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United Kingdom

British go-ahead for 315 MW off coast of Norfolk

The latest UK offshore wind farm to emerge successfully from the consents process is Sheringham Shoal, a 315 MW project off the coast of Norfolk. The developer is Scira Offshore Energy, a joint venture owned 55% by StatoilHydro of Norway and 45% by Evelop, a subsidiary of Dutch sustainable energy group Econcern. Sheringham Shoal is the fourth largest offshore project approved in the UK so far and brings the total offshore capacity -- operating, building and consented -- to 3887.8 MW. It is the fourth project to secure government approval under Britain's second round of offshore project consents, focused on larger wind farms sited further offshore than the first round. It is the first to be consented in the Greater Wash strategic area on England's east coast. But the consent is conditional. As with a number of other Greater Wash offshore projects, the defence ministry objected to Sheringham Shoal, citing the potential for wind turbines to disturb air defence radar at Trimingham in Norfolk. Within the five year period of the consent, Scira Offshore is required to find a technical fix to the problem that is acceptable to both the energy and defence ministers. If the project goes ahead, the 88 turbines will be built 17 to 23 kilometres from the town of Sheringham on a 35 square kilometre site in 16 to 22 metres of water. The project now awaits an investment decision from majority owner StatoilHydro, which is expected before the end of the year. If sanctioned, construction will start in 2009, to finish in 2011.

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