Plans to build the world’s single largest offshore wind farm off the Norfolk coast have been given the go-ahead after spiralling costs cast doubt over its future last year.Energy giant Orsted said it will proceed with the £8bn Hornsea 3 project – 75 miles from Cromer – which the company said will generate power for three million homes by 2027.
The announcement is a major boost for the government’s net zero plans, after the Danish firm threatened to cancel the project due to soaring inflation.It also comes after rival Vattenfall stopped work on one of their own developments off the Norfolk coast.
Orsted decided to press ahead following negotiations with governments that will mean higher bills for consumers.The Hornsea 3 scheme will see 231 offshore turbines built off the coast of Norfolk, with a total capacity of 2.9 GW – more than double the world’s current largest wind farm, Hornsea 2, which is in the same cluster site.The project will support up to 5,000 jobs during its construction phase, with up to a further 1,200 permanent jobs both directly and in the supply chain while the farm is operational.
Cables will bring power from the farm ashore close to Weybourne.
Duncan Clark, head of Orsted UK and Ireland, said: “Hornsea 3 will be a cornerstone in achieving the UK government’s climate and clean energy targets while increasing energy independence and creating local jobs.
“Our decision to build Hornsea 3 is a vote of confidence in the UK market for offshore wind, as we continue to invest significantly in UK clean energy infrastructure and in the UK supply chain.”The next largest, Hornsea 1, is also off the Norfolk coast, boasting 174 turbines and a capacity of 1.2 GW.
While Hornsea 3 is set to hold the title for the world’s largest single offshore wind farm, the overall cluster falls just short of the Dogger Bank wind farm, where three adjacent sites have a combined capacity of 3.6GW.WIND WOES AND HIGHER BILLS
The wind industry has been hit hard by inflation, with soaring steel prices and higher wages.
Prices for their energy are also agreed in advance, with many projects in development now stuck on unprofitable rates.
Orsted had been in talks with the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero about securing more generous subsidy arrangements for Hornsea 3.
The company has decided to go ahead with the scheme after it confirmed it has reached a deal over its future pricing arrangements.
This will see it ditch part of the contract it secured from the government last year to supply power from the project at a record low price to consumers.
It now plans to seek a new contract at a higher price in respect of a quarter of the wind farm after the government confirmed that more generous contracts would be on offer next year.