This document supports a request for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Scoping Opinion from the Planning Inspectorate for the Norfolk Vanguard offshore wind farm. Norfolk Vanguard 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 Vanguard project are reducing greenhouse gas emissions, providing energy security, and maximising economic opportunities from investment for the UK.
Norfolk Vanguard is located 47km offshore (at the closest point). It will have a generation capacity of 1.8GW (1800MW) and will produce enough energy to power 1.3million UK households. The wind farm comprises two distinct areas, Norfolk Vanguard East (NV East) and Norfolk Vanguard West (NV West) and will be connected to the shore by offshore export cables installed within the provisional offshore cable corridor.
The project will also require onshore infrastructure in order to connect the offshore wind farm to the National Grid, which in summary will comprise:
- Landfall (within the landfall search area);
- Cable relay station if required (within the cable relay search area);
- Underground cables (within the cable corridor search area); and
- Onshore substation (within the substation search area).
A grid connection offer was provided by National Grid in July 2016 based on an onshore connection point at the existing 400kV Necton National Grid Substation. The Applicant has taken up this offer and is committed to an underground cable solution which has the benefit of avoiding landscape and visual impacts associated with overhead lines.
The exact locations of the landfall and onshore infrastructure are yet to be determined. Site selection for the onshore infrastructure locations is ongoing and responses to the Scoping Request and public consultation will help to inform the development of Norfolk Vanguard.
Norfolk Vanguard is being developed by VWPL (or an affiliate company). 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 2017. Vattenfall plans to invest £5bn in renewables, mainly offshore wind, in Northern Europe by 2020 and Norfolk Vanguard represents the next step in the UK. VWPL has world leading experience in offshore wind, as owners of the Kentish Flats, Kentish Flats Extension, Ormonde, and Thanet offshore wind farms, which are currently operational in the UK.
The EIA will be completed by technical specialists using best practice and following appropriate guidance. Key aspects of the EIA are likely to be traffic and transport, noise, landscape and visual, tourism and recreation, commercial fisheries, ornithology and marine mammals. This Scoping Report outlines all of the receptors that will be considered during the EIA and the planned approach to characterising the existing environment, assessing potential impacts associated with Norfolk Vanguard and developing mitigation measures. Consultation will be ongoing with stakeholders 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.