Sea Link Interconnector

What is Sea Link Interconnector?

It is dispiriting to report that NGET (National Grid Electricity Transmission) has recently confirmed their intention to connect Sea Link Interconnector into the ‘Leiston 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 East Anglia One North (EA1N), East Anglia Two (EA2), Nautilus, Eurolink and Sizewell from Suffolk down to Kent to distribute within the Thames Valley where it is needed.

This means there are now five confirmed energy projects planned to connect to the grid in the Leiston area.

Onshore Infrastructure

The sheer scale of the onshore infrastructure and cable corridors needed for this array of ever emerging offshore wind projects is horrifying.

Sea Link Interconnector will require an additional 6 hectare site, within 5 km of the proposed National Grid substation at Friston, to accommodate a converter station up to 30 metres high.  The Friston substation itself will also need to be extended.

This will lead to further needless onshore environmental destruction.

The Way Forward – What do SEAS Think ?

Why not take the power from these windfarms and interconnectors directly to where it is needed via subsea cables and connect them to the grid at a brownfield site closer to the centres of population further south. Could this not negate the need for Sea Link Interconnector altogether?

SEAS and SASES joint letter to Sea Link, January 2022

Timeline and Next Steps

In summer 2022, NGET will hold a public consultation to outline their emerging proposals. This will include their early proposals for the routing of the onshore and undersea cables, together with potential landfall and converter station locations. The consultation will also explain the level of coordination that may be possible between Sea Link and the proposals for Nautilus Interconnector (no mention of coordination with SPR).

These consultations will be a mixture of in person and online events.  

Further Information

Website: www.nationalgrid.com/sealink

Email:  contact@sealink.nationalgrid.com

Post:  FREEPOST Sea Link

Free Phone: 0808 134 9569

Sea Link Interconnector Timeline

Summer 2022
Non Statutory consultation
EIA Scoping Submitted to PINS

Summer 2023
Pre-consultation stakeholder briefings
Statutory consultation

Summer/Autumn 2023
Update Stakeholders

Summer/Autumn 2024
Submission of DCO Application

Autumn 2025
DCO Examination and Decision

Winter 2025
Commence discharge of requirements

2026 – 2030
Construction

What SEAS say about Sea Link Interconnector
Sea Link Interconnector Key Documents

 

 

 

Sea Link Interconnector in the Press
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:

  1. The offshore turbines are recommended for consent.
  2. 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.
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.

Key Documents

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
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

EUROPE

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

The USA

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

 

 

 

As of early evening on 31 March 2022, ScottishPower Renewables East Anglia One North and East Anglia Two offshore wind projects have been consented.

A difficult time for many and for those directly affected, hard to bear.

We have all challenged and opposed with reason, emotion and determination.  Sadly, our voices did not prevail.

"It is a total disaster for this area and by implication the rest of the UK ... We are suggesting we can find brownfield sites, clean them up and build the hubs there, not in this kind of pristine ancient farm land."

Onshore eyesores that come with offshore wind farms to be shrunk.

Plan to reduce unsightly infrastructure such as cables, substations and pylons in government push to get coastal communities onside.

Legal action threatened over wind farms

Communities in Suffolk are threatening legal action.  SEAS has sent a pre-action protocol letter to Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng urging a rethink before seeking permission to apply for a judicial review.

Campaigners 'devastated' after two large wind farms off Suffolk coast given consent.

"This is extremely bad news for the area ... We're thinking about taking this decision to a judicial review."  Fiona Gilmore SEAS

The decision would mean "the devastation of Friston and east Suffolk ... It will mean the loss of 100 acres of farmland at Friston to build the substation."  SASES

 

Concern over imminent decision on wind farms ...

... we are proud of having renewables at sea. We are very proud of it, but we believe that there are better solutions for the sub-stations, not just for habitats and the environment, but also for the local economy ..."  Fiona Gilmore, SEAS

"We are recommending brownfield sites ... and have requested a split decision ... to prevent the loss of land designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty ..." Sarah Courage, Kelsale

"Wind energy can be gathered from three or four windfarms at offshore platforms and brought to brownfield hubs ..."  Fiona Gilmore, SEAS

Celebrities speak out against onshore energy hub

"Sir ... A split decision is suggested, to continue building wind turbines but to pivot to offshore integrated cabling to brownfield sites."

Dame Joanna Lumley and actor Ralph Fiennes have warned in a joint letter that two planned wind farms off the Suffolk coast could see an area of beautiful countryside "disappear under a sea of concrete".

 

The largest onshore energy hub in the UK is anything but green. Developers have chosen an outdated, cheap, easy location for their own benefit. There is a better way forward. Energy can be taken to a brownfield site, closer to London where it is needed.

Green Party, Liberal Democrat and Independent councillors at  East Suffolk Council have said further work should be paused ...

"I understand this is a big challenge for Government and developers but our communities really do need to see some action now, after what has been a lot of talking, it is time to get a grip." 

"If this means calling a pause to further onshore activity until strategic co-ordination is in place, then so be it"  
East Anglian Daily Times, 10 February 2022

At last, a journalist Laura Hughes, has taken time to visit, interview and research in to the particular problems associated with substations and how power from different wind farms can now be integrated at sea and brought to land via a reduced number of cables with brownfield sites used for clustering substations and inter-connectors.
Suffolk residents and Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council rail against plans for Nautilus onshore energy project in East Suffolk, 12 January 2022

Interview with SEAS biodiversity expert Dr. Gill Horrocks  The podcast highlights the importance of balancing our need for renewable energy with the need to look after irreplaceable landscapes that bring a richness not just to wildlife but to human habitation and to our communities and to people's quality of life.

National Grid Ventures and Nautilus Interconnector between Suffolk and Belgium.

"Greener solution tabled to replace ‘destructive’ Suffolk energy plans", New Civil Engineer, 20 September 2021

"The onshore aspects of these projects must be rejected"  The Rt Hon Dr Therese Coffey MP

Campaigners call for 'split decision' over Suffolk windfarm projects, East Anglian Daily Times, 19 July 2021

Write to Secretary of State, The Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, calling for him to pronounce a 'split decision'.

The terrifying scale of ground investigation works at the substation site of Friston. A tiny foretaste of what is to come if we do not stop these plans.

Interviews with Sarah Bardwell, Andrew Heald, Jason Gathorne-Hardy, Maggi Hambling, George Pell, Jenny Hall, Tony Bone and others.

New Policy Exchange Report, touts East Coast of England as the best place for an integrated 'Pathfinder' project.

Our congratulations to the two newly elected Councillors for East Suffolk Council.  Notably both candidates support a ‘Split Decision’ as a way forward.

Campaign With Us

We are asking you to write, to the Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), The Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, calling for him to reconsider a 'split decision' so that:

  1. The offshore turbines are recommended for consent.
  2. 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.

Email: secretary.state@beis.gov.uk

cc: Minister.Hands@beis.gov.uk
therese.coffey.mp@parliament.uk
michael.gove@communities.gov.uk
George.eustice.mp@parliament.uK
offshore.coordination@beis.gov.uk
offshore.coordination@ofgem.gov.uk
box.offshorecoord@nationalgridESO.com 
InfrastructurePlanning@communities.gov.uk
Richard.Rout@suffolk.gov.uk
craig.rivett@eastsuffolk.gov.uk
Russ.Rainger@eastsuffolk.gov.uk
Tom.Daly@eastsuffolk.gov.uk
andrew.reid@suffolk.gov.uk

bcc: info@suffolkenergyactionsolutions.co.uk

or

Send a Letter:‍ 1 Victoria St., London SW1H 0ET‍

Yes to Offshore Wind Energy, Let's Do it Right

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