The world’s fifth largest wind farm situated just eight miles off the coast of North Wales could get much bigger if plans are approved over 100 wind turbines at the proposed Awel y Môr  have been revealed

The first steps of formal planning proceedings have been taken by the operators of the Gwynt y Môr offshore windfarm for huge extension to be situated alongside.

A ‘Scoping Report’ has been submitted to local authorities in North Wales including Flintshire County Council, it outlines plans to construct another 100 wind turbines to add to the existing 576 megawatt wind farm.

Gwynt y Môr is operated by the UK subsidiary of German owned energy company innogy along with partners Stadtwerke München, Siemens and UK Green Investment bank, the site is leased from the Crown Estate.

Completed in 2015, the wind farm consists of 160 turbines, each 150 metres high and spread over 28 square miles of Irish Sea off the coast of Prestatyn, it is serviced from The Port of Mostyn in Flintshire.
The proposed extension named Awel y Môr is one of seven offshore wind farm extensions selected by the Crown Estate to progress towards development.

The project would see a further 107 turbine constructed, they would provide a ‘significant contribution’ to Welsh Government target of 70 percent of electricity generated from renewables by 2030, according to the submitted documents.

The scoping document goes onto to say: “Extension projects, such as this, are considered to represent a significant opportunity for cost reduction in offshore wind through the benefits of existing infrastructure, technical expertise and experience on site; and existing datasets and environmental studies.”

Early feasibility for Awel y Môr is underway ‘at the time of writing and therefore some project details are yet to be confirmed’ but initial details state, the project could consist of up to 107 turbines situated to the west of the operational Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm.

The document says: “It is expected that there would be a number of inter-array cables, up to two export cables and up to two offshore substation
platforms.

It is anticipated that the connection to the National Grid would be at Bodelwyddan in Denbighshire.

The export cables would be installed (underground) between the landfall and the grid connection point.

There are currently several options being explored for the landfall and onshore cable route, the landfall point is therefore yet to be determined.”

A new Awel y Môr onshore substation will be needed and is likely to be constructed near to the National Grid’s existing substation at Bodelwyddan.

“A Site Selection Study is currently being undertaken to identify the preferred cable route and Awel y Môr substation location.” The doucment states.

Further details of this study are provided within this Scoping Report.

Consultation is already underway with key stakeholders and public consultation will also be undertaken “which will help inform the development of the project.”

A number of potential environmental impacts are considered within this Scoping Report.

“The identification of impacts within this Scoping Report has been based upon an understanding of the environmental conditions likely to be encountered within
Awel y Môr OWF, utilising information that has been gained from the construction and operation of the Gwynt y Môr OWF and other publicly available data sources.”

The purpose of the Scoping Report is to begin the Development Consent Order (DCO) the means of obtaining permission for developments categorised as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects and and Marine Licence processes.

According to 4C Offshore, a consultancy and market research organisation, an inception meeting was held earlier this year between the Planning Inspectorate and innogy’s developer company, Awel y Môr Offshore Wind Farm Limited, outlining the proposed planning schedule:
-Scoping/HRA expected March 2020.
-Consultation on transmission infrastructure siting options expected Q2 2020.
-Offshore geophysical surveys will commence later in 2020.
-Statutory consultation expected to take place Q3/Q4 2021.
-DCO application submission in Q2 2022.
-DCO application decision expect Q3 2023.
-Fully operational by 2030.

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