online from 2019.

The Government’s decision to give the go-ahead today to a 240 turbine wind farm has been welcomed by Friends of the Earth, with the organisation’s head of campaigns Andrew Pendleton claiming it is ‘fantastic news for energy security, jobs and the battle to tackle climate change’.

“Ending our reliance on dirty fossil fuels by plugging into our abundant renewable power is absolutely vital for our future,” said Pendleton. “It’s a shame however that the Government continues to speak with a forked tongue on renewables.

“Simultaneously supporting and undermining the growing renewables industry, and having a meek ambition even for offshore wind, is no way to secure a clean supply of energy for the future.”

Job creation

Ben Stafford, head of public affairs at WWF-UK, added: “Climate change is the biggest threat facing our oceans and seas globally and is already impacting on the UK’s rich marine environment. It’s therefore vital that we find ways to harness the clean energy that marine renewables, such as offshore wind, can provide.

“Projects at this scale will also help to reduce costs, boost jobs and investment and help to keep the lights on.

“The Eastern region marine plan, published in April this year, is the first marine plan in the country.  Its vision supports the development of renewable energy, and provides the basis for developers to work all interested stakeholders to avoid or minimise any impacts on the marine environment and conduct robust post-consent monitoring in order to learn and refine plans for subsequent projects.”

East Anglia One currently plans to install up to 240 wind turbines, meaning the wind farm would be significantly larger than the current biggest wind farm in the world, the London Array, which is also in the UK.

Luke Nicholls

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