Permission has been granted for two huge new offshore wind farms to be built off the Norfolk coast in a development that it is hoped will provide a 'huge boost' to the country's economy.
Alok Sharma, the Business Secretary, gave the Norfolk Vanguard project the go-ahead this week and said he was inclined to approve the proposal for the Hornsea 3 project towards the end of this year.
The Norfolk Vanguard wind farm will have 1.8GW of capacity and be operated by Vattenfall around 40 miles off the coast. The second Hornsea 3 project will have 2.4 GW of renewable energy and be developed by Orsted. This would extend the existing Hornsea 1 and 2 projects and provide clean power to nearly 4m homes in the UK.
The CEO of Renewable UK, Huge McNeal, said that these types of large clean energy project were a key means of getting the UK's economy operating again after the lockdown. He also said that they would help Britain to retain its leading global position in offshore wind energy and to further build the country's supply chain.
Thousands of extra jobs will also be created as a result of the projects, including apprenticeship roles to encourage skills development in this emerging industry. The government has faced increasing pressure to further invest in the UK's green energy industries to help boost the economy after the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Vanguard project approval also gave the renewables industry a positive indicator that the government is ready to move ahead with its commitments to a low-carbon economy after it pushed back on the Vattenfall Norfolk Boreas project by five months. At the time, Vattenfall described the pause on approval as 'regrettable' and warned that it would send out negative signals to the industry and hamper further investment.