Business, energy and industrial strategy secretary Greg Clark has granted planning consent to Scottish Power Renewables to build a 1.2GW wind farm off the coast of Norfolk.
The East Anglia Three offshore wind project will feature up to 172 turbines measuring nearly 250 metres in height.
Scottish Power Renewables will now commence work to prepare the project for entry into a future contracts for difference (CfD) auction. The firm is aiming to begin construction in 2022 and have the wind farm up and running by 2025.
“Offshore wind has delivered on its promises from the outset, said ScottishPower Renewables chief executive Keith Anderson. “Our sector has met every technical and political challenge, grown the UK’s supply chain, and improved the technology at a rapid pace to allow projects to be deployed in ever harsher conditions.
“At the same time, the level of cost reductions achieved would more commonly be seen in consumer electronics. In a little over a decade, our sector has delivered substantial amounts of green electricity for the UK, supported billions of pounds of UK investment and created thousands of high quality jobs.
“With the support of a highly-skilled supply chain, East Anglia Thee will further enhance the UK’s leading position in offshore wind.”
East Anglia Three is one of four projects being developed by Scottish Power Renewables in the area with a total capacity of 3.5GW. It is currently constructing the East Anglia One offshore wind farm, which secured a strike price of £119 MW/h in the first competitive CfD auction and will have a capacity of 714MW when it becomes fully operation in 2020.
The firm said deploying larger “next generation” turbines at newer projects such as East Anglia Three will drive down costs further and “help to ensure that offshore wind is one of the cheapest forms of low carbon electricity”.
Will Apps, head of energy development at the Crown Estate, said: “It is great to see the East Anglia Three project pass this significant milestone. Through the continued efforts of Scottish Power Renewables, and their industry peers, the UK now benefits from a strong development pipeline of more than 11GW of consented capacity.
“This is in addition to the projects that are already built or are on track to supply ten per cent of the UK’s electricity demand by 2020.”
RenewableUK executive director Emma Pinchbeck said: “Today’s announcement is a vote of confidence in the UK’s world-leading offshore wind sector. This huge clean energy project is a great example of how offshore wind can enable the government’s industrial strategy.”
Bidding is due to start shortly for the second CfD auction, which is open to immature technologies such as offshore wind, tidal and anaerobic digestion.