ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) has received a prestigious global award for its efforts to protect the environment and give back to the planet while constructing its flagship East Anglia ONE offshore windfarm.
SPR’s East Anglia ONE Environment Team was named winner of the Energy Institute Awards’ Environment category for its considered and sensitive work during the development and installation of the windfarm.
The Energy Institute Awards celebrate the biggest accomplishments in the energy sector, with the Environment Award recognising schemes and projects that enhance and protect the environment, demonstrating a responsible and ethical commitment to managing the risks of energy to the environment.
East Anglia ONE, which consists of 102 wind turbines situated 43km off the Suffolk coast, produces enough renewable energy to power the equivalent of more than 630,000 homes every year.*
Judges heard how the project’s Environment Team went far beyond its statutory responsibility to minimise and mitigate the impact of the project on the onshore environment, putting extensive plans in place to protect the area and help native species thrive.
From the earliest stages of planning and research, the team carried out painstaking work to fully understand the local area, creating protection plans for local wildlife.
Meticulous assessments were carried out daily, with teams searching locations on hands and knees to check the wellbeing of species and their habitats. Major work was paused to protect nesting Marsh Harriers which were then monitored daily for hours, and innovative methods of rejuvenating areas were used to allow natural land to regenerate.
These efforts are supported by a five-year commitment to monitoring and protecting the area – ensuring it flourishes for years to come.
Charlie Jordan, SPR’s UK Offshore Wind Director, said: “It’s a real honour to receive this award, which is testament to the passion we have for our environmental responsibilities and a great example of the lengths we go to to ensure nature and biodiversity work hand in hand with clean energy projects.”
“We’re acutely aware that in our efforts to tackle the climate emergency and deliver much-needed renewable energy projects like East Anglia ONE, there will be an impact on the local environment.”
“We work extremely hard to mitigate this through protection measures, restoration, enhancement and reinstatement programmes and it’s clear to see that these do work and have the desired effect on the landscape and on wildlife.”
“Because of the in-depth work that went into protecting Marsh Harriers, we’ve seen chicks fledging beside our site work year after year. And a natural drainage system created at the substation was landscaped to become a wetland habitat that’s now home to Great Crested Newts, dragonfly, and multiple bird species.”
“We’re incredibly proud of this legacy and it’s great to see our work recognised by the Energy Institute Awards. We’re setting the standard for enabling green energy infrastructure to work in harmony with nature and that will make a real difference as renewables becomes a bigger part of the energy mix in the UK and a bigger part of our daily lives.”
*Based on the following calculation: 714MW (installed capacity) x 0.3836 “offshore wind” average load factor (Digest of UK Energy Statistics) x 8,766 hours (hours per year)/3,781MWh (average domestic annual consumption) = 634,997 homes powered equivalent
About East Anglia ONE:
The East Anglia ONE offshore windfarm was completed during lockdown 2020 and is one of the largest offshore windfarms in the world. It comprises 102 offshore wind turbines – situated 43km off the Suffolk coast – with the capacity to produce 714MW of clean energy – enough to power the equivalent of more than 630,000 homes every year.
It is a perfect example of the difference projects like this can make and the lasting legacies they deliver for the environment and the economy.
- Overall investment of £2.5 billion in clean, green energy
- £25 million invested in a state-of-the-art operations and maintenance base at Lowestoft Port, delivering 100 long-term skilled jobs.
- £5 million co-invested in Great Yarmouth Port to prepare the facility for construction and assembly of the turbine components.
- Creating a huge amount of local and national employment, supporting almost 3,500 jobs at the peak of construction.
- £70 million committed to local suppliers delivering works across the East of England, driving jobs and investment to local communities
- More than half of the project’s supply chain provided by the UK market.
Examples of outcomes from SPR’s programme of work in East Anglia include:
- sponsorship of ten engineering masters at the University of East Anglia;
- recruitment of four local young people for a new offshore wind apprenticeship programme, where the individuals work on the EA1 project;
- sponsorship of 26 places to date at the Offshore Wind Skills Centre, with a focus on retraining experienced engineers from the wider offshore or engineering sectors;
- funding the development of an online website for Skills for Energy, which launched in 2021 including a careers hub, industry information and digital content for individuals looking to find out more about the energy industry; and
- supporting International Women in Engineering Day events across East Anglia, with more than 1,000 young females engaged since 2018.