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. This will mean that no time is wasted in respect of construction of the turbines.
- 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/ industrialised site.
Our case, from the very outset, has been that the adverse impacts of this particular onshore site location substantially outweigh the benefits of the application when taken as a whole. We do not challenge the offshore location or construction of EA1N or EA2. But we do challenge the onshore location of infrastructure. If the Applications are split and the offshore elements are approved, then there needs to be no delay with regard to the construction of the turbines. The Secretary of State for the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy has the power to approve wind farm applications without approving any radial transmission system or site location. There is a notable precedent. The well documented case study is Triton Knoll, where the offshore consent was granted in 2013 and amended to allow onshore connection in 2016.
This would give time for a substation site to be chosen as part of a strategic assessment which takes into account the protection of our cherished landscapes and looks at where the power will actually be required.
Alternative Sites for a Grid Connection
There are a number of different site options.
1. Bradwell, as the Rt Hon Dr Therese Coffey, our local MP, has consistently proposed, which is the site of a redundant National Grid Substation. “The long-term capacity of Bradwell as an integrated Wind Energy Hub has significantly greater potential than the Friston site. It is closer to London and on the coast thus negating the need for cable corridors to be dug and re-dug with every future wind farm project attempting to connect to the Grid. It is a brownfield site and in need of development ….” Therese Coffey MP [Rep10-070]
Whilst Bradwell would need investment in the onshore grid to accommodate offshore energy, these expenses might well be more than offset by the savings made offshore: “Adopting an integrated approach for all offshore projects to be delivered from 2025 has the potential to save consumers approximately £6 billion” NGESO Offshore Coordination Phase 1 Final Report
2. Bramford, as proposed by the late Chris Wheeler of SASES [REP9-076] and [REP12-127]. An alternative grid connection for EA1N and EA2, with ONE cable trench (instead of the four cable trenches that are currently proposed for the connection of these same wind farms to Friston) to connect EA1N and EA2 to the existing NGET substation site of Bramford, at which SPR already owns land, thereby substantially reducing onshore environmental impacts. This alternative is understood to be compliant with the existing Ofgem regulatory environment.
3. Isle of Grain, an existing industrialised substation site on the coast which would result in significantly less environmental and socio-economic damage. Its proximity to London and the Kent connections for export to other North Sea Countries means the power is brought onshore close to centres of demand. Grain was the original preferred option for Nautilus according to the presentation given by National Grid Ventures in November 2018 to the Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB.
For the sake of our future legacy, to future generations, we appeal to BEIS, to Ofgem, to ScottishPower and National Grid to hear our voices and take the initiative now to grasp this golden opportunity to find better integrated solutions using a brownfield or industrialised site which minimises environmental and community damage.
The Way Forward - A Split Decision
SEAS is calling on the Secretary of State to:
1. Take a more strategic approach to the location of all onshore infrastructure for offshore wind so that onshore energy hubs are built on brownfield sites and our unspoilt and protected landscapes are saved.
2. To reconsider his decision on East Anglia One North and East Anglia Two and recommend a ‘split decision’ so that:
(i) The offshore turbines are recommended for consent.
(ii) 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.
Campaigners call for 'split decision' over Suffolk windfarm projects, East Anglian Daily Times, 19 July 2021
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.
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 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
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
THE BEIS REVIEW AND THE CHANGING POLICY ENVIRONMENT
- SEAS Additional Submission The Changing Policy Environment - The Government’s Environmental Policy and EA1N and EA2 Deadline 13, 5 July 2021
- SEAS Submission with regard to Regulation and the Offshore Transmission Network Review ‘Pathfinder’ Projects Deadline 13, 5 July 2021
- The Changing Policy Environment, SEAS Deadline 11 Submission Submission
- The Changing Policy Environment, SEAS Deadline 8 Submission
- SPR Timetable Changes and the BEIS Review, SEAS Deadline 5 Submission
- The National Grid ESO Offshore Coordination Phase 1 Final Report, SEAS Deadline 4 Submission
- The Energy White Paper, SEAS Deadline 4 Submission
- OFGEM and the BEIS Review, SEAS Deadline 3 Submission
- The BEIS Review, parliamentary debate and quintet of MPs, SEAS Deadline 2 Submission
- The BEIS Review, SEAS Procedural Deadline C Submission, September 2020
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:
- 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.
Send a Letter: 1 Victoria St., London SW1H 0ET
The protective qualities of the coralline crag off the coast at Thorpeness are recognised as being important in protecting the coastline and will represent a liability to the vulnerability of the shoreline if compromised.