THANET OFFSHORE WIND FARM

THANET OFFSHORE WIND FARM
Thanet Offshore Wind Limited
Thanet Offshore Wind Limited (TOW), a subsidiary of Warwick Energy Limited (WEL), was created to develop opportunities for energy generation from renewable resources in the Thanet area . TOW has been awarded the rights to develop an offshore wind farm in the Thames Estuary Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) area by The Crown Estate under Round Two of the offshore wind licensing arrangements . This is subject to TOW being successful in gaining the necessary consents for construction and operation of the wind farm.

Thanet Offshore Wind Farm – Project Details
The Thanet Offshore Wind Farm (Thanet) project is located 11.3km offshore from Foreness Point, the eastern most part of the Kent coastline. Between 60 and 100 wind turbines would make up the wind farm, depending upon the size of turbine chosen and based on a maximum output of 300MW. This is enough to provide electricity for 240,000 average homes, which will account for a significant proportion of the energy needs of East Kent .
The maximum height of the turbines would be up to 150m (approx 500 feet) from sea level to the blade tip in the vertically up position and the minimum clearance would be 22m (approx 70 feet) to the blade tip in the vertically down position. The spacing between turbines would be a minimum of 450m (approx 1,500 feet).
The turbine nacelle, or hub, complete with three blades would be mounted upon a cylindrical steel tower, which would in turn be supported by a foundation fixed to the seabed. A number of different foundation types were considered for the Thanet project. Given the seabed conditions, water depth and environmental conditions at the site, it was considered that either monopiles or gravity base structures (GBS) would be the most likely alternatives. The wind farm would also include an anemometry mast to collect data on wind speed and direction data.
The turbines would be interconnected by a buried 33kV cable network and connected to an offshore substation platform where the voltage is stepped up to 132kV. Electricity would be transferred to shore by two export cables, which would be routed to a landfall point in the northern part of PegwellBay . The cables would be buried to a depth of between 1m and 3m depending on localised seabed conditions. Cable installation would most likely require a bespoke cable plough, which minimises disturbance to the seabed by cutting a narrow trench little wider than the cable itself, whilst consecutively laying the cable and pushing the sediments back into place. Grid connection would be made via cables buried under the A256 Sandwich Road to the existing substation at the disused Richborough Power Station, from where power would be distributed via the existing local electricity network.
The wind farm would have an operational life of 40 years after which it would be decommissioned. A full Decommissioning Plan would be agreed prior to construction and would include for the complete removal of all offshore structures above seabed level. It is anticipated that the cables would be disconnected and left buried, with notification that they are disused, as is currently common practice. Regular servicing of the turbines will take place during the operational life of the project, and this would probably carried out from a service base located at Ramsgate.
The Need for Renewable Energy
The central aim of the UK Government’s energy policy is to establish a supply of energy that is diverse, sustainable and secure and is offered at competitive prices. Key to this goal is a 60% reduction of CO 2 emissions by 2050. The development of renewable energy plays a key role in the Government’s strategy for carbon reduction. In particular, it has set a target that 10% of the UK ‘s electricity supply should come from renewable sources by 2010. This has subsequently been revised to 15% by 2015, and the Government has an aspiration of increasing this further to 20% by 2020. The Government’s targets for renewable energy will help the UK to meet its international obligations, but also obtain greater security of energy supply through the promotion of indigenous electricity generation.
The development of the Thanet project would help the UK move towards its goals by reducing emissions of CO 2 by approximately 36 million tonnes over its 40 year lifetime, when compared to generating the equivalent electricity from a coal fired power station.
REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS AND THE EIA PROCESS
Regulatory Consents
A number of regulatory consents are required for the construction and operation of the Thanet project. The Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Offshore Renewable Consents Unit (ORCU) is leading the consents process.
TOW is applying for the following key consents:

• Consent under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 to construct and operate the offshore wind farm, including all ancillary infrastructure.

• Licence under section 5 of the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 to deposit materials such as the turbine foundations and the buried cables, on the seabed. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (defra), which takes responsibility for protecting marine ecosystems, will make the decision on this.

• Consent under section 34 of the Coast Protection Acct 1989 to construct and operate the offshore wind farm, including all ancillary infrastructure.

• Licence under section 5 of the Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 to deposit materials such as the turbine foundations and the buried cables, on the seabed. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (defra), which takes responsibility for protecting marine ecosystems, will make the decision on this.

• Consent under section 34 of the Coast Protection Act 1949 in order to make provision for the safety of navigation in relation to the export cables.

• Deemed planning permission under section 90 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 , sought as part of the section 36 application, for the onshore elements of the works.

In addition, the extinguishment of public rights of navigation will be requested under the Energy Act 2004 for the areas of seabed directly covered by the offshore structures comprising the turbines, offshore substation and anemometry mast. Safety Zones of up to 500m around all structures will also be requested, which would limit the activities of certain vessels within this area. The exact requirements for Safety Zones will depend on the phase of the project and the activity involved. This is to ensure the safety of life at sea.

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