By Tom Russell @ 4C Offshore 28 February 2020
North Norfolk District Council, working in partnership with East Suffolk Council, has taken the initiative to express concerns about the impact of proposed onshore National Grid cable connections and wider implications for the District in a letter addressed to the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Under proposed plans, the North Norfolk and East Suffolk local authority areas will see approximately 40% of the UK’s offshore wind generation pass through their districts, having achieved landfall in their districts and then connecting with National Grid infrastructure via onshore cable connections.
The Council says it shares the concerns of local residents, tourism and agricultural businesses that the number of cable corridors and grid related infrastructures now being proposed by offshore wind developments would cause intrusive and avoidable impacts on the district. The letter, penned to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Energy, proposes that the Government explore the development of an Offshore Ring Main, to minimise the construction impacts on the coastal region in the short term and to rationalise grid connections for greater efficiency in the long term. An Offshore Ring Main would connect to the National Grid through one single cable connection, potentially saving the North Norfolk countryside from widespread infrastructure works delivered over many years.
Leader of the Council, Cllr. Sarah Bütikofer, said: “We are the guardians of this beautiful area, and we have an important role to play in balancing the needs of addressing the immediate climate threat, with protecting the North Norfolk countryside and community. We need to find smarter ways of working together for the benefit of all.’’
A recent study says that often wind, solar and hydro schemes have been built inareas of environmental significance and pose a threat to key natural habitats. The authors of the report say that greater care must be taken when planning and permitting renewable facilities. "If we let these developments go ahead, the biodiversity will be gone long before climate change starts affecting it.....we are not saying that renewables are bad, we just need to put them in the right places."
European grid operators want to combine 10-gigawatt offshore turbine clusters, interconnectors and hydrogen. It no longer looks like a pipe dream.