As announced earlier, Vattenfall has now started holding public consultation to discuss its preliminary environmental information report (PEIR) for the Norfolk Vanguard offshore wind farm. On 11 November, a session which saw a record turnout was held in Happisburgh, where some of the residents voiced their concerns over the onshore infrastructure.
The 1.8GW project gathered 170 people at the session to discuss both offshore and onshore parts of the project, with the onshore 60km cable route and the possible relay station being most concerning parts to the residents. With the relay station residents are worried about its effect on health, and the onshore cable route is posing environmental and tourism related concerns.
According to Vattenfall’s plans, export cables would make landfall immediately south of Happisburgh, from where the onshore cable corridor passes north of North Walsham and heads south-west across Norfolk passing to the north of Aylsham and Reepham, before crossing the River Wensum. From this point, the onshore cable corridors pass to the North of Dereham before crossing the A47 and reaching the onshore project substation near Necton.
If Vattenfall chooses to use a high-voltage AC (HVAC) electrical solution, a cable relay station (CRS) would be required near the landfall site to improve the efficiency of the electrical transmission. The CRS would accommodate reactive compensation equipment required to absorb the capacitive currents generated by long HVAC power cables.
“Most people are supportive of renewable energy schemes in general, but there is still a lot of concern about any potential impact a cable relay station could have in the area. We believe this scheme is the least impactful option for Norfolk,” Eastern Daily Press quotes Catrin Jones from Vattenfall as saying.
Vattenfall’s consultation documents state that the landfall at Happisburgh South supports appropriate options for siting of CRS (if required) in relatively secluded sites, with good access and natural screening and topographic characteristics that the developer can work with to help minimise visual and noise impacts. It also has the advantage of avoiding offshore cables traversing the Marine Conservation Zone, as well as accommodating the co-location of Norfolk Vanguard & Norfolk Boreas transmission cables and thus limiting environmental impacts.
The 1.8GW offshore wind farm would feature 90-257 turbines, and Vattenfall could use next generation turbines of 20MW – if they hit the market at the time of construction – to cut the number of turbines.
Vattenfall is expected to submit the development consent application for Norfolk Vanguard to the UK Planning Inspectorate in the second quarter of 2018.