Case study: E.ON
Assess the impacts of one of the UK’s largest offshore wind farm proposals for E.ON
E.ON Climate and Renewables was awarded a site license to build the Humber Gateway Offshore Wind Farm off the Holderness Coast (East Riding of Yorkshire). If built, the energy generated by the wind farm will contribute towards achieving the UK Government’s renewable electricity generation targets. In order to gain the relevant planning approval and other consents for a project of this nature, E.ON needed to develop a planning strategy to cover both the offshore and onshore components of the scheme and carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment to support its applications. ERM has significant experience in both high profile complex projects and the UK wind energy sector, and E.ON therefore commissioned ERM to provide consultancy advice relating to planning and permitting and to carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment to support its applications.
The offshore aspects of the scheme include up to 83 wind turbines and their foundations, the offshore electricity substation, up to three meteorological masts, inter-array cables (between the turbines) and the submarine export cables (connecting the offshore substation to the shore). Onshore, the proposals include an 18.62 mile buried cable between the landfall at Easington and a new substation at Saltend.
ERM provided planning advice and conducted a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to identify the positive and negative impacts that the scheme is predicted to have on the environment. ERM also advised on mitigation options to reduce impacts where appropriate
ERM has considerable planning and assessment experience with wind farm projects and extensive in house technical knowledge. For a project of this nature, ERM also manages a variety of subcontractors to undertake specialist environmental surveys.
Studies carried out as part of the EIA for Humber Gateway included looking at the impact on the physical (eg water quality and coastal processes); biological (eg intertidal and subtidal ecology, fish, marine mammals and onshore ecology); and human environments (eg visual impact, marine archaeology and wrecks, noise, commercial fisheries, navigation and shipping, aviation, television, radio and fixed line-of-sight links, marine navigation systems, social and economic impacts).
ERM developed a planning strategy for the client and prepared associated documentation such as environmental statements required for securing planning permission and approvals under various other legislation (eg Coast Protection Act and Habitats Directive).
Benefits and Values
ERM helped the client understand the scope and nature of the issues associated with development of the Humber Gateway Offshore Wind Farm. ERM also advised on the approach that would need to be taken to ensure that E.ON could maintain maximum flexibility in the design of the wind farm whilst still meeting the stringent requirements for Environmental Impact Assessment.
ERM has extensive experience in EIA, planning and environmental permitting, together with a detailed understanding of the issues associated with renewable energy projects, particularly wind farms. This provided E.ON with high quality, reliable environmental advice and thoroughly prepared supporting documentation to enable smooth passage of the planning applications which were submitted in April 2008.
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