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BEIS’ intentions questioned as it pushes back development decisions for wind farms

Image: Vattenfall.

Image: Vattenfall.

The government has delayed its decision on whether two offshore wind projects can proceed, pushing the deadline to 1 July.

The decision has been made by energy secretary Alok Sharma, and will impact Ørsted’s 2.4GW Hornsea Three project and Vattenfall’s 1.8GW Norfolk Vanguard project.

The offshore wind sector will be now “be left wondering about the government’s intentions for this sector”, Danielle Lane, UK country manager for Vattenfall, said. This marks the second delay the Norfolk Vanguard project due to COVID-19 disruption. A second project, Norfolk Bores, has also had its decision recently pushed back, although this is now due in October.

"We’re in a race against time to reduce emissions and need to respond to the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, yet crucial infrastructure decisions are being put on hold,” Lane added.

Current± has contacted the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for clarity on why the decision has been pushed back.

The government has pledged to enable 40GW of offshore wind by 2030, but recently RenewableUK reported that "much more" wind capacity will be needed to meet net zero. It found that there is the potential to increase offshore wind capacity to 70GW by 2040.

The delay to the two wind projects is “disappointing”, RenewableUK’s chief executive Hugh McNeal said.

“We need the government to take decisions in a timely manner so that offshore wind can play a leading role in getting our economy back on track after the coronavirus crisis”.

Calls for a green recovery from COVID-19 have been ramping up, with a letter signed by over 200 business leaders calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ensure the recovery is aligned with the UK’s wider social, environmental and climate goals.

Likewise, the need for a green recovery has been highlighted by thinktank IPPR's Environmental Justice Group and the Committee on Climate Change.

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