The Project So Far

Satellite view of North Sea and Suffolk/Essex coast.

Project history

In February 2017 The Crown Estate launched a process for wind farm operators to apply for extensions to their existing projects. This opportunity closed in May 2018, with eight project applications received.

A plan-level Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA), was undertaken to assess the possible impact of the proposed wind farm extensions on relevant nature conservation sites of European importance. Independent experts were utilised and there were consultations with the statutory marine planning authorities, the statutory nature conservation bodies and a number of non-governmental stakeholders.

North Falls location on UK map.

Development rights awarded

In August 2019, The Crown Estate announced the conclusion of the HRA confirming that seven of the 2017 extension application projects, representing a total generating capacity of 2.85GW, would progress to the award of development rights, including what is now called North Falls Offshore Wind Farm.

The Agreement for Lease between North Falls Offshore Wind Farm and The Crown Estate was signed in Autumn 2020 and the project is now in the early stages of development with the aim of achieving a Development Consent Order (DCO) in 2025.

Scoping phase

North Falls submitted a scoping report to the Planning Inspectorate in July 2021. This presented early project proposals and described the development process including how any potential impacts to the existing environment will be assessed. By seeking early comments on the North Falls Scoping Report, the project team aimed to ensure that the most robust and thorough environmental statement will be submitted to support our development consent order application in 2023.

The North Falls Scoping Report can be read here. The feedback received on this report from the relevant local planning authorities and statutory consultees resulted in a North Falls Scoping Opinion which is also now available to read here.

Wind farm.

The future

North Falls is planned to be operational by the end of the decade, thereby playing a key role in the UK Government’s ambitions to achieve 40GW of installed offshore wind capacity by 2030.

Its final capacity will be no less than its sister project Greater Gabbard (504MW), which generates enough power to supply the annual electricity needs of approximately 400,000 UK homes.

Location

Location map.
Legend
North Falls Offshore Wind (in planning)
Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm (in operation)
Nearby Wind Farm Sites and Status
Galloper Offshore Wind Farm (in operation)
Five Estuaries Offshore Wind Farm (in planning)

Key facts & figures

The project has commenced work that will determine how the final wind farm will look. At this stage it is too early to include many specific details however some key facts are known and will be built on over time as the project matures.

Broadly, North Falls will comprise wind turbines and their associated foundations and array cables which will connect the turbines to up to two offshore substations. Export cables will transmit the power from the offshore substation(s) to shore, with onshore cables taking it to an onshore substation before it enters the national grid.

National Grid has not concluded its technical and environmental studies so no decision has been made about the location of the onshore grid connection other than to understand that landfall will be on the East Anglia coast.

Facts & Figures

High Level Timeline

Date Action

Summer 2019

The Crown Estate concludes its Habitats Regulations Assessment.

Seven projects totalling 2.85 GW of new capacity to be awarded agreements for lease.

Autumn 2020

Greater Gabbard Extension shareholder agreement signed between the two owners, SSE Renewables and RWE.

Agreement for Lease signed with The Crown Estate.

Early contracts awarded and start of detailed surveys to inform the Environmental Impact Assessment and Habitats Regulations Assessment.

2020 to 2023

Onshore and offshore surveys and studies, project planning and design, stakeholder consultation and community engagement undertaken, along with an Environmental Assessment and Project Level Habitats Regulations Assessment.

Spring 2023

Environmental Impact Assessment completed.

Project Level Habitats Regulations Assessment completed.

Summer 2023

Development Consent Order and supporting Environmental Information submitted to the Planning Inspectorate.

2024/25

Planning Inspectorate makes recommendation to the Secretary of State.

Secretary of State announces consent decision.

2025

Project design finalised, major component and construction contracts awarded and wind farm constructed.

2030

Wind farm expected to be operational by the end of the decade.

SSE Renewables | RWE

The owners

North Falls is being developed by a 50/50 joint venture company owned equally by SSE Renewables and RWE Renewables.

North Falls’ sister project, Greater Gabbard is also owned equally by RWE Renewables and SSE Renewables. The 504MW wind farm is located in the southern North Sea, 20 kilometres from the East Anglia coast, adjacent to the North Falls site. It is operated by the SSE Renewables on behalf of both partners.

SSE | RWE