The first application for consent to build an offshore wind farm outside the UK's territorial waters has been lodged by Greater Gabbard Offshore Winds Limited (GGOWL), a joint venture between Irish wind energy company Airtricity and US engineering and construction company Fluor. The partners hope to build a 500 MW project between 25 and 40 kilometres off England's east coast, just outside the 12 nautical mile limit (22 kilometres). GGOWL is seeking consent from the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Suffolk Coastal District Council. Greater Gabbard is one of 15 large offshore projects granted a development licence by the Crown Estate in 2003. If the project is consented, up to 140 turbines will be located in two arrays around the Inner Gabbard and Galloper sandbanks off Suffolk. The turbines will be sited at a depth of up to 30 metres. Fluor is to manage the engineering, procurement and construction. The project has already secured an agreement for connection to the onshore 400 kV grid at Sizewell. According to Airtricity's Eddie O'Connor, Greater Gabbard is a key project of the company's new UK operations group. "A wind monitoring mast has already been installed and we are starting to put in place the finance to build the wind farm and an extensive site investigation and detailed design work is in progress," says Fluor's Patrick Flaherty.
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