Equinor allows more time to further strengthen proposals for Norfolk offshore wind farm extensions

05 October 2021: On behalf of Sheringham Shoal Extension and Dudgeon Extension partnerships, Equinor has taken the decision to extend the preapplication period for the Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm Extension Projects (SEP and DEP) to allow time to undertake additional analysis and further develop proposals.

The company had originally planned to submit the Development Consent Order (DCO) application by the end of 2021, but it now intends to make its submission to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) by early summer 2022.

SEP and DEP will double the capacity of the existing Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon offshore wind farms off the Norfolk coast, providing renewable energy to power an additional 820,000 UK homes and making an important contribution to the UK’s decarbonisation goals.

Kari-Hege Mørk, Equinor’s Project Director for SEP and DEP said: “Throughout the development of the wind farms we have presented technical and environmental information as plans have been refined, and been in close dialogue with key stakeholders such as statutory nature conservation bodies, as well as the local community and interested parties. We want to thank all those that took the time to respond to our consultations, we greatly appreciate your time.”

“We have taken the decision to carry out additional analysis on seabird species and further develop proposals, in case environmental mitigation and ornithology compensatory measures are required in accordance with BEIS’ new requirements.

“We are confident that this extra time will allow us to take into account the thorough feedback on our proposals. It also allows us more time to engage with the local community and now that restrictions have lifted, we intend to use the time to visit communities in person.”

SEP and DEP are classified as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) which means Equinor will apply for a DCO from the Secretary of State for Business Energy and industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Equinor and its partners are seeking to minimise potential impacts on the community and the environment by proposing a shared onshore grid connection footprint for the two projects and applying for one common DCO. This is an industry first; two separately owned projects have never made a common DCO application before, and it is hoped this joined-up approach will pave the way for other coordinated projects in the UK.

About Equinor in Norfolk

Equinor is a long-term partner for Norfolk and has been an active member of the community for over a decade through the Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon wind farms it operates off the Norfolk coast.

The Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm is owned by Equinor, Masdar and China Resources, whilst Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm is owned by Equinor, Equitix Offshore 5 (co-owned by Equitix and the Renewable Investment Group TRIG) and a fund managed by Macquarie Asset Management.

Currently, the combined output of both wind farms is sufficient to power around 750,000 UK homes, and the proposed extensions will increase that to more than 1.5 million UK households.

Both wind farms have established community funds which in total have awarded over £1 million to projects in Norfolk. The funds were set up to provide grants to Norfolk community groups, including schools and NGOs, seeking financial assistance for projects or initiatives that meet key criteria and focus on renewable energy, marine environment and safety, sustainability, or education in these areas. During 2020, the funds provided grant funding to the Norfolk Community Foundation’s COVID-19 funding initiatives, and during 2021 grant funding has been made available to support Norfolk›s ‘every child on-line’ initiative.

Grid connection
SEP and DEP are ‘Early Opportunities’ projects under Ofgem’s ongoing Offshore Transmission Network Review. The DCO application will include proposals for an integrated grid connection, as well as separate grid connections for each project, within the same overall onshore footprint. It is Equinor’s preference to deliver the integrated grid connection as long as the necessary regulatory changes are in place to facilitate this.

Issue date: 05-10-21