The industry is about to score a spectacular own goal, which could alienate public sympathy at a stroke. ScottishPower Renewables (which, despite its name, is Spanish-owned) has fingered Friston, on the Suffolk coast, as the “most appropriate location for development” for the base required for its offshore windfarms in the North Sea. Here, covering 30 acres, will be the infrastructure necessary to connect the powerlines with the national grid. I can’t think of any more heinously inappropriate site: a towering industrial horror that, in that flat, sandy landscape, will be visible for miles. The Suffolk coast is an area of exceptional beauty and fragility, first settled in the Bronze Age. Villages are still small. The local towns, such as Aldeburgh and Southwold, are famous for their charm, and much visited. Often the tallest thing to be seen across Suffolk’s marshes and sandlings is the tower of a medieval church. The loudest noise at the RSPB reserve of Minsmere is the boom of the bittern. Next door is the Suffolk coast and heaths area of outstanding natural beauty: the impact of the development could be so adverse that it could lose its protected status. The local roads are little more than lanes but the construction of the substation will require hundreds of lorry movements a day. This scheme would fail under normal planning criteria but may be fast-tracked as a nationally significant infrastructure project. For ScottishPower Renewables, the Friston site is convenient because Sizewell A and B are five miles away. Why not aggregate? Critics answer that the cumulative effect of industrialisation will destroy something precious, uniquely English and irreplaceable. A similar monstrosity is being attempted in north Norfolk. There’s an alternative. Lay a single Offshore Ring Main cable to which all the wind turbines can connect and run it to the Thames Estuary, where a substation could be absorbed into the scenery of container ports and industry. I’ve not been tempted to join the eco-protesters in London but I’d man the barricades for Suffolk.
Times 7th May 2019 read more »
AN island-based renewable services provider has expanded its operations with the acquisition of an additional safety vessel and a move to one of the best-known buildings in Stromness, Orkney. Green Marine, which specialises in support services for the renewable energy sector, has bought and renovated the town’s 1600sq ft former police station, with financial backing from RBS and Lombard. It has also expanded its fleet of vessels with Green Storm and is planning to take on a further five members of staff as it increases its operations across Europe. The firm has become well established within the energy sector and has built up a strong reputation in the installation and maintenance of tidal and wind energy facilities. Green Storm will primarily service its clients with offshore installations ensuring the safe transportation of personnel and cargo.
The National 7th May 2019 read more »
Having seen the decline of its fishing industry and ridden the ups and downs of the oil and gas industry, Great Yarmouth and its neighbouring port Lowestoft find themselves at the centre of the UK’s renewables boom. The UK already has offshore wind turbine infrastructure that could provide a capacity of 7.5GW – more than any other country in the world – and more than half of it is off the coast of Norfolk and Suffolk. A combination of shallow waters, consistent wind and good access to the energy-hungry south-east England have already attracted projects costing £11bn, with projects worth £22bn – and more than 6,000 jobs – planned by developers into the next decade.
BBC 7th May 2019 read more »