The project – which could eventually be the largest wind farm in the world – is being developed by Forewind, a consortium of RWE Innogy, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), and the Norwegian utilities Statoil and Statkraft.
Due to its sheer size, the zone will be developed in four stages – or tranches – with each tranche further split into three similar-sized projects.
The first tranche is located in the south-west section of the sandbank closest to land, between 125 and 180 km off the Yorkshire coast.
It covers an area of some 2000 km2 and has a water depth of up to 30m. Work is under way on identifying the exact location within Tranche A of the three individual wind farm projects, each with 1.4 GW of capacity.
Forewind has submitted a scoping report for project one to the UK's Infrastructure Planning Commission, seeking the IPC's opinion on its approach to development.
The project has already secured an offer from National Grid for connection into the mainland grid network near Cottingham, north of Hull.
Now the consortium will start work on the detailed surveys of the site for the Environmental Impact Assessment prior to a formal application for consent.
"We have already begun some of the most comprehensive environmental surveys that have been undertaken anywhere on the planet," notes Forewind Head of Development, Gareth Lewis.
These include boat-based and aerial bird surveys and geophysical studies of the geology and seabed environment across the whole zone.