Working with the development consortium Forewind, Royal HaskoningDHV successfully achieved consenting success for four offshore wind farms in the Dogger Bank Zone in 2015. At the time, this was the largest number of projects to be awarded consent within a similar timeframe and was also potentially the largest offshore wind project in the world. Subsequently, a joint venture between SSE and Equinor has formed to take forward three of the offshore wind farms, collectively referred to as the Dogger Bank Wind Farms, with a capacity of up to 1.2GW each (3.6GW combined), accounting for approximately 4% of the UK’s electricity needs. The projects are far from shore, which represents a logistical challenge on many levels including the planning of environmental surveys, as well as the construction works themselves.
Having achieved consent, the projects have a number of conditions to comply with prior to the start of construction. These include the requirement for various plans, including, for example, an Ecological Management Plan, which sets out the principles for how the ecology of the onshore works areas will be safeguarded during the installation of the cables and construction of the onshore converter station. In addition, numerous surveys need to be planned and undertaken, with all of these activities supported by an extensive process of consultation with stakeholders.
Royal HaskoningDHV is currently working with the Dogger Bank Wind Farms to carry out discharge of conditions work on the first two of the projects to be taken forward, collectively known as Dogger Bank Creyke Beck, named after the point on the mainland at which the projects connect to the National Grid. This includes co-ordinating a programme of comprehensive surveys onshore and offshore, from the archaeology of onshore Iron Age sites and on the Dogger Bank itself, to traffic and transport considerations and ecology. The Royal HaskoningDHV team has an unparalleled level of technical expertise in this area, with a number of in-house specialists. These include ecologists, archaeologists, as well as transport and noise assessment experts to advise on the impact and management of the construction works.
Onshore construction must commence by March 2020, followed by the offshore works, with a large number of consent conditions needing to be discharged before this time. RoyalHaskoningDHV is working with the Dogger Bank Wind Farms to achieve this, using the company’s technical knowledge and expertise to reduce the risks in delivering these complex projects that require multi billion pound investments in order to be realised.