TWO huge wind farms off the Essex coast are set for massive expansions which could produce enough electricity to power as many as 800,000 extra homes.

Two of the world’s leading offshore wind developers, SSE Renewables and RWE Renewables, have joined forces to develop an extension next to the operational 504 megawatt Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm, 20km east of Walton.

They yesterday announced they have come to an agreement for lease of a 150km square site, to be known as the North Falls Offshore Wind Farm, with the Crown Estate, which manages the seabed.

It is expected that an application will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in 2023 following a consultation.

The wind farm would effectively double in size - providing power for an additional 400,000 homes.

RWE Renewables and its partners, which includes Siemans, have also announced that they have come to an agreement with the Crown Estate for a 149km square extension to the separate Galloper Offshore Wind Farm.

The extension, which will be called Five Estuaries, is currently in the early stages of development

It is also expected to double the size and capacity of the current windfarm, also providing power for 400,000 additional homes.

Five Estuaries project manager Umair Patel said: “We have already successfully delivered the £1.5billion Galloper Wind Farm and are excited to be working together once again on the Five Estuaries Offshore Wind Farm.

“Whilst the project is an extension of the existing wind farm it will be progressed as a national infrastructure energy project on its own merit, going through a separate and comprehensive, development and planning process which we welcome as a responsible developer.

“We are at an early stage of development and would anticipate the project becoming operational around 2030.”

“The new name is a nod to the well-known estuaries along the East coast of England where the project is located.”

Hundreds of jobs were created during the construction of Galloper wind farm and 60 long term jobs in its current operational phase.

A £10 million state-of-the art operations and maintenance facility recently opened at Harwich International Port to support the ongoing running of the wind farm.