13 July, 2023
Current, by John Lubbock

Energy Security minister Grant Shapps has given government approval for the construction of the Hornsea Four offshore windfarm. 

The fourth phase of the Hornsea windfarm, off the coast of Yorkshire, was delayed by five months after the UK planning authority handed the decision to the government. The initial planning application was submitted in September 2021 by Danish firm Ørsted.

The new phase will have a capacity of just over 2.6GW, slightly less than Hornsea Three (just over 2.8GW), but more than Hornsea One and Two (1.2GW and 1.3GW), which have already become operational. 

Hornsea Four will consist of up to 180 wind turbines and their foundations, along with cabling and substation connections at sea and on shore in the vicinity of Creyke Beck, north of Cottingham, Yorkshire. 

Commenting planning approval of Hornsea Four, RenewableUK’s executive director of policy Ana Musat said: “It’s great to see one of the UK’s largest offshore wind farms getting the green light from the Government, at a time when we urgently need to get cracking on building new clean energy projects to generate the cheapest power for billpayers and enable us to bolster domestic supply chains. 

Sam Richards, founder and campaign director for Britain Remade, said: “I am delighted that the Government has finally seen sense and given Hornsea Four the go ahead. Hornsea Four is a hugely important renewable energy project that will power over one million homes with clean, secure, domestic energy. But the unnecessary five-month delay just goes to show how broken our planning system is.” 

“If we want be energy secure, if we want to slash energy bills and if we want to drive growth and create job, we have to speed up the time it takes to get major clean energy projects, like Hornsea Four, up and running. It is frankly ridiculous that it can take up to 13-years for an offshore wind farm to go from idea to generating power, when actually building the thing takes 2 years at most,” Richards added. 

Ørsted recently signed an agreement with Acciona to develop floating offshore wind farms, and in March the company signed a lease with Crown Estate Scotland to develop the 100 MW Salamander floating offshore wind project, which will be located 35 kilometres off the coast of Peterhead in north-east Scotland. 

In September 2022, RenewableUK reported that the development pipeline for offshore wind in the UK had increased from 33GW in October 2021 to 37GW.