Published: 06:17, 02 August 2018
| Updated: 06:33, 02 August 2018
A Swedish energy group has submitted plans to extend a wind farm off the Kent coast.
Vattenfall's proposal to enlarge Thanet Offshore Wind Farm are to be examined by the Planning Inspectorate later this year.
It would see up to 34 wind turbines deployed by 2023, in a development area adjacent to the existing wind farm, which is about 12km off Foreness Point, near Cliftonville.
The scheme would have a capacity of up to 340MW and would be capable of supplying renewable electricity annually to the equivalent of about 282,000 UK homes.
The Planning Inspectorate's decision to accept the proposed project for examination follows 18-months of engagement and consultation with residents and businesses by the company.
Helen Jameson, Vattenfall's project manager for the Thanet extension, said: "We want to build a wind farm that helps Thanet prosper while contributing to the fight against climate change and a fossil fuel free future.
"If Thanet extension joins our Kent cluster of offshore wind farms it will allow Vattenfall to expand our existing workforce of 75 people currently working from our Ramsgate operations and maintenance base.
"We would also expect to see local businesses benefit from our local investment, especially around the Port of Ramsgate."
The wind farm has been in operation since 2010, consisting of 100 turbines which produce enough clean energy to meet the total annual electricity needs of more than 200,000 UK homes.
When built, it was the world's largest wind farm.
A newsletter is being sent to 88,000 homes in the area to update them on the project's latest developments.
"The rapidly declining costs of offshore wind deployment means that Thanet extension could be one of the lowest cost offshore wind farms in European waters," Ms Jameson added.
"This is thanks to the deployment of cutting-edge turbine technology and the ever increasing efficiency of these machines, one of which would be capable of powering a UK home for 33 hours with one rotation of it blades.
"Thanet extension can also draw on the experience and established supply chain associated with Vattenfall's existing Kent cluster, and exploit O&M synergies in a way that is unique to extension projects."