At Saturday’s Hustings in Aldeburgh, Paul Chandler asked the question that we all wanted to ask. To summarise: would the candidates oppose the current plans and call for a full Review to seek better offshore solutions?
All four speakers in their own ways reassured the audience that they would do everything to halt this DCO process and reassess the options.
We do wonder why things had to get to this worrying stage before Ministers and Councillors started to talk sensibly about alternatives. Why on earth has it taken so long? Reports have been available to be considered and taken forward since at least 2011.
New legislation may be required, but where there is a will, there is a speedy way of making it happen.
Jules Ewart did challenge Dr. Thérèse Coffey as to why had things had to reach this cliff edge point? People had suffered needlessly in the process, some very seriously.
Perhaps, Therese has been working hard behind the scenes to bring heads together to explore a more holistic strategy.
Certainly, it has been quite a revelation for us all to hear Therese say these words:
“ I am very aware of the cumulative impact. While at DEFRA I tried hard for three years. I recently got Kwasi Kwartung and Andrea Leadsom to get engaged...we are aware of the very serious impact, I have referenced Bradwell as an alternative brownfield site, an ideal place. I have met with the National Grid. We must not desecrate coastal Suffolk. Parts of the legislation are working against a co-ordinated strategy. We do need to make the transition to Renewables. We only called it the Energy Coast because we wanted to attract the energy companies to set up offices in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, not in Hull. “
We are being asked to trust politicians. Can we trust these promises?
The North Sea Wind Power Hub (NSWPH) has stated publicly that it wants to engage with both the Norwegian and U.K. authorities to pull them into the development of the offshore hub. As well as offshore wind expertise and access to the North Sea, both can also use oil and gas know-how to store hydrogen in offshore reservoirs and retrofit gas pipelines to transport hydrogen instead. A spokesperson for BEIS said: “The government recognizes the benefits of hybrid projects, including joint interconnector and wind projects, which may develop into efficient and cost-effective solutions to help the U.K. decarbonize. We are continuing to engage with stakeholders and developers to understand the potential benefits of these projects.”
Installing an additional 30GW within ten years will require significant changes to a range of policy frameworks, and co-operation between government and industry, writes Christopher Hopson