On 7 September, the Rampion 2 DCO application for an offshore wind farm off the coast of Sussex, was accepted for examination by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate.
“We are delighted that the Planning Inspectorate has accepted the Rampion 2 DCO application for examination. As part of our journey to date, we have carried out a huge programme of engagement and consultation over the past three years, and have subsequently made changes to the project proposals in response to feedback from statutory consultees and the Sussex community,” said Umair Patel, Project Lead, Rampion 2.
“We want to thank the local communities in Sussex for taking the time to provide feedback on the project proposals to date. Our goal throughout has been to progress the development of our cable route design in light of feedback received from local communities, while minimising, where possible, wildlife and the environmental impacts, to deliver an economic solution.”
The application being examined includes detailed proposals for the Rampion 2 Offshore Wind Farm, the final Environmental Statement which sets out potential impacts and mitigations, and a Consultation Report which details the engagement and consultations carried out over the past three years and how the Project Team has taken account of the feedback received.
The Rampion 2 Offshore Wind Farm could generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of over one million homes1 and reduce carbon emissions by around 1.8 million tonnes. This means Rampion and Rampion 2 combined will be able to power the equivalent of all of the homes in Sussex twice over.
Situated to the west of the existing Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, Rampion 2, if consented, would include up to 90 turbines a minimum of eight miles offshore. An offshore export cable route would bring the power ashore under Climping Beach on the coast, and the underground cable route would continue inland to a new substation called Oakendene near Cowfold, then finally connect the power to the national electricity network at Bolney in Mid Sussex.
Now that the DCO application is accepted for examination by the Planning Inspectorate, in accordance with Section 56 of the Planning Act 2008, the Rampion 2 Project Team will publicise Notices of the accepted application in local and national newspapers, setting out how the community can register their opinions with the Planning Inspectorate. The public will be able to view the final proposals and register as an ‘interested party’ with the Planning Inspectorate at the Project Page of the Planning Inspectorate website at Rampion 2 Offshore Wind Farm | National Infrastructure Planning (planninginspectorate.gov.uk). Anyone wishing to be kept informed or to participate in the examination can register at the same website.
The Examination process is expected to take six months, and a final decision on whether consent will be granted will be made by the Secretary of State for the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero by early 2025.
Consultation on the Rampion 2 Offshore Wind Farm started in January 2021, followed by a nine-week statutory project-wide consultation launched in July 2021, promoted by a huge publicity campaign which attracted 12,500 visits to the project website hosting the consultation proposals. This consultation was then extended into 2022. The chosen site for an onshore substation, Oakendene, near Cowfold in Horsham District, was announced in July 2022.
In October 2022, the Rampion 2 Project Team reduced the extent of the offshore wind turbine array proposals by nearly half and decreased the maximum number of turbines down from 116 to 90. This was in response to feedback on visual effects and shipping from key stakeholders, including Natural England.
Following extensive feedback from local communities and interest groups, a further statutory onshore consultation was launched in October 2022 to explore potential cable route alternatives and modifications, which were driven by public feedback combined with ongoing engineering and environmental assessments. Once installed, electricity cables will be buried underground, and the Rampion 2 team is committed to reinstate the land back to its former condition as soon as possible after the works.
The results of a third2 public opinion survey in Sussex show offshore wind is by far the most supported form of energy generation with 91 percent in support. The support for the original Rampion Wind Farm rose from 80 percent in 2010 when it was an early proposal, to 85 percent in 2019 after the turbines had been in place for over two years. In the latest survey in October 2022, when asked about the prospect of Rampion 2, there was 85 percent support for the project.
Should the project achieve consent, construction could start late 2026 / early 2027, with the wind farm fully operational before the end of the decade, helping meet the UK’s target for a five-fold increase in offshore wind capacity by 2030.
RWE is one of the globally leading renewables companies and is highly experienced in the development of large-scale offshore wind. RWE is leading the development of Rampion 2 on behalf of Rampion 2 partners including a Macquarie-led consortium and Enbridge Inc.
Media contact: Paula Seager, Natural PR, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 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 3,509 kWh (Dept Energy Security & Net Zero, 2022)
2 The Public Opinion Survey was carried out between 20th October and 17th November 2022 by independent polling organisation, Yonder – the new name for Populus, which carried out two previous surveys in 2010 and 2019.