BEIS the Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy have announced an ‘Offshore Transmission Network Review’ into the existing offshore transmission regime to address the barriers to further significant deployment of offshore wind, as the government seeks to achieve net zero.
SASES has been lobbying hard for an urgent need to explore ‘least damaging’ options to connect offshore wind farms to the grid. It is clear that urgent action is need in Suffolk & Norfolk to ensure connection of energy from offshore wind does not cause repeated damage to coastal landscapes and the local countryside.
Scottish Power’s proposals for their EA1N & EA2 wind farms are soon to undergo DCO examination. These projects alone highlight the destructive and damaging onshore effects of large offshore wind farms. Scottish Power’s proposals require 3 substations (2 of their own and a National Grid substation), current proposals are to locate these just a few hundred metres from the small Suffolk village of Friston, all in a location where there is no existing electrical grid infrastructure. National Grid and Scottish Power have attempted to play down the destructive onshore development by labelling the Friston location as ‘Sizewell/Leiston’ however Grove Wood, Friston is miles from Leiston & Sizewell. Grove Wood, Friston is just a few hundred metres from the village envelope and villagers homes.
SASES & Friston Parish Council will be calling for Scottish Power’s EA1N & EA2 proposals to be made part of this review due to the precedent that would be set by allowing these projects to go ahead unchallenged. 50+ acres of industrial development on a green field site in the countryside is a prime example of how offshore wind can actually damage the countryside… there is an opportunity to pause and explore what can be done to ensure offshore wind energy is not allowed to run ruff-shot over the Suffolk coast & countryside.
Whilst superficially the announcement of this review is a step in the right direction, it is not clear the extent to which the Scottish Power and other offshore energy projects will be included within it. Based on the terms of reference for the review they should be. However Dr Therese Coffey MP does not think they will be. We are seeking clarification on this direct from Dr Coffey. However this review will be meaningless unless the current planning process is suspended until this review is completed. We will be calling for all current projects to be put on hold until the completion of the review.