Generating energy offshore

Information about generating energy offshore

Offshore generating stations in English waters such as wind farms and wave and tidal devices will require consent before they can be built and before they can generate energy.

Stations which would generate more than 100 megawatts (MW) are classed as nationally significant infrastructure projects and require a development consent order granted by the Secretary of State. This may supersede the need for the other consents outlined below.

Marine licences

The construction of works, deposit of substances or articles, dredging and many other activities require a marine licence from Marine Management Organisation (MMO). Often offshore generating stations will include licensable activities.

You can find more information about how to apply, the activities which require a licence and apply for a licence online.

Electricity Act 1989 consents

You will need consent from MMO to construct, extend or operate any offshore generating stations with a generating capacity of between 1 and 100MW – section 36

You can also apply to remove the public rights of navigation that pass through the generating station, a section 36A declaration. If applying for a section 36A declaration this must be done at the same time as your application for section 36 consent.

Application fees vary depending on the generating capacity of the installation.

If you need both consents you must apply for both at the same time.

Further guidance on section 36 variations

Some electricity generating works may be subject to regulation under the Electricity Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 2000 (as amended) and require an environmental impact assessment to be submitted to the MMO alongside the main application.

Safety zone applications

You can apply to MMO for a safety zone declaration around offshore renewable energy generating stations.

Safety zone applications can be made at the same time as the section 36 consent, or independently.

You should declare whether you intend to apply for a safety zone declaration when you apply for section 36 consent.

Safety zone declarations can have different phases to cover construction, operation and decommissioning, but they do not cover cables (either inter-array or export cables). The usual zone is 500 metres for construction and 50 metres for the operational phase. Further guidance on safety zone consents

Application fees for safety zone consents.

Published 18 September 2014