This document supports a request by Vattenfall Wind Power Limited (VWPL) for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Scoping Opinion from the Planning Inspectorate for the Norfolk Boreas offshore wind farm. Norfolk Boreas is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) and as such an EIA is required as part of a Development Consent Order (DCO) application under the Planning Act 2008.
The key drivers for renewable energy, and therefore the Norfolk Boreas project, are reducing greenhouse gas emissions, providing energy security for the UK, and maximising economic opportunities through investment in the UK.
Norfolk Boreas is located 72km offshore (at the closest point). It will have a generation capacity of 1.8GW (1,800MW) and will produce enough energy to power 1.3million UK households. The Norfolk Boreas site would comprise an array of offshore wind turbines and offshore substations which will be connected to the shore by offshore export cables installed within an offshore cable corridor.
The project will also require onshore infrastructure in order to transmit and connect the offshore wind farm to the National Grid, which in summary would comprise:
- A cable relay station, if required;
- Underground cables;
- An onshore project substation; and
- Works at the Necton National Grid Substation (including extension of the existing substation and modification of the overhead powerlines).
A grid connection offer was provided by National Grid in October 2016 based on an onshore connection point at the existing Necton National Grid Substation. VWPL has taken up this offer and is committed to burying all the onshore cables for Norfolk Boreas project. This has the benefit of avoiding the landscape and visual impacts associated with the use of overhead lines.
Norfolk Boreas is the sister project to the proposed Norfolk Vanguard offshore wind farm project which is of the same capacity and located across two offshore wind farm sites, adjacent to the Norfolk Boreas site. Norfolk Vanguard is being developed first and its EIA and project design development are at a more advanced stage than for Norfolk Boreas. As both projects will connect to the Necton National Grid Substation, there has been a strategic approach to identifying locations for all onshore infrastructure with the aim of optimising overall design and reducing impacts where practical.
Norfolk Boreas is being developed by Vattenfall Wind Power Ltd (VWPL) (although the project will soon be transferred to a wholly owned subsidiary). VWPL has invested nearly £3bn in the UK, in onshore and offshore wind since 2008 and will have nearly 1GW in operation onshore and offshore by the end of 2017. Vattenfall plans to invest £5bn in renewables, mainly offshore wind, in Northern Europe by 2020 and Norfolk Boreas along with Norfolk Vanguard represent the next steps in the UK. VWPL has world leading experience in offshore wind, as owners of the Kentish Flats, Kentish Flats Extension, Ormonde (see front cover) and Thanet offshore wind farms, which are currently operational in the UK.
The EIA for Norfolk Boreas will be undertaken by experienced and well qualified technical specialists using best practice and following appropriate and relevant guidance. Key topics for investigation within the EIA are expected to be traffic and transport, onshore archaeology, noise, landscape and visual, tourism and recreation, commercial fisheries, other sea users, ornithology and marine mammals. This Scoping Report is the first stage of the EIA process, it outlines the receptors that will be considered during the EIA and the planned approach to data gathering and characterising the existing environment, assessing potential impacts associated with Norfolk Boreas and developing mitigation measures. A programme of consultation will be ongoing with stakeholders and communities throughout the EIA and DCO application process. VWPL is committed to engaging with the community and stakeholders. Section 5 of this Scoping Report provides an outline of the planned consultation associated with the project.