The energy company Eon has been given permission to build a £2 billion wind farm between 8 and 15 miles off the coast of Brighton and Hove.
The Rampion Offshore Wind Farm is expected to create 750 jobs and generate enough electricity to power about 450,000 homes.
It was approved by the Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey who said: “We’re driving investment in our energy security, and our plans have made us number one in the world for investment in offshore wind energy.
“This project is great news for Sussex, providing green jobs as well as driving business opportunities right across the country in a sector with a clear roadmap for long-term growth.”
Eon said: “This decision means Rampion is set to become the first offshore wind farm off the south coast of England.
“Consent has been given for a wind farm of between 100 and 175 turbines to be installed around 13 to 20km off the Sussex coast.”
Eon Renewables chief operating officer Michael Lewis said: “Eon is delighted to receive development consent for the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm proposal.
“This is a key milestone for the project and we firmly believe Rampion will play an important role in helping to ensure future security of supply and make a significant contribution towards meeting the UK’s renewable energy targets.”
Rampion development manager Chris Tomlinson said: “This is great news for Eon and for Sussex.
“The wind farm will not only help generate jobs during both construction and operation but also provide a boost to the port regeneration at Newhaven and the local economy.
“We’d like to take the opportunity to thank the Sussex community for the high level of interest they’ve shown in this project, including their responses to our consultations and to the Planning Inspectorate during the examination which has all helped shape the project which we have today.”
The man in charge of Britain’s seabed, Huub den Rooijen, the head of offshore wind at the Crown Estate, said: “Today’s announcement for the Rampion wind farm is great news for the offshore wind industry and with nearly 12GW consented, including over 5GW in operation or under construction, this further reinforces why the UK remains one of the best places to invest in offshore wind globally.”
Eon said that it would continue to keep the local community informed about the project’s progress.
The company said that it would be “working hard over the coming months and years to make sure they are aware of the onshore and offshore activities associated with building the wind farm”.
Eon added: “A final timetable for construction has not yet been agreed but is likely to begin within the next 12 months, with the first sections of the onshore cabling expected to commence spring in 2015.”
The work is expected to take up to four years with the first turbines generating electricity in 2018 or 2019.