Today, the ‘Rampion 2’ team launched a four-week informal consultation, to raise awareness and seek feedback on their initial proposals to expand the wind farm off the Sussex coast.
A full and formal consultation will follow later in the year, ahead of submission of a development consent application to build the new, clean energy infrastructure project.
Depending on the final scheme, Rampion 2 could create clean, renewable electricity to power more than a million homes in the UK and reduce carbon emissions by around 1.8 million tonnes per year – in addition to Rampion’s existing generation.
In autumn last year, it was announced that an offshore ‘area of search’ was being assessed for a maximum of up to 116 turbines, the same number as the existing Rampion wind farm.
A subsea ‘export cable’ is proposed to bring the power ashore under Climping beach, with an underground onshore cable route required to bring the power inland to connect to the national transmission grid at Bolney, where three potential sites are being considered for a new substation.
Chris Tomlinson, Rampion 2 development and stakeholder manager, said: “For the past 18 months, we have undertaken a series of desktop studies and site surveys to establish the physical lay of the land.
“We have also been talking with many local authorities, MPs, parish councils and experts on wildlife, environment, transport, geology, archaeology, business and fishing.
“We will use the results of our investigations and stakeholder engagement to identify the best possible sites for the onshore and offshore project elements, while minimising disturbance to the local community and environment in delivering this vital green energy project.
“At this early stage, we would very much welcome feedback from the Sussex community so that we are aware of all local issues, concerns and constraints as we prepare more detailed proposals for a formal public consultation later this year.”
A ‘virtual village hall’ exhibition experience has gone live at www.rampion2.com, where people can find out more and share their views – and any local information they think may be important for the project design.
Online visitors can tour the exhibition to study maps and charts, watch a video flying over the onshore cable route options, find out how the operating Rampion wind farm was built, or arrange a virtual meeting with members of the project team to ask more detailed questions.
Formal public consultation on detailed proposals will take place in mid-2021 prior to further refinements of final proposals, which will form the basis of the Rampion 2 development consent application, planned to be submitted late in 2021.
If consent is awarded, construction would begin 2025/2026 at the earliest, with a view to having a completed, operational project before the end of the decade, contributing to Government targets to secure clean, green energy supplies and tackle climate change.
Rampion is the only wind farm off the south coast of England and the region is where much of the electricity demand is concentrated. The cost of offshore wind has halved in just two to three years and is now cheaper than nuclear and coal, while creating tens of thousands of jobs nationwide.
Rampion 2 is being developed by RWE, one of the UK’s most established and experienced renewable energy producers, number-two globally for offshore wind and a world leader in renewable energy production.
It is developing the project on behalf of a joint venture company including a Macquarie-led consortium (comprising Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 5, the Green Investment Group and the Universities Superannuation Scheme) and Enbridge (a leading North American energy infrastructure company), together with owners of the existing Rampion offshore wind farm.
They have signed an agreement for lease with the Crown Estate, which manages the seabed, securing an option to develop on the site.