The zones awarded by The Crown Estate as part of Round 3 zones were much larger than those awarded in Round 2 so the sheer size of these developments will dwarf previous projects. Most of the Round 3 development zones could potentially be the site of multiple wind farms.
The zone concept enabled developers to focus on a defined area and identify the most appropriate locations within that area for wind farm development. Forewind worked with The Crown Estate to identify suitable wind farm sites within the Dogger Bank Zone and then carried out thorough environmental impact assessments and consultation on these sites before submitting applications for consent to build.
The Dogger Bank Zone’s many attributes made it an attractive site for offshore wind farm development. Good wind resource is paramount and Dogger Bank boasts higher annual mean wind speeds than the other Round 3 offshore wind farm zones (>10 m/s). It also has relatively shallow water depths and good ground conditions, enabling a broad range of foundation options.
However the area also has a number of challenges, not least because of its size, scale and distance from shore. Round 3 heralds a completely new era for offshore wind and there will continue to be many technical and logistical challenges. Forewind has drawn fully on the experience of each of the owner companies and employed innovative suppliers and contractors to help meet the mission of achieving consent.
The realisation of wind farms on Dogger Bank will also be heavily dependent on finding solutions to a number of issues such as upgrading the national grid, the consenting duration, supply chain and the government's commitment to the renewables industry.
There are potentially thousands of jobs in the fabrication of the components needed for the wind farms – turbines, foundations, cables, offshore substations – as well as in the construction and operation of the wind farms themselves. However to secure the investment required to build and operate Dogger Bank, and to entice these component manufacturers to establish operations in the UK, suitable regulatory and economic support mechanisms must be established.