Breakthrough for Sheringham turbines

Offshore windfarm backers have found a way to stop their turbines off north Norfolk hampering military radar in a major breakthrough for the green energy industry.

Offshore windfarm backers have found a way to stop their turbines off north Norfolk hampering military radar in a major breakthrough for the green energy industry.

It sees them paying £3m to solve a technical glitch that was hampering a £1bn project at Sheringham Shoal.

And a national wind energy group has welcomed the move as a pioneering deal which should help set the pattern for solving similar problems elsewhere.

The 88-turbine scheme, 17-23km off the coast, is due to provide enough power for 220,000 homes when it becomes operational in late 2011. Onshore work starts in the new year and offshore construction in 2010.


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Developer Scira hit problems with Ministry of Defence objections, however, because the spinning blades on the 130m tall turbines would show up on defence radar screens.

The project owner, Norwegian-based Statoilhydro, is paying for improvements to the radars at Trimingham in north Norfolk and Staxton Wold in Lincolnshire, said Scira spokesman Sue Vincent.

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An MOD spokesman confirmed it was satisfied the “mitigation measures” would prevent unacceptable radar interference, but stressed it was “not considered a breakthrough solution for all MoD aviation radar issues”.

Ms Vincent said there would be a major benefit to the local economy through the use of hotels, plant hire, building suppliers, electrical contractors and builders.

It has also emerged that a mini “outer harbour” is planned at Wells to enable the tidal port to become the main servicing centre for the major project both during and after construction.

Dredging and pontoons near the lifeboat house would allow boats to take workmen to the offshore windfarm at all times rather than be restricted by high tides. An assessment was being carried out into the harbour extension which could also help other vessels, including those of fishermen.

Talks with local fishermen over the level of “disruption payments” for the handful affected by the scheme were currently in stalemate however, she added.

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