Offshore Windfarms Set To Reach New Levels

The 2,400MW Dogger Bank Creyke Beck offshore windfarm, the world’s largest, has been given the go ahead.
Published: Tue 24 Feb 2015

The United Kingdom has been a pioneer in offshore wind development and with a total installed capacity of 4,494MW at the end of 2014, has more than the rest of the world combined. [Engerati-Europe’s Offshore Wind Market Levels Off]

The 630MW London Array located 20km off the Kent coast in the outer Thames Estuary is the largest of these developments to date. But it is set to be exceeded by the massive 2,400MW Dogger Bank Creyke Beck development off Yorkshire’s coast, for which planning consent has just been given.

Dogger Bank Creyke Beck

The Dogger Bank Creyke Beck development is under way by the Forewind consortium comprised of RWE Innogy, the renewable energy development arm of German energy company RWE, British energy company SSE, and Statkraft and Statoil, respectively Norway’s state-owned electricity and oil companies.

The project, with a probable cost of between £6 billion to £8 billion, will include up to 400 wind turbines in two windfarms, Dogger Bank Creyke Beck A and B. Each will have a capacity of 1,200MW, located (at their closest) approximately 130km to the northeast of the East Riding of Yorkshire’s coast. Zone A has an area of 515km2 and zone B to its northwest an area of 599km2. These will connect to the existing Creyke Beck substation near Cottingham in Yorkshire, via a landfall at Fraisthorpe.

“This development has the potential to support hundreds of green jobs and power up to 2 million homes,” said Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey, announcing the granting of consent.

In addition to the wind turbines, the planning consent covers two offshore high voltage direct current (HVDC) converter platforms, up to eight offshore collector platforms, up to four offshore accommodation or helicopter platforms and up to 10 offshore meteorological monitoring stations, all with fixed foundations, and the offshore and onshore cabling and other requisite infrastructure.

“Achieving consent for what is currently the world’s largest offshore wind project in development is a major achievement for Forewind and will help confirm the UK’s position as the world leader in the industry,” said Forewind general manager Tarald Gjerde.

The project is expected to create up to 4,750 jobs and generate more than £1.5 billion for the UK economy.

Second largest UK power generator

When completed, Dogger Bank Creyke Beck is expected to be one of UK’s largest power generators, second only to the 3.9GW Drax coal-fired station in North Yorkshire and the same size as the 2.4GW Longannet coal-fired station in Fife. Its annual output is expected to be around 8TWh (based on the possibly optimistic capacity factor of 40%).

The development has been welcomed by the industry, with RenewableUK’s director of Offshore Renewables, Nick Medic, describing it as “an awesome project”. “It will surely be considered as one of the most significant infrastructure projects ever undertaken by the wind industry,” he said. “It is a project that pushes the offshore engineering envelope – demonstrating how far this technology has evolved in the ten short years since the first major offshore wind farm was installed in North Hoyle just 5 miles from shore.”

However, John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, has criticized the high level of subsidies these projects will attract. In a March 2013 analysis he estimated that subsidies for the Round 3 projects could amount to around £6 billion annually. According to the Daily Mail newspaper, he has estimated the subsidies that Dogger Bank Creyke Beck could receive at £700 million per year, recovering its cost in little more than 10 years. [see also Engerati-Is the UK Full of Wind?]

Dogger Bank Teesside

The Dogger Bank zone is the largest of the so-called ‘Round 3’ offshore wind development zones designated by the UK government, with its suitability due to its relative shallowness, high wind speeds and appropriate seabed conditions. With an area of 8,660km2 and extending at its furthest 290km offshore, its estimated potential is 4GW in water depths less than 30m and 8GW in less than 35m water depths.

In addition to Dogger Bank Creyke Beck, Forewind is pursuing a second development in the zone named Dogger Bank Teesside, which is proposed to comprise a further four windfarms with capacities up to 1,200MW each. The first stage, Dogger Bank Teesside A & B, to the east of Dogger Bank Creyke Beck, is undergoing consenting, with a decision expected during quarter 3. The second stage, Dogger Bank Teesside C & D, in the north of the zone, is under consultation and an application for consent is expected to be submitted in Q1 2016 with a decision following in Q3 of 2017. The Teesside developments would connect to the national grid at Middlesbrough on Teesside.

Round 3 wind developments

The Round 3 offshore wind developments are the third round of site allocations and of bigger scale than the earlier rounds. Rounds 1 and 2 allocated 8GW of sites, while Round 3 is expected to provide up to 26GW.

Dogger Bank Creyke Beck is the sixth Round 3 project to be consented. Applications for a further three projects have been submitted.