Over 800 people attended 20 meetings and events held by the Rampion 2 Team in October and November 2022 and more than 400 people submitted their feedback, during a public consultation on potential changes to a proposed underground cable route through West Sussex.
“We want to thank the Sussex Community for engaging so positively and sharing their local knowledge, concerns and ideas,” said Chris Tomlinson, Development & Stakeholder Manager, Rampion 2, RWE.
“We have been carefully considering consultation responses alongside feedback from earlier public consultations, to help finalise our proposals to deliver clean, green energy to power over one million homes1 and reduce carbon emissions by around 1.8 million tonnes2 per year.”
Consultation feedback has helped shape the cable route which would bring power from the ‘landfall’ – where the cables come ashore at Climping – to the national electricity network at Bolney substation. Key decisions about the proposed cable route have now been made and landowners in those areas will be contacted to discuss the updated proposals over the coming weeks, before final decisions are confirmed to local communities and Parish Councils.
On one remaining short section of the route, consultation feedback helped identify a further alternative to take the cable route around 3km from Myrtle Grove to Sullington Hill, north of Patching in the South Downs. The Rampion 2 team is undertaking a final targeted consultation with relevant landowners and key public bodies, including the parishes of Patching, Storrington & Sullington and Clapham in Horsham District and West Sussex, to arrive at a final decision.
Following the consultation period, the development consent order (DCO) application for the wind farm is planned to be submitted in June 2023, which will be followed by a period of examination.
Should the project achieve consent, construction is expected to start around 2026/27, with the wind farm fully operational before the end of the decade, helping meet the Government targets for a fivefold increase in offshore wind capacity by 2030.
For more than two years, the Rampion 2 Offshore Wind Farm team has consulted local communities, as well as statutory and expert organisations and local interest groups. It has also undertaken a range of engineering and environmental surveys to help inform the proposals.
Consultation on Rampion 2 Offshore Wind Farm started with a non-statutory four-week consultation in early 2021. A nine-week statutory public consultation launched in July 2021 and attracted 12,500 visits to the project website, promoted by a major publicity campaign. The chosen site for the onshore substation, Oakendene, near Cowfold in Horsham District, was announced in July 2022.
This was followed by another statutory public consultation in October and November 2022 on more detailed options for the underground cable route, with over 800 people attending 20 meetings and events and more than 400 submitting written responses. The electricity cable installation from the wind farm to the new electricity substation would be a temporary impact during construction, as all cables would be buried underground.
It was also announced in October 2022 that in response to feedback on visual effects and shipping from key stakeholders, including Natural England, the extent of the offshore wind turbine array sea area had been reduced by nearly half and the maximum number of turbines had been reduced from 116 to 90, whilst still maintaining the potential capacity to generate up to 1200MW.
UK wind energy context:
The cost of offshore wind has halved in just two to three years and is now cheaper than nuclear, gas and coal, while the industry is creating tens of thousands of jobs nationwide. The UK leads the world in offshore wind and the Government is committed to a fivefold increase in offshore wind capacity from 10 gigawatts (GW) in 2020 to 50 GW by 2030. Rampion 2 can make a major contribution to this target.
RAMPION 2 Background:
Rampion 2 is being developed by RWE, one of the UK’s most established and experienced renewable energy producers and a global leader in offshore wind. It is developing the project on behalf of a joint venture company including a Macquarie-led consortium (comprising Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 5, the Green Investment Group and the Universities Superannuation Scheme) and a subsidiary of Enbridge Inc. (a leading North American energy infrastructure company). Together with owners of the existing Rampion offshore Wind Farm they have signed an Agreement for Lease with The Crown Estate (managers of the seabed) securing an option to develop on the site.
1 based on an average annual domestic household electricity consumption of 3,618 kWh (BEIS, Dec 2019)
2 the calculation made using a static figure of 446g/kWh representing the energy mix in the UK (BEIS, July 2020)