The energy companies behind the £1.5bn Dudgeon offshore wind farm off the coast of Cromer are proposing to cut the number of turbines that would go up on site.
Statoil and Statkraft – the Norwegian companies that took over the scheme last year – want to slash the number of turbines from 170 to between 60 and 80, as they say it will make the scheme more energy efficient.
And while they are keen to build less turbines they are proposing to increase the size of the site, from 35sq km to 55sq km, so the bladed structures can be spaced further apart.
Mike Corney, project developer, explained the bid to reduce the number of turbines had come about through a review.
“We have done a lot more site surveys and looked at what was consented (to be built) and what we actually want to do and came to the conclusion to have 170 odd turbines is not very energy efficient,” he said. “We want to build something that’s highly efficient even though it’s smaller.”
As well as extending the site – 32km off the coast of Cromer – the firms are also proposing to use two different foundations for the turbines to offset the risk of instability thrown up by the chalk sea bed.
One of the proposed foundation platforms uses suction to attach itself to the seabed and can be easily removed.
Mr Corney said the proposed changes would have a “lesser impact on the environment” and they had received positive feedback from residents when they were presented at a public exhibition in Cromer yesterday.
“We’ve not had anybody that’s been anti-wind,” he added.
The trimmed down turbine scheme is now expected to produce 400mw of power, which the energy firms say will power 250,000 homes.
The proposed changes are expected to be submitted to the Marine Management Organisation and the government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change by the end of the month.
It is hoped the onshore work can begin next year with the construction of a sub-station in Necton, followed by the start of offshore construction in 2016.
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