The Crown Estate has signed agreements for lease (AfL) for six proposed offshore wind farm extensions in the waters around England and Wales totalling 2800 MW.

AfL’s have been granted for extensions to the existing Sheringham Shoal, Dudgeon, Gwynt y Mor, Galloper, Greater Gabbard and Rampion projects.

The Crown Estate said the six project AfLs come in addition to the one for the proposed extension to Thanet offshore wind farm, announced previously.

It said each proposal had successfully progressed through the plan level Habitats Regulations Assessment stage, which assesses the possible impact of the proposed wind farm extensions on relevant nature conservation sites of European importance.

Developers will now be focussed on environmental assessments and surveys, before seeking planning consent through the statutory planning process and securing connections to the grid, The Crown Estate added.

The Gwynt y Mor extension is called Awel y Mor and is located off the coast of North Wales in the Irish Sea.

Its capacity will be up to 576 MW of which RWE owns 60%, with Stadtwerke Munchen (30%) and Siemens Financial Services (10%) owning the remainder.

RWE has formed a 50:50 joint venture with SSE Renewables to develop the 504 MW Greater Gabbard extension, which is now called North Falls.

Rampion 2 has a potential capacity of up to 1.2 GW of which RWE’s share is 50.01%, with a Macquarie-led consortium and Enbridge also part of the development’s joint venture.

RWE said it has also decided to seek to develop the remaining seabed option at the original Zone Six of the existing Rampion project and combine this with the extension project at the wind farm.

The 353 MW Galloper extension is called Five Estuaries, with development lead by RWE.

Equinor is developing the up to 719 MW Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon extensions.

The Crown Estate head of energy development Will Apps said: “Reaching this stage marks an important milestone in the UK portfolio, demonstrating strong market appetite and further strengthening the UK offshore wind pipeline.

“Extensions projects offer a valuable way of enabling new, low cost offshore wind capacity, making efficient use of our world-class seabed resources and building on developers’ existing project knowledge and infrastructure.

“Each project has the potential to play a vital role in supporting the nation’s clean energy transition and we look forward to following their progress as they move through the planning process.”

RWE said that all the project extensions the company is involved with are at very early stages.

It said necessary development and consenting activities will now progress in accordance with current UK Government guidelines, which will include comprehensive stakeholder consultation and determining each project’s exact installed capacity.

The consenting processes are expected to take three to five years, with the wind farms slated to become fully operational towards the end of the decade.

RWE Renewables chief commercial officer Tom Glover said: “RWE looks back on many years of experience in the UK offshore wind industry, working hand in hand with the communities where our renewables projects are located.

“I expect the four offshore wind extension projects to bring significant benefits to the UK energy infrastructure and economy.

“They present a potential multi-billion pound investment and could grow the local supply chain as well as lead to the creation of hundreds of jobs.”

SSE Renewables director of capital projects Paul Cooley said: “North Falls offshore wind farm will build on the successful offshore wind legacy in the East of England.

“We’re looking forward to working with RWE Renewables to create more clean energy, create more jobs and move towards a net zero future.”

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