“We are now fast approaching the completion of the Rampion project, the south coast’s first offshore wind farm, which gives us the chance to look back at the last eight years of development and construction and thank all those people who helped make it happen.
“Due to popular demand and before winter is upon us, we wanted to offer as many of the community representatives and local organisations who contributed to this mighty project, the opportunity to visit the site and see just how impressive it really is. We’re delighted that so many people could join us to view the wind farm which will power the equivalent of half the homes in Sussex every year, for the next 25 years.” Chris Tomlinson, Development and Stakeholder Manager for the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm
- Liaison with the Sussex community began in 2010 when students from Davison High School for Girls in Worthing won a competition, chosen from a shortlist via public vote, to name the wind farm after the county flower of Sussex, which grows locally on the South Downs.
- Over the next two years, the team carried out engineering and environmental surveys and engaged with the Sussex community to help formulate early draft proposals.
- During 2012, formal consultation took place with 14 public exhibitions held across the county, attended by over 4,500 people, all which helped shape the final project, which achieved planning consent in July 2014.
- An exciting discovery of late Anglo Saxon remains were uncovered by on-site archaeologists along the onshore cable route in 2015. Specialist osteological assessment and radiocarbon dating later indicated the 1,000-year-old skeleton to be an execution killing from around 1010-1025 AD.
- Work began offshore in autumn 2015 to prepare the seabed for the turbine foundations, the first of which was installed early 2016, with all 116 foundations completed by November 2016.
- Two World War II bombs were discovered off Lancing beach in 2016 and controlled detonations were required to dispose of the devices safely.
- Hundreds of meetings with local people helped ensure construction reduced the impact on residents, businesses, fishing fleets and ecology, as far as possible. Care has been taken to make sure the National Park chalk grassland, hedgerows and other flora and fauna is restored to its original state, work which will continue to be monitored over the next 10 years. Offshore, piling work avoided fish breeding seasons and ‘soft start’ techniques were utilised to minimise the impact on marine life.
- April 2017 saw the immobilisation of an excavator on Lancing Beach, affectionately known locally as ‘Moby Dig’. A floating crane vessel was required to remove the digger from site.
- Following high interest in the project, Rampion funded telescopes began to appear along the Sussex coast during summer 2017, providing visitors and residents alike a free grandstand view of the wind farm.
- Turbine installation began in March 2017 and was completed in just over 6 months, ahead of schedule.
- First generation of electricity was achieved in November 2017 as the first turbine was brought online. Over the coming months all turbines were turned on one-by-one, with all turbines able to generate clean power by spring 2018, adding to the UK’s growing renewable fleet.
- The Rampion Community Fund was also launched in November 2017 when £100,000 was donated across the four RNLI stations surrounding the wind farm. The £3.1 million Rampion Fund is being independently managed by Sussex Community Foundation to support local community groups, charities and not-for- profit organisations, with many projects already supported.
- The Newhaven Operations and Maintenance Base was officially opened in May 2018 by Maria Caufield MP and is now home to the 60-strong team who are tasked with the efficient running of the wind farm.
- The site has appointed seven wind farm technician apprentices and has hosted both undergraduate and graduate engineering placements.
- A visitor centre is due to open on Brighton seafront next year when Rampion will begin to engage with schools in Sussex to give students the opportunity to visit the centre to support their studies.
- The 400MW Rampion project is the first offshore wind farm off the UK’s south coast. The site is due to be completed by the end of 2018 and final activities will continue over the next few months.
- The site is owned by E.ON, UK Green Investment Rampion Ltd and Enbridge and will provide enough electricity to supply almost 350,000 homes a year, equivalent to around half the homes in Sussex and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 600,000 tonnes a year.