The government in the UK and the Marine Management Organisation have agreed to expand the capacity of innogy’s Sofia offshore windfarm by 15%.
Sofia is the largest project in innogy’s development portfolio and has been granted approval to increase its maximum installed capacity by 200 MW from 1.2 GW to 1.4 GW.
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) recently approved amendments to the marine licences for the project, which correspond to changes to the development consent order decided by UK Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark, in late March.
The additional 15% will provide enough power for approximately 150,000 average UK homes, which means the total amount of power Sofia could generate would be enough to potentially provide almost 1.2M average UK homes with their electricity needs each year.
As well as the increase in overall installed capacity, the approvals grant innogy the permission to use larger turbines with a maximum rotor diameter of 288 m, up from the 215 m that was in the original consent. That would put the turbines that could be used on the project potentially in the 20-MW category. Turbines of a similar size were also recently approved for use on the Dogger Bank Creyke Beck A and B projects in the Dogger Bank Zone.
The Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy agreed to allow Doggerbank Offshore Wind Farm Project 1 Projco Limited and Doggerbank Offshore Wind Farm Project 2 Projco Limited to install turbines with a rotor diameter of up to 280 m should one be available in the timeframe for the project and should they wish to do so. The companies behind the consortia, SSE and Equinor, originally sought permission to install turbines with the same diameter as those originally sought by Innogy for the Sofia project.
Sofia project director David Few said the increase was requested by innogy in applications submitted to the Planning Inspectorate and the MMO in June 2018.
“We applied to change the project’s development consent order and marine licences to ensure that Sofia would be able to employ the latest generation of larger, more efficient and technologically advanced wind turbines,” he explained.
“The approval decisions are clearly excellent news and now mean that Sofia will be able to make an even bigger contribution towards achieving the UK’s carbon emission reduction targets”.
The windfarm site covers an area of almost 600 km2 and is located 165 km off the UK’s northeast coast on Dogger Bank in the North Sea. Electricity generated by Sofia will feed into the national grid at an existing substation located in Lackenby, Teesside.
The project was granted its development consent order in August 2015 and is due to take part in the government’s next Contracts for Difference allocation round, expected in May this year.