BY: Tom Bristow Published: Eastern Daily Press, 30th September 2020
“Our initial analysis already shows the potential for significant cost savings and a reduced need for physical infrastructure but it’s crucially important we hear from a variety of stakeholders in this consultation, including coastal communities, developers and transmission owners. These views will help shape recommendations and proposals as the project moves forward.”
“Balancing decarbonisation, consumer costs, and local community concerns as we move towards net zero is no easy task, and projects already under development need to remain on track if we’re to meet the target of 40GW of offshore generation by 2030.”
“The grid must be able to cope in an era of rapidly increasing volumes of renewable power, intermittent generation, flexible electricity markets, under-sea interconnectors, battery storage, and households both taking electricity from and supplying it back to the grid.
“But this is about more than supplying power to people’s homes - the grid is also the lifeline which will enable industries right across the economy to move away from fossil-fuels and rely on clean electricity instead.”
Looking at the existing regimes, questions have arisen regarding the suitability of the current regulatory regime for offshore wind. It is currently heavily concentrated on competitiveness, which is considered beneficial for consumers. That means that currently there is no sharing of infrastructure, and each wind farm has an individual connection to transmit the power that it generates. There are three material concerns with this: it is financially inefficient; it has a negative environmental impact; it may have a negative impact on coastal communities where connections make landfall.
Eight Offshore Wind Energy Projects are widely believed to be planned to connect to the National Grid at Friston (this does not include future windfarm projects as a result of the seabed leases awarded by the Crown Estate in relation to the Round 4 process). Cumulative impact means eight substations and interconnectors constructed sequentially or consecutively. Plus, the addition of a nuclear power station, one of the largest in the world. This will be the largest complex of energy infrastructure in the U.K. situated in one of the most fragile ecosystems in the U.K. These are judged to be ill-conceived plans where the process of choosing the site for the mega infrastructure hub is shown to be flawed. There are a number of better alternative brownfield sites for this designated vast complex.