The developers of the East Anglia offshore wind zone show every sign of moving without delay toward a second phase of development, with news that leading environmental consultancy, Royal Haskoning DHV, will oversee environmental impact assessment (EIA) work for the zone's second and third wind farms.
The contract announcement comes just weeks after news that East Anglia Offshore Wind (EAOW) submitted a consent application for an initial 1.2GW project.
An application to proceed with the project known as East Anglia One was submitted to the UK Planning Inspectorate late last year, "We were delighted to receive validation from the Planning Inspectorate in mid-December. We certainly didn't assume that validation was a foregone conclusion," an EAOW spokesperson told Windpower Offshore. Validation marks an application's formal entry into the UK develoment consent process.
Now, work begins in earnest on a second consent application for two further projects of up to 1.2GW each – known as East Anglia Three and Four (East Anglia Two will be developed at a later stage) – with submission scheduled for summer 2014.
The East Anglia zone as a whole has been earmarked for more than 7GW of offshore wind capacity by UK seabed owner, the Crown Estate. EAOW - which is a joint venture between Scottish Power Renewables and Vattenfall - envisages the construction of up to six wind farms within the area, which lies off England's Suffolk and Norfolk coasts.
The choice of Royal Haskoning DHV for EIA leadership is not surprising, since the consultancy is well known for its technical expertise in coastal environments and has a strong record in EIA for UK offshore wind projects.
"This appointment means that Royal Haskoning DHV is currently working on four of the nine Round 3 Zones and builds upon our strong track record, including the recent consent for the 560MW Dudgeon offshore wind farm," said project manager Paolo Pizzolla, commenting on the contract win.
Royal Haskoning DHV will coordinate a wide range of studies, including geophysical and aerial ornithological surveys and consultation with local fisheries.
Also announced recently was a three-year oceanographic assessment contract awarded to East Anglia-based Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas). Cefas will install and operate buoys and seabed 'mini-landers' in order to measure wave height, period, direction, water depth and suspended sediment. "The combined datasets will... provide an in-depth oceanographic assessment of the development zone," says Cefas.