Consultation over windfarm project off Lancashire coast
A company called Morgan Offshore Wind Limited, of Sunbury on Thames, Middlesex, has given notice of its intention to apply to the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero for consent to develop as part of the offshore wind leasing process a wind farm in the east Irish Sea.
The windfarm has previously been reported as being expected to comprise up to 107 wind turbine generators and cabling to connect the wind turbine generators to each other and to offshore substation platforms.
The notice says the project, a joint venture between bp Alternative Energy Investments Ltd and Energie Baden-Württemberg AG, is expected to have a combined installed capacity of approximately 2GW. Proposed location is understood to be approximately 36km from the north west coast of England and approximately 22km from the Isle of Man.
Meanwhile, at the same time, company called Morecambe Offshore Windfarm Ltd, with a registered off in Edinburgh,is proposing to submit an application for development consent for up to 40 offshore wind turbine generators, up to two substation platforms and associated items.
That is a joint venture between Cobra Instalaciones y Servicios, S.A. (“Cobra”) and Flotation Energy Ltd and is anticipated to generate a nominal capacity of 480 megawatts (MW) and produce renewable power for over 500,000 homes in the UK.
At its nearest point, that windfarm site has been reported to be approximately 30km from the shore of the Lancashire coast and the applicant says the project will help the UK achieve its target of generating 50GW of power from offshore wind by 2030.
Before making the application, the applicants have a duty to procide a Statement of Community Consultation, which explains the consultation process. Fylde Council, Preston City Council, South Ribble Council, Blackpool Council, Lancashire County Council and West Lancashire Council were all consulted with by the applicant before making the SoCC available to the public and it is now available on the project website morecambeandmorgan.com, with the consultation materials to follow from today (October 12).
Printed copies are available to read at Freckleton Library, Kirkham Library, St Annes Library, Lytham Library and Penwortham Library during normal opening hours until Thursday, November 23.
Inquiries can also be made by email to [email protected] or by phone on 0800 915 2493 (option 3).
During the consultation period, the developers’ project team will be hosting a series of drop-in consultation events, pop up events, and an online webinar to provide further details and answer questions on the project.
The proposed new offshore windfarms would together have the potential to generate enough electricity to power almost two million homes.
Much of the public interest is expected to be in what the developers term Transmissiion Assets – to transform the electricity generated and connect it to the National Grid substation at Penwortham, two new substations and an onshore cabling corridor will need to be built in the Fylde area.
Fylde MP Mark Menzies has already expressed concern at the idea of the potential impact of such faci;ities on local infrastructure and people’s homes.
"I am resolutely opposed to the idea of a new electricity substation being built in rural Fylde,” he said.
“The project’s communication with residents has to date fallen far short of what I would expect, and it is key that we take this opportunity to make our voices heard and shape the future of the project.”
Fylde Council say that the purpose of the consultation is to allow prescribed representatives and local communities to influence the proposed location of the Transmission Assets, and to examine and discuss the Preliminary Environmental Information Report.
That report contains early findings of the environmental impact assessment, details of how the conclusions have been reached, and measures to prevent, reduce or offset any potential environmental effects.
Coun Tommy Threlfall, Lead Member for the Environment at Fylde Council, said: “Fylde Council will be actively consulting with the project developers in our capacity as a local authority, and I would encourage our residents to ensure their voices are heard by attending the consultation events, familiarising themselves with the details, and giving their informed opinion.”
The Government has said it wants to generate enough wind energy to be able to power every home in the UK by 2030.
Its energy strategy promises a major expansion of offshore wind turbines in the coming years
The target is for 50 gigawatts (GW) of the UK's electricity to be generated by offshore wind by the end of the decade - 5GW of which it is hoped will come from floating platforms in deeper seas off the UK coast.
To this end, the Government is speeding up the time it takes for new projects to be given the go-ahead, including cutting the approval time needed for new offshore wind farms from four years to one.