Multi-million pound plans to quadruple the size of an offshore wind farm have taken a step further.
DONG Energy wants to enlarge its Burbo Bank operation in Liverpool Bay four-fold – from 10 to 40 square kilometres.
They want to add 40 more turbines to the existing 25, which lie 12.2km off Point of Ayr.
The extension project is reported to be worth £450m.
At the moment, the existing wind farm, which has been operational since 2007, has a total installed capacity of 90 megawatts (MW) and features 25 turbines.
But the energy giant wants to increase the estimated capacity by a further 234MW, with a total of 65 turbines which the company estimate will provide electricity to power 170,000 more homes.
The Danish firm said it expects to start work on the project in 2014.
The earmarked site is located west of the existing operational wind farm in Liverpool Bay.
It will be comprised of 3MW to 7.5MW wind turbines, with an overall height of around 135m, as well as foundations, inter-array cables and the transmission assets.
Electricity will be brought ashore via an offshore substation, a buried sea cable – which will come ashore between Rhyl and Prestatyn – and an onshore cable.
It will run to a grid connection point at the Bodelwyddan onshore substation in St Asaph.
The Crown Estate, which owns the British coastline, gave permission for the expansion.
But in a ‘scoping opinion’ report, DONG Energy admit the project has visual impacts both off and on shore, and also highlight a risk that noise and vibration could affect marine mammals, fish and migratory birds.
Rights of way and commercial activity, such as shipping and fisheries, will also need to be considered.
Yesterday the Danish firm launched an extensive consultation process in North Wales, Liverpool and Wirral, claiming that the Burbo Bank is “ideal for an offshore windfarm,” as it features relatively low water depths, good wind resource and suitable seabed conditions.
It is not yet known how many local jobs the project could create, but Wrexham-based Prysmian Cables and Systems, who secured a £15m contract for the Gwynt y Mor development, last night said they are keeping their fingers crossed that a contract might come their way.
Offshore construction work is anticipated to last just over two years until the end of 2015.
The onshore build is expected to take just one year with work set to finish in late 2014.
Consultation feedback events will be rolled out next year.
A DONG Energy spokesman said if plans get the go-ahead, the firm could be part of the North Wales community for the next 25 years.
One of four roadshows showing more on the extension scheme will take place in Rhyl’s Wellington Community Centre on Tuesday May 17 between 2pm and 8pm.
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