United Kingdom

United Kingdom

Permitting looms for 3GW at Hornsea

Developer confirms consent application timing for 4 projects

A consent application for 1.2GW of offshore wind capacity within the Hornsea zone will be submitted this summer, developer SMart Wind has confirmed. A second application for a further 1.8GW will go before UK permitting authorities next year.

This schedule largely fits with a timetable outlined by Windpower Offshore earlier this year.

The 3GW of proposed capacity will comprise four distinct wind farms: Heron Wind, Njord, Optimus Wind and Breesea. The first two projects are jointly owned by Mainstream Renewable Power, Siemens Financial Services and Dong Energy, with each party holding a third of each project.

The second phase projects, Optimus Wind and Breesea, are owned jointly by Mainstream Renewable Power and Siemens Financial Services, with each holding a 50% stake. The two companies formed SMart Wind, through which they will develop the Hornsea zone. Dong has since bought a stake in the first two projects.

Commenting on plans for Hornsea's first two phases, SMart Wind general manager, Barry Hopkins, said: "This is a great milestone for SMart Wind and the Hornsea Zone. With Heron Wind and Njord due to be submitted for planning this summer we are now focused on taking Optimus Wind and Breesea successfully through to the Planning Inspectorate next year.

It is not yet clear whether Mainstream will seek to retain a stake in any of the projects through the construction phase. It may choose to exit as each wind farm reaches financial close. This is an approach that has ben taken by other successful, but smaller offshore wind developers, such as Warwick Energy. Or Mainstream could seek to hold onto a minority stake through construction and operation, as WPD Offshore has done with Butendiek.

Mainstream is also developing the 450MW Neart na Gaoithe project in Scottish waters. Having submitted a consent application last summer, it hopes to receive a final regulatory decision from the Scottish government late this year.

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