The Crown Estate has approved an additional 2GW of offshore wind capacity from the Round 1 and 2 project extensions, which is expected to be enough electricity to meet the needs of up to 1.4 million homes in the UK.

Three Round 1 and Round 2 offshore wind farm operators have been selected to extend five sites, creating an additional 1.7GW. In addition, a further 340MW has been offered to increase capacity within the current Round 1 and 2 site areas for two other projects.

These awards will help to provide a stable flow of construction projects to the offshore wind supply chain in advance of Round 3, Crown Estate said.

The selected developers are existing Round 1 and 2 operators and will finalize agreements with Crown Estate in the coming weeks. After this, developers will commence the statutory consenting process. Each area extension will require a full, new planning application including an Environmental Impact Assessment and a full consultation.

The Crown Estate will only grant a lease allowing construction to start when statutory consents have been obtained from appropriate decision making bodies.

SSE Renewables and RWE Npower Renewables have got approval to extend their Greater Gabbard project off the coast of Suffolk. Vattenfall Wind Power has received permission to extend its Kentish Flats and Thanet projects off the coast of Kent, and Dong Wind UK has got approval for entension of its Burbo Bank in Liverpool Bay and Walney in Cumbria.

It is anticipated that construction of the Round 1 and 2 extensions will commence in 2014, subject to consents, with completion of all projects by the end of 2016 in advance of Round 3. In making the awards, Crown Estate has placed emphasis on the timely delivery of the additional offshore wind capacity.

The extensions will benefit from synergies with the original projects, with in some cases the potential for the sharing of construction crews and vessels, as well as electrical systems, construction bases, ports and onshore facilities, according to Crown Estate.