The Crown Estate set to explore the award of rights for an extension to Thanet offshore wind farm

The Crown Estate has received a request from Vattenfall to explore the award of rights for an extension to its 300MW Thanet Offshore Wind Farm.

Previous examples at Kentish Flats, Greater Gabbard, Walney and Burbo Bank, all either under construction or operation, have proven the model of extensions to be successful.

Thanet wind farm is located approximately 12km off Foreness Point, Margate, and the most eastern part of Kent.

The wind farm has been operational since 2010 and consists of 100 Vestas V90 3MW wind turbines. It has a combined maximum installed capacity of 300MW. At the time of its construction it was the largest offshore wind farm in the world.

Thanet’s sister wind farm, Kentish Flats Wind Farm, is situated close by and operates out of Whitstable Harbour.

Seabed rights

Given the limited potential for similar requests, and the specific nature of extensions being in close proximity to the original operating wind farm, The Crown Estate has elected to follow a bi-lateral application process ahead of any award of seabed rights.

Will Apps, the portfolio manager for offshore energy development at The Crown Estate said: ‘We recognise that in a small number of instances there may be the potential for extensions to offshore wind farms which our customers may wish to explore.

‘Subject to our application process and receiving all the relevant statutory approvals, such projects represent an efficient use of the seabed and would continue to strengthen the UK’s offshore wind pipeline.’

Wind farm criteria

The Crown Estate proposes to consider any formal applications against the following criteria:

  1. The wind farm to be extended must be constructed and fully operational at the date of the formal application.
  2. The capacity in megawatts of the extension must not exceed that of the existing wind farm.
  3. The site of the extension must share a boundary with the site of the existing wind farm.
  4. The application must be from the tenant of the existing wind farm.
  5. Other than the site of the existing wind farm, the site of the extension must not encroach within a radius of 5km of the site of any other wind farm unless agreed with the other tenant.

Any significant development, such as an offshore wind farm, must also undertake statutory environmental impact assessments and be awarded planning consent before it can go ahead.

A formal notice describing this approach has been posted on The Crown Estate’s website.

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) continues to monitor the developments in Round 3 wind farms and Round 2 extensions in order to assess their potential impact.

A spokesman said: ‘Our intent is to ensure that developers fully understand, and take account of, recreational boating activity and we meet regularly with all the developers to discuss navigational safety.’