Many questions about the environment, wildlife, archaeology and the like have been answered in the Environmental Statement and Non-Technical Summaries of both the onshore and offshore components of the project. These are additional questions received from the community since consent for the project was achieved. To view these documents, please click here.
How many people will be employed in the local area during construction, and in the longer term?
Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm will provide many opportunities to boost the local Norfolk economy - through the provision of jobs, the purchase of goods and services and possible ongoing tourism impacts. There will be local opportunities both during construction and in the longer term in relation to operation and maintenance of the wind farm. It is anticipated that once fully operational the wind farm will directly create around 50 permanent jobs. Many local businesses will also provide services to the wind farm, which will indirectly create further permanent employment.
Will there be a lot of disruption?
Work onshore began in June 2009 with the installation of the cable and the construction of a new substation. The cable was installed across primarily arable land and the contractor, Carillion, ensured that the land was returned to its original state subsequent to the cable laying to enable the landowners to use the surface level as normal.
Offshore the construction is ongoing. The offshore substations have been lifted, and installation of the foundations is in progress. This work will mainly impact the other users of the sea, fishermen. Negotiations to pay disruption payments during the construction period have been completed with the fishermen who fish the site and along the export cable corridor. During the construction phase there is an exclusion zone of 50 metres around each foundation, and during piling operations the exclusion zone is increased to 500 metres. These exclusion zones have been approved by the Coastguard to ensure the safety of seafarers in the area.
Will Scira have any involvement with the local community?
The wind farm will be part of the local community for many years to come and the company will continue to contribute to, and play an active role in, relevant community-based projects likely to be of lasting benefit. Smaller local sponsorships have already included the Fairyland Trust, the rejuvenation of Plumstead Parish Pond and an upgrade to the Wells coastal look-out, and events including the North Norfolk Greenbuild sustainability weekend, the Wells Carnival and the 2011 Royal Wedding celebrations in Wells-next-the-Sea have all received Scira’s support.
A Community Trust Fund has also been established to provide grants to organisations and activities which can demonstrate a local benefit in the key areas of climate change, environment and sustainability.
The Sheringham Shoal Wind Energy Visitor and Education Centre opened at The Mo in Sheringham in February 2011; here visitors can learn more about wind energy in general and the Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm in particular. Early visitor numbers indicate this will prove to be a highly popular attraction.
How can my business get involved?
In 2008/09 Scira worked with the North Norfolk Business Forum to publish the Sheringham Shoal Suppliers’ Directory, and this has been widely used by the project’s contractors to source a range of products and services from North Norfolk’s businesses.
During 2011 the company will once again work with North Norfolk Business Forum to develop an on-line Sheringham Shoal Supplier database. Businesses interested in being included in the database should register their interest with the North Norfolk Business Forum [see Contact/Links].
Will the wind farm be visible from the North Norfolk coastline?
The wind farm will be visible on the horizon from key viewpoint locations along the North Norfolk coastal edge for about 60% of the time - but only when atmospheric conditions are clear. To get an idea of what the wind farm will look like from the nearest point to land it is most accurate to compare it with an existing wind farm. For example, for Norfolk residents, the distance from Sheringham town to the wind farm is the same as the distance from Hunstanton to the Lynn & Inner Dowsing Wind Farms so will have similar visibility.
What percentage of time will be turbines be available to produce energy?
The availability of the turbines will depend on how the turbines are operated and maintained. Experience from the wind industry has shown an availability of around 95%. By using the partners’ experience from offshore operation and maintenance of hydro power plants, we hope to improve this measure for the Sheringham Shoal Wind Farm.
How do the turbines re-start once the wind dies down?
The wind turbines operate automatically, self-starting when the wind reaches an average speed of 3–5 metres per second (m/s). The output increases with the wind speed until it reaches 13–14m/s. If the average wind speed exceeds the operational limit of 25m/s, the turbine stops. When the wind drops back below the restart speed, the safety systems reset automatically.
Why can the turbine mechanism not be geared to allow the blades to still turn (albeit more slowly) in high winds?
Wind turbines are developed to produce the maximum energy yield at minimum cost. Theoretically, it is possible to have a wind turbine that always produces power: a very high tower and a very small rotor that rotates in even the faintest breeze. However, the energy yield would be very small for such a turbine. Similarly, a very strong turbine with a very large rotor would allow maximum power production during a year’s worst storm, but it would be standing still during the rest of the year. The optimum is in-between these two extremes: a wind turbine that generates quite some power during most of the year, a lot during strong winds, and nothing during the worst storms to keep the turbine affordable.
When the wind turbines restart during an increase in wind speed how are they synchronised with the grid before the circuit breaker/s concerned close?
The 88 wind turbines to be used on the wind farm are Siemens 3.6 MW. The electrical concept is the reliable a-synchronous, squirrel cage generator without slip rings. The generator is grid connected through a full power electronic convertor (AC-DC-AC) and operates at variable speed, fully decoupled from the system frequency. The sequence described above is called the cut-in sequence (wind speed increases to 3-5 m/s) and is managed by the wind turbine controller, where the power electronics allow the complete control of the active and reactive output of the turbine. This controller automatically synchronises the turbine with the grid.
What is the projected life of the wind farm and what would the reasons be for the wind farm to be dismantled?
The lease period for the wind farm is 50 years. As part of the consent, it is agreed that the project owner will remove the wind turbines and all associated equipment above the ground at the end of the wind farm’s lifespan. Continuing developments in offshore wind technology are expected to extend the operational life of wind turbines at sea, so that they may be maintained beyond this lifespan. However, this will be up to UK authorities to decide.
Will the electricity produced be used by Norfolk residents?
The electricity produced will be transported to a new substation at Salle, near Cawston, and then enter EDF Energy’s regional grid, eventually connecting to the National Grid in Norwich for general use by British consumers.
What is metres per second in miles per hour and why not use the latter?
One metre per second (m/s) is equal to 2.2 miles per hour. The metric measurement is standard for the wind energy industry globally.
Why do two Norwegian companies want to invest in the UK wind industry?
Both owners - Statkraft and Statoil - have specific reasons for investing in the UK however together, they see the UK as a key market due to the Governmental support regime, the nation’s significant wind resources – the UK has 40% of Europe’s wind resource - and the country’s future energy requirements.
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