The fourth phase of one of Britain’s largest windfarms has been given approval for development this week, after a 5-month delay. Hornsea Four, just off the coast of Yorkshire, is expected to have 180 wind turbines and generate 2.6GW of power – enough to power 1 million homes.
The project, located in the North Sea, is the second largest windfarm to receive government approval. Hornsea Three, the largest, is currently still in development and will have an energy capacity of 2.8GW. Hornsea One and Two are fully operational and have a capacity of 1.2GW and 1.3GW.
The developers of the Hornsea project, Danish wind power organisation Ørsted, commented on the development, stating that the approval marked “the culmination of a rigorous process which ensures that the project can deliver clean energy for the UK.”
Energy Secretary, Grant Shapps, commented on the potential environmental impact of the development; whilst the impact will be low, the issues will be outweighed by “the urgent need for low-carbon energy infrastructure.”
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A spokesperson for Ørsted also added that they would seek full consent and support from the government before any projects are actioned. “Offshore wind projects such as Hornsea Four are key to the UK’s energy security and will bring billions of pounds of investment into the UK, provide low-cost electricity for consumers and thousands of high-quality jobs,” they add.
However, there are some that feel that the government has been too slow in its actions. Sam Richards, founder, and director of Britain Remade, a group campaigning for economic reform and stability, stated, “It is frankly ridiculous that it can take up to 13 years for an offshore windfarm to go from idea to generating power, when actually building the thing takes two years at most. Britain can be a clean energy superpower, but to achieve this we need to rapidly fix our broken planning system.”
He goes on to add, “If we want to be energy secure, if we want to slash energy bills and if we want to drive growth and create jobs, we have to speed up the time it takes to get major clean energy projects, like Hornsea Four, up and running.”
With the North Sea on its doorstep, the UK has access to huge areas of land and sea that are primely suited for wind farms. With this four-phase project finally being greenlit, the next step could be moving further up the North Sea and around Scotland to install windfarms that have a much higher capacity than Hornsea One to Four. These actions taken by the UK could spur on other nations who have access to suitable windfarm areas to implement something similar.