Onshore works for offshore wind farms
CPRE Norfolk is very well aware of the importance of a renewable energy strategy for the UK and the important role Norfolk plays in this. It is inevitable that some disruption will occur as new sites come on stream, and land-based works for offshore wind farm sites are required to feed the power generated to the grid. However, choices in regard to the transmission route and the technology employed (e.g.CPRE supports the use of high voltage direct current (HVDC) rather than high voltage alternating current (HVAC) here) should be those which minimise damage to the countryside and landscape.
A much better long-term solution to the problem of unnecessary harm being done to landscapes and the environment, as well as the costly, lengthy and frequent disruptions to local residents and visitors is the construction of an Offshore Ring Main (ORM). This would enable multiple connections from offshore wind farms to be made offshore, with only one cable corridor being necessary from the ORM to the National Grid. Despite needing considerable investment, a change in the current system of permissions for connecting offshore wind farms to the National Grid and time to put into operation, an ORM would reduce connection costs in the long-term as well as making connections quicker and easier. CPRE Norfolk is working with other CPRE branches, National CPRE and a range of other stakeholders for an ORM.
Disruption, and especially long-term damage to the countryside and its communities must be mitigated against, and planning mitigation measures must play a critical role in development of plans and execution of works. Where opportunities arise to provide measures that assist offset the impacts of works, these must be a priority, not as a bribe, but as a long-term form of community-wide betterment.
We will continue to monitor progress of schemes, and provide comment and enter discussions where we can. We will not comment on any one site over another as we would expect communities to participate in those discussions.
You can read more about our views on wind farms and associated matters here.