Director - Offshore Renewables
Against a highly complex consenting landscape, RPS is leading the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to support the delivery of three of Ørsted’s flagship offshore wind projects in the North Sea - Hornsea Project One, Hornsea Project Two and Hornsea Project Three.
In the UK, consent to build major infrastructure projects such as large offshore wind farms is ultimately granted by the Secretary of State. The EIA process is highly regulated and is critical to securing consent. Support provided by RPS included project management, consenting and technical services throughout the pre-application and examination phases of all three of the Hornsea projects.
Each Hornsea project has set new records for proposed offshore wind farms, and Hornsea Project Three will be the largest proposed to date, anywhere in the world. It has the potential to generate up to 2.4 GW of electricity and will cover an area offshore of approximately 700 sq. km.
Hornsea Projects One, Two and Three
Obtaining permission from the UK Government to build huge, utility-scale, offshore wind farms is challenging. A cornerstone of the process is the successful acceptance of the EIA by the Planning Inspectorate. Consent to build is dependent on accurately assessing the cumulative, and in combination, environmental impact of an increasing number of multiple wind farms and existing, and often competing, sea uses (for example oil & gas, fisheries, commercial navigation).
Furthermore, significant areas of the sea bed and coastal regions have been designated as protected areas which limits infrastructure development. Adding to the complexity are the statutory regulators and consultees which are becoming increasingly active in their defence of these protected marine areas.
Offshore wind projects can also include complex onshore elements such as an onshore substation and lengthy cable runs to the grid connection. Both require nuanced engagement with multiple landowners and stakeholders.
RPS was engaged by Orsted to deliver the EIA for three separate flagship Orsted projects.
RPS has deep expertise in the delivery of offshore renewables. Our team of project managers, EIA experts and technical leads bring a comprehensive understanding of a range of potential marine and terrestrial, human, biological and physical environmental impacts to meet the challenges of each of the Hornsea projects.
We provided key support for public and stakeholder consultation, completion of the Preliminary Environmental Information Report (PEIR), drafting the environmental assessment, and submission of a final environmental statement.
The project potentially impacted ecologically sensitive areas so RPS lead on a wide range of technical issues including assessment of visual impact concerns (key to onshore substation consent), environmental planning for cable-routing and extensive ornithological studies to monitor potential impacts for seabirds.
During the Examination phase, RPS supported Orsted providing responses to the Examining Authority’s questions, authoring additional documents, and input into the Development Consent Order and Marine Licence conditions. We also provided expert witnesses during the hearings.
As lead EIA consultant, RPS project managers:
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