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Consortium welcomes Govenment wind farm go-ahead

The consortium SMart Wind has welcomed the decision by the Secretary of State to grant development consent for Hornsea Project One.

The project is scheduled to commence operation by 2020 when it will become the world’s first gigawatt scale far from shore wind farm.

The DCO covers the entire project, including the turbines, offshore and onshore substations, array cables and export cable.

Project One is located 120km off the Yorkshire coast and covers approximately 407 square kilometres, when completed, Project One will be able to meet the electricity needs of around 800,000 UK homes.

Hornsea Project One is being developed by SMartWind – a consortium of Mainstream Renewable Power and Siemens Financial Services – and DONG Energy. Hornsea Project One is one of three projects for which DONG Energy was awarded Financial Investment Decision Enabling Contracts for Difference by the Government in April 2014.

“SMart Wind are delighted with the grant of the DCO following a robust examination from the Planning Inspectorate.

"Hornsea Project One is part of the essential new infrastructure that has driven major investment in the Humber economy and ensures a low carbon future for the area.

"Today’s announcement is testament to the world-class expertise of the Mainstream team who have been developing this project for the past six years.

"This has been a landmark year for Mainstream’s offshore team as we were recently awarded consent for our 450MW offshore wind farm in Scotland.”

– Andy Kinsella, Mainstream Renewable Power’s Chief Operating Officer

“Development consent for Hornsea Project One is very welcome.

"This is an exciting project that will be a world first in terms of its size and location, and it has the potential to power up to 800,000 UK homes.

"Development consent has recently been granted for our Burbo Bank Extension and Walney Extension wind farms as well, underlining that DONG Energy has real commitment to investing in the UK with a strong pipeline of future projects.”

– Benj Sykes, DONG Energy Vice President of UK Wind Power,

Siemens acts as financing and technology partner in the joint venture.

The company recently announced its intention to invest in wind turbine production facilities in Hull that could also produce the Hornsea turbines.

The Hornsea Project One will support the UK in its endeavours to pursue its environmental objectives and to satisfy a quarter of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2020. Siemens’ equity participation underpins its long-term commitment to the project and the region overall.

“We are delighted to see such positive decisions as the large scale Hornsea Project One coming through the planning process, which further support the UK’s position as a global leader in offshore wind and confirm its material contribution to UK power generation into the long term.”

– Huub den Rooijen, Head of Offshore Wind at The Crown Estate, manager of the UK seabed

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Three offshore wind farms get Governement go-ahead

An offshore wind project that is expected to bring up to 2,500 local jobs and millions of pounds' worth of investment to Yorkshire and LIncolnshire, has today been given the go-ahead by the Government.

The Government has given the go-ahead to a massive offshore wind farm project off the Yorkshire coast Credit: Press Association

Hornsea Project One will be made up of three offshore wind farms based 64 miles off the East Yorkshire coast. Once built, it will generate enough electricity to power more than 800,000 homes.

It is one of the largest investments in the Humberside area in the last 50 years.

Lockton scatters the good seed

Lockton wildlife meadow Credit: North York Moors National Park

Nature lovers in Lockton have enriched their village with the creation of a wildlife meadow.

Scattered wildflower seeds have already started to germinate so next spring the meadow should be awash with yellow rattle, bird’s foot trefoil, ox-eye daisy, knapweed and yarrow.

A bee on knapweed Credit: North York Moors National Park

The project is part of the North York Moors National Park’s Habitat Connectivity Programme which is working to improve the natural environment. The aim is to make habitat patches better and bigger, and improve the links between them so that wildlife can move around.

The Parish Council and Parochial Church Council identified a large area in Lockton cemetery where habitat improvements could be made. With a little bit of advice and guidance from the National Park, the group created a wildflower meadow.

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Wind farm planning changes welcomed by campaigners

Some see them as a blot on the landscape while others believe they could be the future of green energy, but today, those who believe wind turbines are a rural monstrosity have welcomed new rules that could make it easier to stop them from being built.

The Government has published new rules which mean communities will be consulted sooner, but those which say yes to turbines could get financial incentives. James Webster has more.

Government promises communities more say on wind farm sites

The government has announced changes giving communities more say in the siting of onshore wind farms, and reap increased benefits from hosting developments that do proceed. Consultations will take place sooner and there will be an increase in the value of community benefits paid for by developers.

New planning guidance will make clear that the need for renewable energy does not automatically override environmental protections and the planning concerns of local communities. It will give greater weight to landscape and visual impact concerns.

Ministers will be writing to the Planning Inspectorate and councils immediately to flag up that new guidance will become available shortly. Government will also assist local people to gain the skills they need to enable them to engage more confidently with developers.

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Government should not 'stifle' wind industry

WWF-UK has warned the government that it should be careful not to "stifle" the onshore wind industry just to silence a "vocal minority".

Nick Molho, the head of climate and energy policy at WWF-UK, said:

Polls consistently show that the public support renewable energy and want more of it - yet parts of the Government seem determined to put up barriers to its development.

The Prime Minister says that he wants the UK to win the low-carbon race, but too often his own side seems to be holding him back.

We'd also hope that the Government will be consistent on its approach to planning and impose similar rules on other parts of the energy sector, such as onshore shale gas development.

– Nick Molho
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