Ambitious plans to expand a major wind farm and create sustainable energy to power more than one million homes have been welcomed by the Chairman of Greater Brighton.

Rampion 2 could see the current wind farm – which is the only one off the south coast of England – double in size. An additional 116 turbines could generate clean energy which would reduce carbon emissions by around 1.8 million tonnes per year. It would also create green jobs in the City Region.

The team behind it began a site search last year – and have now launched an informal consultation to raise awareness and seek feedback on their initial proposals to expand the existing site, which is eight miles off the coast.

A ‘virtual village hall’ exhibition experience has gone live at www.rampion2.com for people to find out more while sharing views and any local information they think may be mportant for the project design.

A full and formal consultation will follow later in the year, ahead of submission of a development consent application to build the new, clean energy infrastructure project.

Cllr Daniel Humphreys, Chairman of Greater Brighton, welcomed the initial plans, which are set to run through the heart of the City Region – with the offshore cabling due to come ashore at Climping near Littlehampton, then travelling through the South Downs before joining the National Grid at Bolney in Mid Sussex.

He added: “I very much welcome these proposals in principle to expand the hugely successful Rampion offshore wind farm in the City Region. The existing site brings enormous environmental benefits to our area and is a very visible sign of the benefits of developing our growing green and maritime tech sector.

“The formal and unanimous adoption of the GB10 pledges on sustainability last year shows that City Region members are determined in their efforts to be ahead of the curve in environmental innovation and green growth. Capturing clean natural energy is crucial to helping us achieve these aims which will deliver real benefits to the one million residents in our area.”

Rampion 2 is being developed by RWE, one of the UK’s most established and experienced renewable energy producers, on behalf of a joint venture 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.

Online visitors can tour the exhibition to study maps and charts, watch a video flying over the onshore cable route options, find out how the operating Rampion Wind Farm was built, or arrange a virtual meeting with members of the Project Team to ask more detailed questions.

Formal public consultation on detailed proposals will take place in mid-2021 prior to further refinements of final proposals which will form the basis of the Rampion 2 development consent application, planned to be submitted late in 2021.

If consent is awarded, construction would begin 2025/26 at the earliest with a view to having a completed, operational project before the end of the decade, contributing to Government targets to secure clean, green energy supplies and tackle climate change.

Chris Tomlinson, Development & Stakeholder Manager, Rampion 2, said: “Rampion is the only wind farm off the south coast of England and this densely populated region is where much of the electricity demand is concentrated.

“For the past 18 months, we have undertaken a series of desktop studies and site surveys to establish the physical lay of the land. We have also been talking with many local authorities, MPs, parish councils and experts on wildlife, environment, transport, geology, archaeology, business and fishing.

“We will use the results of our investigations and stakeholder engagement to identify the best possible sites for the onshore and offshore project elements, while minimising disturbance to the local community and environment in delivering this vital green energy project.

“At this early stage, we would very much welcome feedback from the Sussex community so that we are aware of all local issues, concerns and constraints as we prepare more detailed proposals for a formal public consultation later this year.”

For more information visit the Rampion 2 website.

For information on the GB10 see the GB10 Pledges page.