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Sunday
15 Dec 2019

A New Technology to Save the Region's Coastline from Being Ruined

15 Dec 2019  by Andrew Hirst   
Politicians and campaigners are pushing for a new technology to save the region's coastline from being ruined in the pursuit of offshore wind power.

While renewable energy is widely supported, there are concerns the associated onshore infrastructure, including substations, could risk "industrialising" the region's most treasured landscapes.

The concerns have been heightened by a recent bid to build a substation on a 30 acre site in Friston to serve ScottishPower Renewables' (SPR) East Anglia Two and One North wind farms.

And with the region expected to see further growth in offshore wind, communities are urging Government and National Grid to find less disruptive solutions.

A group of East Anglian MPs wrote to the Secretary of State for BEIS Andrea Leadsom in October to press the case for an 'offshore ring main' (ORM).

Led by George Freeman, whose Mid Norfolk constituency is facing proposals for a large substation to serve offshore wind, the letter highlighted a "serious strategic policy challenges raised by the lack of an overall strategy for the connection of offshore wind infrastructure."

The letter, which was co-signed by Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey called for a review into the potential ORM which it said could avoid the need for "multiple onshore cable corridors and substations across the Norfolk and Suffolk coasts".

An ORM would see several wind farms connect to the same marine cable, requiring only two land connections - and two substations.

The scheme has been previously dismissed. A 2015 report by National Grid and offshore energy companies found "it would be economic and efficient."

But recently National Grid said it was exploring the possibility. Energy Minister Claire Perry also told Suffolk councils it was an "interesting idea" she would ask her officials to investigate further.

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