Equinor launches Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon extension consultations

In: Windfarms

Equinor has launched a community consultation to seek local views on plans to extend its existing wind farms off the Norfolk coast.

The company currently operates two wind farms from Norfolk,
Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon, and through its employees, supply chain and community funds has been present in the community for close to a decade.

Called the
Sheringham and Dudgeon Extension projects (collectively called Extension Projects), these new wind farms will be built adjacent to the existing wind farms, bringing the total capacity up to 1.44 GW, enough renewable energy to power one and a half million UK homes.

Cables from the Extension Projects will come ashore at Weybourne, before being installed in a trench heading south towards a new onshore substation near to the existing National Grid Norwich Main Substation.

This first phase of community consultation runs from today (9th July) until 20th August 2020. In particular, feedback is being sought regarding the location of the site for the onshore substation, the route to be taken by the underground onshore cables and any lessons that can be taken from the earlier construction of both
Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon.  

Equinor has published a Statement of Community Consultation (SoCC), which sets out how the company will be engaging with the local Norfolk community to ensure that they can provide comments and feedback on the plans as they develop.

Additionally, over 9,000 properties within 1 km of the proposed onshore cable corridor search area from Weybourne to the Norwich Main substation, south of Norwich, have been mailed a community consultation leaflet and feedback form. In parallel, the company is consulting with landowners within the indicative survey area.

“It’s really important to us to hear from the community at this early stage of the project, so that we can consider feedback from the local people as the projects develop”,
said Kari Hege Mørk, project manager at Equinor.

“It’s a challenging time to engage as we can’t physically meet in person but we hope that the materials we have provided, including our virtual exhibition space, will give people enough information to be able to comment on our onshore plans. We’ve also got lots of channels of communication open if people have further queries, and we really encourage anyone who has an interest in the project to have a look.

“One area we’re specifically looking for input on is to help us inform the criteria for the site selection of the onshore substation area, close to the Norwich Main substation, as well as feedback to assist us in refining the detail of the onshore cable route from Weybourne to the substation site.”

On completion of this first phase of community consultation, Equinor will compile and publish a report summarising the feedback received and how this is being considered.

Both Extension Projects are classed as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) which means Equinor will apply for a Development Consent Order from the Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy.

A second phase of community consultation will be held in Spring 2021 when the company will be presenting its refined plans, inviting comments to its Preliminary Environmental Report (PEIR) and providing additional information, including visualisations of what the Extension Projects will look like onshore and from the coast.

Equinor intends to submit its Development Consent Order application by the end of 2021.

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