Onshore route under review for Thor offshore wind farm

In: Windfarms
The Danish Environmental Protection Agency has laid out content for the onshore environmental impact assessment for the 1 GW Thor offshore wind farm.

Thor wind area is located 20 km off the West Coast of Jutland in North Sea and will be the first of three projects included in the 2018 Energy Agreement to be built over the next decade.

Unlike previous Danish tenders, the wind farm developer will be responsible for the bulk of the transmission system including the offshore substations, two or three 220 kV export cables which come ashore at Tuskær on Jutland's west coast north of Nissum Fjord, onshore cable route, and a new substation at Volder Mark.  Energinet is responsible for another substation at Volder Mark, a 25 km onshore cable route, and the expansion of Idomlund station which will transform power from 220 kV to 400 kV and provide the connection to the main grid.

The environmental assessment process for Thor consists of several elements:
  • Preparation of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). The SEA will address any environmental issues and mitigation measures associated with the construction of the wind farm. Time frame 2020-H1 2021.
  • Preparation of an environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the onshore facilities. Time frame: 2020- H2 2021.
  • After the tender deadline in 2021, when the offshore wind farm concession winner is designated, the concession winner must carry out an environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the concrete offshore project design. A construction permit, including the environmental permit, can only be granted if the EIA is approved by the DEA following a public consultation. Time frame: 2022-24.

The DEA is the responsible authority for the SEA of the
Thor offshore wind farm while the EPA is the responsible authority for the EIA of the onshore project. The DEA, EPA and Energinet have agreed on a coordinated consultation process through the Danish Energy Agency.

The EIA process for the onshore facility has been started early on so that Energinet can be issued a permit to start construction and to ensure that the grid connection is ready prior to the wind farm. A public hearing was held in April-May to allow interested parties to submit questions and comments on material concerning the idea phase for the SEA and onshore EIA. A total of 66 responses were received.

On 18th August the EPA submitted a note on the delimitation of the content of the forthcoming environmental impact reports. The onshore EIA will include statutory topics as well as addressing issues raised during the consultation. Raised issues included potentially moving the onshore route, visual and noise impacts, traffic disruption, impacts to agriculture and effects to the environment. The onshore EIA process is expected to conclude in H1 2021 and a permit is expected to be awarded to Energinet in H2 2021.

With the tender process working in parallel to the environmental assessments, the DEA plan to publish a Contract Notice outlining the tender terms and conditions as well as the pre-qualification (PPQ) material (draft concession agreement, draft licenses, etc.) before the end of this quarter. The PPQ phase will then kick off in Q4 2020. The winner of the tender will be decided in Q4 2021 and the project will be completely finished by the end of 2027.

This story was first reported exclusively for 4C Offshore subscribers. For more information, click here. For more information on offshore wind farms worldwide, click here.

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