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Cefas to measure offshore site conditions on Norfolk wind farms

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Swedish energy group Vattenfall has contracted Lowestoft-based Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), to measure offshore weather and sea conditions for its offshore wind farm developments off the east coast.

The contract secures work for 12 specialists, managers and vessel crew for three-years. Cefas employs 450 people in total at its Suffolk base.

Cefas’ specialist staff and technologies will explore the oceanographic processes which will be exerted on the turbine structures of Vattenfall’s Norfolk Vanguard offshore wind farm.

Dr David Pearce, Principal Investigator for Cefas, said: “The UK’s world leading offshore wind industry is growing rapidly and Cefas, and our staff will play an important role in that growth. We’re delighted to win this major contract with Vattenfall to support Norfolk Vanguard’s sustainable development.”

The measurement campaign will provide combined datasets for an in-depth oceanographic assessment of the wind farm development zone. This data will be used to understand the pressures the marine environment in that area of the North Sea will place on the turbines structures and enable Vattenfall to select an appropriate design for the Norfolk Vanguard development.

Dr Zoe Roberts of Vattenfall says: “A key element of developing any offshore wind farm is understanding the meteorological and oceanographic regime at the development site. The data collected during this three-year campaign will ensure structures are strong enough to survive in the offshore environment but not over-engineered, thereby minimising costs.”

Vattenfall announced that it was developing the Norfolk Vanguard project in March 2016. The following October, it revealed early plans for the 1.8GW project which could feature up to 180 wind turbines more than 47km from the Norfolk coastline.

Vattenfall explained that it continues to engage with stakeholders and residents throughout the summer. In the autumn the energy company will hold drop-in sessions which will show the wind farm's final proposed design – on and offshore - and the assessment by independent specialists of its environmental impact.

Vattenfall will apply for consent for Norfolk Vanguard in 2018 and hopes to begin construction in the early 2020s.  

Vattenfall confirmed it will start the planning process for another wind farm, Norfolk Boreas, off the UK's east coast later this year. Combined, the two projects could have a capacity of 3.6GW and produce enough power to meet the equivalent annual electricity demand of more than 2.61 million UK households, around 4% of total annual UK consumption claims Vattenfall.

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