It is inevitable that if EA1N and EA2 are approved at Friston then National Grid will consider the suitability of this site for other connections. Whilst National Grid and SPR refuse to provide information there are currently seven offshore wind energy projects and interconnectors that are widely believed to be planned to connect to the National Grid at Friston to form an Energy Hub. With the addition of Sizewell C Nuclear Power Station, this will become the largest complex of energy infrastructure in the UK.
- East Anglia One North Offshore Wind Farm
- East Anglia Two Offshore Wind Farm
- Nautilus Interconnector
- Eurolink Interconnector
- North Falls Offshore Wind Farm (Greater Gabbard Extension)
To locate an Energy Hub, in the midst of one of the UK’s most fragile nature-based tourism destinations will lead to: the decimation of a thriving tourism economy, a principal revenue stream for the Suffolk Heritage Coast; the destruction of biodiversity as multiple cable corridors cut through the protected landscapes of the Suffolk AONB and Suffolk Sandlings, and the decline of the health and well-being of those rural communities whose lives will never be the same. It is needless destruction when it is clear that there are more appropriate brownfield or industrialised sites such as Bradwell or Grain, which are better aligned with government policy.
The Applicant has failed to carry out a robust Cumulative Impact Assessment of these additional projects, claiming 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 (see below) and others.
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.
Wasteful windpower firms will feel the force, Janice Turner, The Times, 29 October 2020
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.
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
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