A nine-week public consultation on proposals for the expansion of Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, which could power over one million homes1 in the UK and reduce carbon emissions by around 1.8 million tonnes2 per year, opened today at Rampion2.com [14 July to 16 September].
An ‘Area of Search’ eight miles off the Sussex coast has been assessed by renewable energy producer RWE for a maximum of up to 116 turbines, the same number as the existing Rampion Wind Farm but using the latest turbine technology, so that the Rampion 2 Wind Farm could create up to three times the amount of power. An underground cable route is proposed to carry the power under Climping Beach to Bolney Substation in Twineham, to connect to the National Grid via a new substation required close by.
“We encourage people in Sussex to visit Rampion2.com, where you can take a tour around a virtual exhibition, explore our detailed proposals with maps and videos, sign up to attend a public forum with the project team, and complete our questionnaire,” said Chris Tomlinson, Development & Stakeholder Manager, Rampion 2, RWE.
Technical and environmental surveys and a four-week informal consultation earlier this year have helped to establish the proposed cable route, undergrounding the cables in short sections. Directional drilling would take them under Climping Beach, railways, major roads such as the A27, the River Arun, Washington Recreation Ground and other key areas, to minimise environmental impacts and disruption to local communities.
Rampion is committed to full reinstatement of the land, so that it is returned to its former state or better along the whole cable route and the successful reinstatement of the Rampion 1 cable route demonstrates this commitment. Since January, possible sites for the new substation have been reduced from three to two in the Twineham area following further development work and consultation with the local community.
Continued Chris Tomlinson, “We will consider all the consultation feedback alongside the results of technical and environmental surveys, to further refine our proposals and select construction methodologies and environmental mitigations that reduce impacts to a minimum. We will submit our final proposals to the Planning Inspectorate for examination in early 2022.
“Rampion 2 is the only wind farm proposal off the UK’s south coast, where much of the country’s energy demand is. Should the project achieve consent, construction could start around 2025/26 with the wind farm fully operational before the end of the decade, contributing to Government targets to secure clean, green energy supplies and tackle climate change.”
Discussions with local authorities, MPs, parish councils and experts on wildlife, environment, transport, geology, archaeology, business and fishing will continue throughout the consultation and beyond.
UK wind energy context:
The cost of offshore wind has halved in just two to three years and is now cheaper than nuclear and coal, while the industry is creating tens of thousands of jobs nationwide. The UK leads the world in offshore wind and the Government is committed to quadrupling offshore wind capacity to 40 gigawatts (GW) by 2030. Rampion 2 can make a major contribution to this target.
Rampion 2 is being developed by RWE, one of the UK’s most established and experienced renewable energy producers, RWE is one of the globally leading companies in offshore wind and a world leader in renewable energy production. It is developing the project on behalf of a joint venture company including a Macquarie-led consortium (comprising Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 5, the Green Investment Group and the Universities Superannuation Scheme) and a subsidiary of Enbridge Inc. (a leading North American energy infrastructure company). Together with owners of the existing Rampion offshore Wind Farm they have signed an Agreement for Lease with The Crown Estate (managers of the seabed) securing an option to develop on the site.
1 based on an average annual domestic household electricity consumption of 3,618 kWh (BEIS, Dec 2019)
2 the calculation made using a static figure of 446g/kWh representing the energy mix in the UK (BEIS, July 2020)