The UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has issued a letter extending the examination period for the Development Consent Order (DCO) applications for the East Anglia One North and the East Anglia Two offshore wind farms.

The deadline for the completion of examinations has been moved from 6 April until no later than 6 July.

The decision for prolonging the deadline comes after the Planning Inspectorate formally requested the BEIS Secretary of State to extend the examination periods for the two offshore wind farms in February, citing the impact of the COVID-19 restrictions on the process as the reason.

The restrictions and two national lockdowns have affected the ability of interested parties, local authorities and statutory bodies to engage effectively in the examinations. They have also affected the work of panels and case teams on examining the applications fully and producing robust recommendation reports that would enable the Secretary of State to reach decisions within the statutory timescales, according to the Planning Inspectorate.

In addition, the range, scale and pace of the two simultaneous examinations for the two offshore wind farms during this time have lead to a strain on delivery by participants.

Offshore Energy contacted the developer, ScottishPower Renewables (owned by Iberdrola), for a comment on the deadline extension.

“Throughout the Examinations process, we have continually made a robust and compelling case – as a long-standing and responsible developer – for these two essential projects and the environmental and economic benefits they will deliver for the East of England and beyond”, a spokesperson for ScottishPower Renewables said. “We will continue to work with all stakeholders within the revised timetable to resolve any outstanding issues so we can deliver the clean energy –­ and green future – we all need to meet both the Government’s offshore wind targets for 2030 as well as overall Net Zero ambitions for 2050”.

The two projects are part of ScottishPower Renewables’ GBP 6.5 billion (around € 7.6 billion) East Anglia Hub project. The project consists of three offshore wind farms: East Anglia One North, East Anglia Two, and East Anglia Three.

For East Anglia One North and East Anglia Two, ScottishPower Renewables submitted the DCO applications in October 2019.

With a capacity of up to 800 MW, East Anglia One North is located 36 kilometres from its nearest point to the Port of Lowestoft. The East Anglia Two project, located some 37 kilometres off the Port of Lowestoft, will have a capacity of 900 MW.

The initial 1,400 MW of power to be generated through the Hub projects via East Anglia THREE has secured planning consent.

Subject to the outcome of the planning considerations, construction of the East Anglia Hub is expected to commence in 2023, with completion in 2026.

In February, ScottishPower Renewables selected Siemens Gamesa as the preferred bidder to supply and install 14+ MW wind turbines on East Anglia Hub, which will comprise more than 200 units.

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