Together SSE Renewables and RWE have been active in the East Anglia region since the organisations developed the Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm, located 25 kilometres off the coast of Suffolk in the North Sea. The 504 megawatt (MW) project started construction in 2008 and at the time was the world's largest offshore wind farm. It has 140 wind turbines and was commissioned in September 2012. North Falls is an extension project to Greater Gabbard.

Picture of Mercator Sparker

Extensions timeline

In February 2017, The Crown Estate, manager of the seabed, launched a process for wind farm operators to apply for extensions to their existing projects. This opportunity closed in May 2018, with eight project applications received.

A plan level habitats regulations assessment (HRA), was undertaken to assess the possible impact of the proposed wind farm extensions on relevant nature conservation sites of European importance.

Expert independent advisors were utilised and there were consultations with the statutory marine planning authorities, the statutory nature conservation bodies and a number of non-governmental stakeholders.

In August 2019, The Crown Estate announced the conclusion of the HRA confirming that seven out of eight of the extension application projects put forward in 2017, representing a total generating capacity of 2.85GW, would progress to the award of development rights, including what is now called North Falls Offshore Wind Farm.

The Agreement for Lease between North Falls Offshore Wind Farm and The Crown Estate was signed in Autumn 2020 and the project is now in development with the aim of submitting its application in 2023 and achieving a development consent order (DCO) in 2025.

Construction would then take place in the latter part of the decade with a view to the project being operational by 2030, aligned to net zero targets.

Key facts and figures

20km off UK coast

Located 20 kilometres off the UK coast in the southern North Sea, covering area of 150km2 across two sites

Up to 72 turbines

Potentially it will comprise up to 72 turbines, depending on the size of turbine selected

North Essex

Assuming a radial connection, the onshore grid location is likely to be on the Tendring Peninsula in North Essex


Approximately 22km underground onshore cables to transport the power from landfall to the new substation


Likely investment in UK electricity infrastructure of more than £1.5 billion


Potential to supply more than 400,000 UK homes with their annual electricity needs using clean renewable power

50GW by 2030

Contributing to the UK government's ambitions of 50GW of offshore wind by 2030 (current figure is around 10.5GW)


The development consent order application and supporting environmental assessment and other documents is currently scheduled for submission in 2023


North Falls is being developed by a joint venture company owned equally by SSE Renewables and RWE

High level programme

Date Action

2020 to 2023

Onshore and offshore surveys and studies, project planning and design, stakeholder consultation and community engagement undertaken, along with an Environmental Assessment and Project Level Habitats Regulations Assessment.

Spring 2023

Environmental Impact Assessment completed.
Project Level Habitats Regulations Assessment completed.

Summer 2023

Development Consent Order and supporting Environmental Information submitted to the Planning Inspectorate.


Planning Inspectorate makes recommendation to the Secretary of State.
Secretary of State announces consent decision.


Project design finalised, major component and construction contracts awarded and wind farm constructed.


Wind farm expected to be operational by the end of the decade.