UK: DOW Requests Planning Permission for Alternative Onshore Substation Construction
Dudgeon Offshore Wind Limited (DOW), a subsidiary of Warwick Energy Limited, has applied for planning permission to construct and operate an onshore substation, and associated cable route spur, needed to allow the electricity generated from the proposed Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm (Dudgeon) project to enter the national electricity transmission system.
The application is accompanied by a full Environmental Statement, which draws on the results of the environmental surveys and studies that DOW has commissioned and concludes that the development will not have a significant impact on the local environment.
The proposed ‘Necton’ substation location is next to the existing overhead line network just south of the A47 (T) between the villages of Necton and Little Fransham in the Breckland district of Norfolk. Two public exhibitions were held at the Necton Community Centre in April 2012 to explain the proposals, and a further exhibition is being scheduled in August 2012 during the formal consultation process.
A planning application for a substation site south of Little Dunham was previously made in December 2009. This application was originally refused in October 2010 by Breckland Council on landscape grounds but, after a series of appeals, the decision on this site now rests with central Government and the timetable and outcome for this decision remains uncertain.
Concerns regarding the impact that the delay in achieving a consented onshore electrical connection might have on the overall project led DOW to initiate contingency plans late last year. This in turn has led to these proposals for an alternative substation site at Necton, approximately 2km from the original site, and an associated cable route spur that would join the rest of the cable route that is already permitted. The application process for the Necton site will now run in parallel to the consideration of the Little Dunham site.
The full onshore cable route runs for approximately 46km in a south westerly direction from the landfall at Weybourne Hope on the north Norfolk coast to the area around Little Dunham and Necton in the Breckland district of Norfolk. Following the recent decision in North Norfolk district, DOW now has planning permission for the entire onshore cable route, with the exception of the short cable route spur to the Necton site, which forms part of this new application.
The Dudgeon site, where the offshore wind turbines will be deployed, is located 32km offshore from Cromer. Consent for the offshore elements of the project is expected soon. It is hoped that, subject to all consents being granted and the availability of construction finance, the wind farm may commence operation in 2015. The project could generate up to 560MW and make a significant contribution towards the UK’s renewable energy targets.
Offshore WIND staff, July 3, 2012; Image: Dudgeon Offshore Wind Ltd