Blow for UK renewable energy as wind farm project halted

Nicholas Doherty on Unsplash

The development of the renewable energy sector in the UK has been dealt a huge blow, after Swedish company Vattenfall halted development of its Norfolk Boreas offshore wind project.

The 1.4gw project was due to be the first phase of a Vattenfall's 4GW development off the Norfolk coast, making it a key part of Britain's plans to grow its offshore wind capacity to 50gw by 2030.

Norfolk Boreas was due to begin producing electricity at the end of the decade, supplying 1.5 million homes.

Vattenfall presiden Anna Borg said the decision came at a time when higher inflation and capital costs are affecting the entire energy sector" adding: "The geopolitical situation has made offshore wind and its supply chain particularly vulnerable".

Citing a 40% increase in overall costs, she said the project in its current form would be halted.

The firm is now "investigating the best way forward" for the entire Norfolk zone.

Speaking to the Eastern Daily Press, Catrin Ellis Jones, Vattenfall's stakeholder and communications manager for the Norfolk projects, insisted the company remains committed to the region.

She said, despite the halt to Norfolk Boreas, attention would now shift to the company's other schemes off the county's coast - Vanguard East and West.

Dr Jones said: "We think the East of England is a fantastic place to do development.

"We have been working in the region for a long time, so we have reached out to a lot of people today to let them know what this means, but we are not going anywhere.

"We will be continuing to look at the zone as a whole, to assess the best way forward."

Dr Jones pointed out the whole zone is "about four gigawatts" and it was always intended to be phased in its development.

"Norfolk Boreas was going to be phase one, but we are now going to shift to the Vanguard schemes, so that becomes phase one," she said, but added she could not yet say when that decision would be confirmed or what it would mean in terms of the timescale for construction.

The Vattenfall website states the company operates 10 wind farms and "was working on future projects that could provide enough electricity to meet the needs of more than four million homes".

The firm employs about 20,000 people and has a history spanning more than a century.

It states its mission is "to make fossil-free living possible within one generation" and it is "a key partner in enabling the UK to reach net zero".


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