Swedish firm Vattenfall has started the planning process for two offshore windfarms totalling 3.6GW in the eastern North Sea, 47km off the UK's Norfolk coast.
The company will begin development work on the Norfolk Vanguard wind project this year, with plans to begin development of the Norfolk Boreas project in 2017.
Vattenfall Norfolk Vanguard project manager Ruari Lean said: "Vattenfall wants to work with Norfolk to capture the benefits of offshore wind. There is an opportunity for Norfolk business and securing Norfolk jobs."
Vattenfall intends to apply for planning permission for the Norfolk Vanguard wind project in 2018 with consent expected in late-2019.
The two windfarms would follow the planning process for nationally significant infrastructure projects, Vattenfall said.
Vattenfall Wind head Gunnar Groebler said: "We are very pleased to have been given a green light to develop this northern part of the large East Anglia region.
"It will deliver a substantial increase of electricity for the UK, and will also enable Vattenfall to continue expanding its focus on renewable energy production."
Clean electricity generated at the windfarms in the northern half of the East Anglia Offshore Wind Farm development zone will be enough to power 2.6 million UK homes.
The Norfolk Vanguard project will help Vattenfall in achieving its target of having 7GW of installed wind capacity in Northern Europe by 2025 as the company shifts its focus to a more sustainable energy business.
Expected to secure financing in 2022 or 2023, the Norfolk Vanguard windfarm will be built at a cost of around £5.5bn, as reported by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Since 2010, Vattenfall and ScottishPower Renewables have been jointly developing wind projects in East Anglia Development Zone. However, the firms agreed to split it in two in 2015 to develop the projects separately within the zone.
Image: Vattenfall plans to have 7GW of installed wind capacity in Northern Europe by 2025. Photo: courtesy of xedos4 /FreeDigitalPhotos.net.