Many questions about the environment, wildlife, archaeology and the like have been answered in the Environmental Statement and Non-Technical Summaries of both the onshore and offshore components of the project. These are additional questions received from the community since consent for the project was achieved. To view these documents, please click here.
Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm will provide many opportunities to boost the local Norfolk economy - through the provision of jobs, the purchase of goods and services and possible ongoing tourism impacts. There will be local opportunities both during construction and in the longer term in relation to operation and maintenance of the wind farm. It is anticipated that once fully operational the wind farm will directly create around 50 permanent jobs. Many local businesses will also provide services to the wind farm, which will indirectly create further permanent employment.
Work onshore began in June 2009 with the installation of the cable and the construction of a new substation. The cable was installed across primarily arable land and the contractor, Carillion, ensured that the land was returned to its original state subsequent to the cable laying to enable the landowners to use the surface level as normal.
Offshore the construction is ongoing. The offshore substations have been lifted, and installation of the foundations is in progress. This work will mainly impact the other users of the sea, fishermen. Negotiations to pay disruption payments during the construction period have been completed with the fishermen who fish the site and along the export cable corridor. During the construction phase there is an exclusion zone of 50 metres around each foundation, and during piling operations the exclusion zone is increased to 500 metres. These exclusion zones have been approved by the Coastguard to ensure the safety of seafarers in the area.
The wind farm will be part of the local community for many years to come and the company will continue to contribute to, and play an active role in, relevant community-based projects likely to be of lasting benefit. Smaller local sponsorships have already included the Fairyland Trust, the rejuvenation of Plumstead Parish Pond and an upgrade to the Wells coastal look-out, and events including the North Norfolk Greenbuild sustainability weekend, the Wells Carnival and the 2011 Royal Wedding celebrations in Wells-next-the-Sea have all received Scira’s support.
A Community Trust Fund has also been established to provide grants to organisations and activities which can demonstrate a local benefit in the key areas of climate change, environment and sustainability.
The Sheringham Shoal Wind Energy Visitor and Education Centre opened at The Mo in Sheringham in February 2011; here visitors can learn more about wind energy in general and the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm in particular. Early visitor numbers indicate this will prove to be a highly popular attraction.
In 2008/09 Scira worked with the North Norfolk Business Forum to publish the Sheringham Shoal Suppliers’ Directory, and this has been widely used by the project’s contractors to source a range of products and services from North Norfolk’s businesses.
During 2011 the company will once again work with North Norfolk Business Forum to develop an on-line Sheringham Shoal Supplier database. Businesses interested in being included in the database should register their interest with the North Norfolk Business Forum [see Contact/Links].
The wind farm will be visible on the horizon from key viewpoint locations along the North Norfolk coastal edge for about 60% of the time - but only when atmospheric conditions are clear. To get an idea of what the wind farm will look like from the nearest point to land it is most accurate to compare it with an existing wind farm. For example, for Norfolk residents, the distance from Sheringham town to the wind farm is the same as the distance from Hunstanton to the Lynn & Inner Dowsing Wind Farms so will have similar visibility.
Wind turbines are developed to produce the maximum energy yield at minimum cost. Theoretically, it is possible to have a wind turbine that always produces power: a very high tower and a very small rotor that rotates in even the faintest breeze. However, the energy yield would be very small for such a turbine. Similarly, a very strong turbine with a very large rotor would allow maximum power production during a year’s worst storm, but it would be standing still during the rest of the year. The optimum is in-between these two extremes: a wind turbine that generates quite some power during most of the year, a lot during strong winds, and nothing during the worst storms to keep the turbine affordable.
The 88 wind turbines to be used on the wind farm are Siemens 3.6 MW. The electrical concept is the reliable a-synchronous, squirrel cage generator without slip rings. The generator is grid connected through a full power electronic convertor (AC-DC-AC) and operates at variable speed, fully decoupled from the system frequency. The sequence described above is called the cut-in sequence (wind speed increases to 3-5 m/s) and is managed by the wind turbine controller, where the power electronics allow the complete control of the active and reactive output of the turbine. This controller automatically synchronises the turbine with the grid.
The lease period for the wind farm is 50 years. As part of the consent, it is agreed that the project owner will remove the wind turbines and all associated equipment above the ground at the end of the wind farm’s lifespan. Continuing developments in offshore wind technology are expected to extend the operational life of wind turbines at sea, so that they may be maintained beyond this lifespan. However, this will be up to UK authorities to decide.
The electricity produced will be transported to a new substation at Salle, near Cawston, and then enter EDF Energy’s regional grid, eventually connecting to the National Grid in Norwich for general use by British consumers.
One metre per second (m/s) is equal to 2.2 miles per hour. The metric measurement is standard for the wind energy industry globally.
If you have questions about the project you would like answered please email “Question” to gm_SciraInfo@statoil.com