The UK government has granted planning consent for the Norfolk Vanguard wind farm, developer Vattenfall confirmed.
The UK Government has awarded planning consent for Vattenfall’s 1.8-gigawatt (GW) Norfolk Vanguard wind farm, located around 30 miles off the East Anglian coast, north east of Great Yarmouth.
The government intervened last year to overturn a decision that would have led to further delays to the project.
The approval also completes the consenting process for the wider 3.6GW Norfolk Offshore Wind Farm Zone, which has permitting for between 180 and 312 turbines across an area of around 500 square miles. It matches the size and scale of the Dogger Bank offshore wind scheme, currently being built by Equinor and SSE – the largest such development in the world.
Vattenfall says the two projects will produce enough electricity annually to power the equivalent of 3.9million UK homes. First power from the zone is expected in the mid-2020s.
The zone includes Vanguard’s sister wind project Norfolk Boreas which was approved in December 2021, despite facing some local opposition.
More than 80 parish councils across Norfolk banding together in objection over concerns to the environment, towns and villages as underground cable works got underway. The RSPB also voiced concerns over the wind farms impact on local birdlife.
Current plans will see a cable run from a landing point near Happisburgh, and run around 37 miles to Necton substation, east of Swaffham.
Vattenfall says the projects will provide a £15 million community benefit fund to Norfolk, and bring wider opportunities for investment in skills and the local supply chain.
It says UK industry plans would see 70,000 jobs created by 2026, 10% of which would be in the East of England.
Vattenfall’s UK country manager Danielle Lane said: “Today is a major step forward for a project that will help to unlock the huge potential of offshore wind for the UK. We’re committed to making sure that these projects bring real, lasting benefit to the East of England – with jobs, supply chain and skills investment throughout construction and operation.”
“We’ll be working even more closely now with local communities as we begin to take the project towards construction. This will include preparatory works on the ground, but also work with our local partners to make sure we get our plans absolutely right to maximise benefits to the region.”
RenewableUK chief executive Dan McGrail welcomed the project’s approval, commenting: “Today’s decision secures significant investment in much-needed new energy infrastructure at a time when we need to speed up the transition away from expensive fossil fuels to cheap domestic sources of clean energy.
“Building this major project will generate enormous economic benefits for East Anglia, creating high-quality jobs in our world-class offshore wind industry and the wider supply chain nationwide.”