The CLA recently met with Hannah Small from the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) to discuss its appraisal of the proposed Norwich to Tilbury electricity cable route (which was formerly known as East Anglia GREEN). The main justification given for this project is that the existing electricity grid has insufficient capacity to cope with electricity from the increasing number of wind farms in the North Sea as well as from Europe.
The CLA is not in principle opposed to national infrastructure projects like this, but is concerned that it will affect a considerable number of CLA members and rural communities along the route, and will have a considerable and adverse impact on the environment, on property values and on the landscape. There is a perception that there is a lack of coordination among electricity supply operators, with numerous new grid connections and cable routes affecting the region, and the CLA would like to see an accurate assessment comparing the relative costs of the onshore transmission options as opposed to an offshore ring main, to which supply cables might be connected.
Details of the second non-statutory public consultation
The ESO, which has a key role in network planning, and which carries out assessments of strategic supply proposals, will formally separate from National Grid next year to become the Future System Operator. ESO produces an annual Options Network Assessment, which sets out what solutions it considers to be appropriate. It is reassuring that ESO has changed its assessment methodology, to include four metrics, adopting a more “holistic” approach. The four metrics to be taken into account are:
- Cost to the consumer
- Deliverability and operability
- Impact on the environment
- Impact on communities
Previously, assessments were based purely on the economic cost to the consumer, and so the re-assessment of the Norwich to Tilbury cable route and an offshore ring main will include these other considerations. It is expected to take up to three months, and to be concluded by early autumn. Offshore wind farm operators and companies responsible for interconnectors bringing electricity from Europe are being encouraged to coordinate more closely, and the CLA has asked to be included in further “round table” discussions.
For further information contact CLA East Surveyor Tim Woodward or email firstname.lastname@example.org