Windfarm project data to be gathered

MARINE scientists based at Cefas in Pakefield have been signed up to collect key data on sea conditions by the joint developers of a giant windfarm which is set to take shape off the coast of north Suffolk.

ScottishPower Renewables and Vattenfall, the 50-50 joint-venture developers of the East Anglia offshore wind farm, have appointed the government agency to survey waves patterns and currents along the region's coast.

It will also also be used by the Met Office in its wave-modelling studies which in turn are used by other agencies such as the Environment Agency, when analysing the effect of climate change on UK coastal erosion and flooding. As part of the study, three-directional 'wave-rider buoys' and two current-profiling devices have been stationed off the coast for the next 12 months to gather detailed information of wave patterns and tidal flows.

The results from these surveys will provide the wind farm development team with crucial information that will be used to support the planning consent for projects. They will also provide information to support technical design, construction and the operation and maintenance of wind farms once constructed.

Vattenfall and ScottishPower Renewables won the right to develop the East Anglia zone in January last year from the Crown Estate following its third licensing round for offshore wind.

The 50-50 joint venture hopes to develop, build and operate up to 7.2 gigawatts (GW) of wind capacity in the 6,000 km2 zone.

This would generate enough power to meet the equivalent electricity needs of over five million UK households.

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David Walker, development director said: 'ScottishPower Renewables and Vattenfall are delighted that our efforts to consent, build and operate wind farms offshore from East Anglia will make a telling contribution to the UK's renewables energy targets and will also provide important scientific data to other organisations.

'We are committed to working with the people of East Anglia and are eager to ensure that as much benefit as possible is given to the region, be that through inward investment or information sharing.'

Steve Millward, director of monitoring and programme management at Cefas, said: 'We are very pleased to have been awarded this contract, which allows us to demonstrate our expertise in the collection of Met Ocean data and so enable our client to make progress in this important renewable energy project.'

The East Anglia offshore wind farm zone is 25 miles from the Suffolk coast and its developers say it will not cause or exacerbate the potential for coastal flooding.

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