There are now FIVE CONFIRMED ENERGY PROJECTS PLANNED TO CONNECT TO THE GRID IN THE SIZEWELL TO FRISTON AREA. That is, East Anglia One North Offshore Wind Farm (EA1N), East Anglia Two Offshore Wind Farm (EA2), Nautilus Interconnector, Eurolink Interconnector and now Sea Link Interconnector. (Scroll down for further information on these projects). The sad reality is this is just the beginning. It is widely believed that SCD2 Interconnector, North Falls Offshore Wind Farm and Five Estuaries Offshore Wind Farm could follow. With the addition of Sizewell C Nuclear Power Station, this will become the largest complex of energy infrastructure in the UK. An energy hub on an enormous scale. The substations planned for ScottishPower Renewables (SPR’s) projects alone are nearly three times the size of Wembley Stadium.
We are beginning to see the true extent of National Grid’s plans for rural East Suffolk. The cumulative adverse impacts of these projects are devastating:
- Multiple landfalls on a fragile coastline of coralline crag (which is sand-based and already crumbling) near Thorpeness.
- Multiple cable routes to run for approximately 9 km through the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), the Leiston-Aldeburgh SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), the Sandlings SPA (Special Protected Area) and multiple villages to connect to the National Grid at an energy hub located in the heart of the ancient village of Friston in rural Suffolk.
- Research commissioned by the Suffolk Coast Destination Management Organisation (DMO), suggests that new energy projects on the Suffolk coastline could damage one of the UK’s most successful nature based tourism centres by up to £40 million per annum. This will crucially lead to loss of jobs in hospitality and other tourist related businesses.
- Intolerable noise pollution, light pollution and air pollution to local communities, wildlife and livestock.
It is needless destruction when it is clear that there are more appropriate brownfield or industrialised sites such as Grain, which are better aligned with the government’s environmental policy AND wind energy policy.
Despite repeated requests from the Inspectors and Interested Parties, SPR NEVER PROVIDED A COMPLETE CUMULATIVE IMPACT ASSESSMENT OF ENERGY PROJECTS PLANNED FOR THE IMMEDIATE AREA. They claimed that “there remains insufficient information to undertake the assessment requested.” This argument is not credible when one considers the evidence in the public domain on these projects.
This evidence has been clearly documented by SEAS and others. (Deadline 13 Submission [REP13-072], Deadline 11 Submission [REP11-183], Deadline 9 [REP9- 087], Deadline 8 [REP8-242], Deadline 6 [REP6-141] and Deadline 5 [REP5-115]).
ENERGY PROJECTS PLANNED TO CONNECT TO THE GRID IN THE SIZEWELL TO FRISTON AREA
1. East Anglia One North (EA1N) Offshore Wind Farm, ScottishPower Renewables
An offshore wind farm which could consist of up to 67 turbines, generators and associated infrastructure, with an installed capacity of up to 800MW, located 36km from Lowestoft and 42km from Southwold. From landfall the cables will be routed underground to an onshore substation at Friston, which will in turn connect into the national electricity grid via a National Grid substation and cable sealing end compounds, the latter to be owned and operated by National Grid.
- SEAS ScottishPower EA1N/2 Webpage
- The Planning Inspectorate’s EA1N Webpage: The Planning Inspectorate’s Examination has ended. The Examining Authority issued a Recommendation Report to the Secretary of State on 06 October 2021. The Secretary of State has set a new deadline for the decision for this application which is 31 March 2022
- ScottishPower Renewables EA1N Webpage
2. East Anglia Two (EA2) Offshore Wind Farm, ScottishPower Renewables
An offshore wind farm which could consist of up to 75 turbines, generators and associated infrastructure, with an installed capacity of up to 900MW, located 37km from Lowestoft and 32km from Southwold. From landfall, the cables will be routed underground to an onshore substation at Friston which will in turn connect into the national electricity grid via a National Grid substation and cable sealing end compounds, the latter to be owned and operated by National Grid.
- SEAS ScottishPower EA1N/2 Webpage
- The Planning Inspectorate’s EA2 Webpage: The Planning Inspectorate’s Examination has ended. The Examining Authority issued a Recommendation Report to the Secretary of State on 06 October 2021. The Secretary of State has set a new deadline for the decision for this application which is 31 March 2022
- ScottishPower Renewables EA2 Webpage
National Grid Substation
Within ScottishPower’s applications for EA1N and EA2 there is an ADDITIONAL National Grid Substation. If EA1N and EA2 are approved it will mean THREE substations, an excess of 35 acres of land for infrastructure and an area of over 100 acres for screening or quite possibly further offshore wind substation development.
3. Nautilus Interconnector, National Grid Ventures
Nautilus Interconnector is a proposed second Interconnector between Great Britain and Belgium. It would create a new 1.4 gigawatts (GW) high voltage direct current (HVDC) electricity link between the transmission systems of these two countries. The project would involve the construction of a converter station in each country (24 metres high in the case of Suffolk) and the installation of offshore and onshore underground direct current cables (HVDC) between each converter station and underground alternating current cables (HVAC) between the converter station and substation. In the UK, the offer from National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) allows for a connection of a new 400kV substation located close to the Sizewell 400kV network. The current NGET substation location being promoted is Friston.
- SEAS Nautilus Webpage: The recently published proposals by National Grid Ventures (NGV) concerning Nautilus Interconnector combined with the planning applications for ScottishPower Renewables (SPR) East Anglia One North (EA1N) and East Anglia Two (EA2) offshore wind projects reveal the hard evidence that Suffolk Coast and Heaths is in grave danger of mass industrialisation. The onshore devastation can be seen all too clearly on this map which shows kilometres of additional cable corridors gouging through our protected landscapes and a further converter station looming 24 metres high and concreting over an additional 12 acres of greenbelt land. If we can’t stop Scottish Power’s EA1N and EA2 DCO application or obtain a ‘Split Decision’ it will open the flood gates, Nautilus being the first to follow on.
- The Planning Inspectorate’s Nautilus Webpage: The Application is at the pre-application stage with NGV having made initial consultations with local communities. The application is expected to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in the second quarter of 2023.
- National Grid Ventures, Nautilus Webpage:
4. Eurolink Interconnector, National Grid Ventures
EuroLink is a proposal to build a High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission cable between the UK and the Netherlands. The capacity of the link will be 1400 MW. No consultations for Eurolink have yet been carried out but are due to begin this year.
5. Sea Link Interconnector (SCD1), National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET)
It is dispiriting to report that NGET has recently confirmed their intention to connect Sea Link into the ‘Sizewell Area’. Sea Link is a new offshore HVDC link between Suffolk and Kent, the purpose of which is to take the power brought in by EA1N/2, Nautilus and Eurolink from Suffolk down to Kent to distribute within the Thames Valley where it is needed.
In early January 2022, Sea Link sent a letter to Town Councils in the area suggesting a meeting to inform councillors of the project background and next steps and to listen to their views. SEAS welcomes this meeting but believes this should be an open meeting for all people to attend. We urge you to write to your Town Council requesting that they organise a meeting with Sea Link but that this meeting needs to be an open meeting for ALL stakeholders.
“During 2022, we will engage with key stakeholders and undertake a number of onshore and offshore surveys to inform our proposal, which we intend to present at a public consultation in the summer.” Letter to Town Councils from Sea Link
6. SCD2 Interconnector, National Grid Electricity Transmission
SCD2 is a proposed second subsea UK grid connection to link Suffolk & Kent.
7. North Falls Offshore Wind Farm (Greater Gabbard Extension), Scottish and Southern Electricity/RWE
An offshore electricity generating station approximately 24.5km from its nearest point at the Port of Lowestoft. It is estimated to have an installed capacity in excess of 100MW and will comprise offshore wind turbines together with associated infrastructure (onshore and offshore) including a connection to the electricity transmission network. North Falls project is currently undergoing public consultation, (North Falls Wind Farm consultation) and exploring cable landing between Frinton and Holland on Sea.
8. Five Estuaries Offshore Wind Farm, RWE
Five Estuaries Offshore Wind Farm is the sister project of the existing 353 MW Galloper Wind Farm, 30 km off the coast of Suffolk.
- The Planning Inspectorate’s Five Estuaries Webpage: The application is expected to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in the third quarter of 2023.
- Five Estuaries Offshore Wind Farm Website
Cumulative Impact - SEAS Submissions into the EA1N/2 Examination
- SEAS Submission Final Submission Re: Cumulative Impact, 6 October 2021
- SEAS Supplementary Submission on Cumulative Impact Deadline 13 – 5 July 2021
- Cumulative Impact, Evidence from National Grid, SEAS Deadline 11 Submission
- Cumulative Impact, SEAS Deadline 9 Submission
- Cumulative impact, SEAS Deadline 8 Submission
- Norfolk Vanguard and cumulative impact, SEAS Deadline 6 Submission
- Cumulative Impact, SEAS Deadline 5 and Deadline 1 Submission
- Cumulative Impact, SEAS Deadline 4 Submission
- Cumulative impact, SEAS Deadline 3 Submission
- Cumulative impact, SEAS Deadline 2 Submission
- NGESO and NGETS, Deadline 2 Submission
The Way Forward - A Split Decision
SEAS has called on the Examining Authorities to recommend to the Secretary of State a 'split decision' so that:
- The offshore turbines are recommended for consent.
- The onshore infrastructure is rejected in favour of full consideration of better locations for this infrastructure where the adverse impacts are minimised at a brownfield or industrialised site.
Campaigners call for 'split decision' over Suffolk windfarm projects, East Anglian Daily Times, 19 July 2021
The Way Forward - Offshore Integration
The benefits of an integrated offshore transmission network far outweigh any benefit gained from continuing with a radial transmission system.
Crossed Wires: Maintaining public support for offshore wind farms, Policy Exchange, July 2021
The Offshore Co-ordination Phase 1 Final Report, NGESO, 16 December 2020, NGESO: “Adopting an integrated approach for all offshore projects to be delivered from 2025 has the potential to save consumers approximately £6 billion, or 18% in capital and operating expenditure between now and 2050”. Importantly, footnote 5 states, “This means applying an integrated approach to all offshore projects that have not yet received consent”.
Energy White Paper, Powering our Net Zero Future, December 2020
On 6 November 2020, in response to Mr Duncan Baker’s adjournment debate, the then Energy Minister, and now the newly appointed Secretary of State for the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), Mr Kwarteng, made a very encouraging response and said, amongst other things:
- The offshore wind industry had evolved since 2015;
- There was a shift in the industry towards integration.
- Point to point transmission was recognised as having severe detrimental impacts onshore
- Technology was available to build an offshore integrated network
- Industry was engaged through the OTNR
- The argument for some form of offshore network has been won
In July 2020 the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy announced a major Review, the Offshore Transmission Network Review to address the barriers it presents to further significant development of offshore wind, with a view to achieving net zero.
The findings of the Integrated Offshore Transmission Project (East) 2015 Report concluded that an integrated offshore solution was in the interests of the UK as a whole.
It is illogical for further radial connections to the grid to be approved. The acutely detrimental impacts of radial connections must now be properly recognised in the Planning Balance.
What is a 'MOG'? Is it the answer?, SEAS, June 2020
In the Press
UK National Grid in talks to build an energy island in the North Sea, New Scientist, 11 October 2021
'Money can't compensate' for disruption caused by offshore wind, campaigners say, EADT July 2021
Prime Minister says coast could be the 'Riyadh of offshore wind' in PMQs, EasternDaily Press, 24 February 20021
U.K. Power Grid Moving Offshore to Support $27 Billion Wind Boom, Bloomberg, December 2020
Outdated regulation is slowing investment in onshore electricity grid, The Guardian, 1 November 2020
Offshore Wind in UK – Roadmap Required, Offshore Wind, October 26 2020
Change the way offshore wind farms connect and save billions - report finds, Eastern Daily Press, September 20 2020
Offshore wind blows hole in case for National Grid electricity role, The Times, October 8 2020
Modular Offshore Grid (MOG) - Can these ideas stop the countryside being dug up? Eastern Daily Press, June 27 2020
Norfolk MPs lobby Kwasi Kwarteng, Energy Minister at BEIS, SASES, 11 June 2020
Greenpeace suggests taking a more 'strategic approach' to offshore wind grid infrastructure, including increasing the number of grid connections to land shared between several projects, ReNEWS.BIZ, June 4 2020
Offshore Ring Main (ORM) feasibility study announced after Norfolk MPs met with Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng to discuss their concerns, Eastern Daily Press, June 2 2020
NORTH SEA INTEGRATION
North Seas ministers seek rules for meshed offshore wind grid, Recharge, December 4 2019
Denmark maps seas for future offshore wind farms and energy islands, Recharge, June 8 2020
Denmark confirms massive wind plans for 'world's first energy islands' in North Sea and Baltic , Recharge May 20 2020
Denmark eyes 10GW offshore wind 'islands' in $45bn plan, Recharge, December 2019
Growing chorus’ endorses multi-user transmission system, Riviera May 2020
Multi-user US offshore grid could 'save $1bn' ReNEWS.Biz, May 2020
Report Finds $1B in Grid Upgrade Savings, Other Benefits in Planned Transmission Approach to Offshore Wind, Yahoo Finance, May 2020