REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive
and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 315

Revolt news 2/01/2011 Print (pdf) Version

1. News312 identified the NG-proposed new 95km 400kV line from a new 400kV substation at Rowdown (Surrey) to another new 400kV substation at Lydd (Kent). It was suggested this might feed a new interconnector to Belgium. However the NG SYS does not mention the interconnector in connection with this development, but it does mention a 1000 MW interconnector to Belgium from yet another new 400kV substation, to be built at Richborough (Kent). There will also be a new 400kV line from Canterbury North to Richborough (about 10 miles). Perhaps the 95km Rowdown – Lydd line with its two new substations is to serve additional nuclear generation at Dungeness?

2. Searching the NG SYS Appendix B-7c (scheduling future works for England & Wales) for “interconnector” finds mention, other than short local links, only of

  • Grain (Thames Estuary) to Netherlands 2009/10 (260km, 1000MW)
  • Deeside (Cheshire) to Ireland 2011/12 (~200km, 500MW)
  • Richborough (Kent) to Belgium 2019/20 (~50+km, 1000 MW)

3. The NG web site has a helpful page on interconnectors. For England & Wales, in addition to the three mentioned above, there are Existing Baker’s Gap (Kent) to France (70km (45km subsea), 2000MW) Easington (Co Durham) to Norway (1200MW, commercially stalled)

4. The Grain – Netherlands Interconnector is called BritNed. The web site says it is a 260km 1000MW open-access commercial HVDC interconnector, separated from regulated transmission activities. ABB made and laid the +/-450kV under-sea cables. Project costs are given as 600 million Euro, which works out at about 2.3 MEuro/km/GW or about £2M/km/GW. That sounds fairly dear for such a long distance, though there are substantial ancillary works. A double-circuit OHL with 4GW capacity costing £0.5M/km, that is £0.125M/km/GW, although that would be excluding costs of substations. The BritNed web site seems only to concern Stage 1. It is not clear if additional capacity may appear in Stage 2.

5. The situation with possible subsea interconnectors and offshore HVDC transmission lines running north-to-south down both sides of Britain still seems quite fluid, but the full picture of potential developments should be openly on the table in any related powerline or substation consultations.

6. It will be important for the non-open KEMA review (news314) of undergrounding to try to resolve differences between various reports and cost estimates which have been raised as matters of public concern. Anything less will leave the public suspicious of such a hasty and closed review directed by interested parties. Differences may be partly down to capacity and non-like-for-like comparisons; they need clearly identifying without advocacy one way or the other. This is an opportunity to make a thorough and helpful analysis of alternatives, but it must cover the ground and not hide key features.

7. Among other things, the KEMA review should cover and expressly respond to Europacable reports (news312 etc) on XLPE AC cable solutions in relation to the Beauly-Denny line, especially the most recent (December 2010) rebuttal of a Scottish Power report, but also earlier reports and comparisons.

All three reports relating to the Irish interconnector, including those commissioned by government and/or industry like the Ecofys 2008 and PB Power 2009 reviews, but also including the Askon 2008 study commissioned by objectors NEPP. The KEMA reviewers must obtain this important balancing review and answer it expressly.

Details of the 22km 110kV Ballywater-Crane UGC line near Wexford (news213) which appeared to provide significant cost advantages (at only 227kEuro/km) compared with industry estimates; a careful like-for-like comparison is needed.

New submissions on GIL with reference to Siemens, raised in connection with Hinkley Point in the “Ambrose & Pratt Report” 2010 for Wraxall Parish Council.

The ICF Consulting 2002 report TREN/CC/03-2002 for the European Commission, together with the Commission Background Paper of 10 December 2003 including its Table 7 of cost ratios and its discussion of environmental values in Appendix I.4, notwithstanding that the data and considerations will need updating. These papers should be taken alongside the Revolt note R06 UGC.

Revolt FAQs (2008) particularly section 16 at including notes on actual environmental impact of the Yorkshire 400kV UGC.

The latest developments and industry reports on high-temperature superconducting (HTS) transmission including details from the Tres Amigas and Long Island facilities in the USA (news288, 263, 258 etc) and industry reports such as the ASC White Paper 2003 (with updating).  

8. The above sources and reports may not be covered by other submissions to the KEMA review. For example, while the CPRE / CNP / NAAONB submission calls for resolving discrepancies between the Ecofys (Ireland) and SPTL (Scotland) reports, very surprisingly it does not mention either of the important rebuttal reports by Askon (Ireland) and Europacables (Scotland). The Ecofys and SPTL reports are commissioned by government or industry and need to be balanced by these rebuttals from competent professional consultants commissioned by public groups.

9. It might be sensible for the KEMA review to hold back from a specific cost-benefit analysis, because some important benefits (e.g. environmental and health, as mentioned in the EC Background Paper of 10-12-2003, and discussed in the UK SAGE FIA Report 2007) can involve uncertainties and social and political values; such an extended brief may not be practical in the very limited time available. However, the review should note the existence of such benefits and the need to take them into account in decision-making.

10. Revolt has been trying to put the above points to the KEMA review team. As it is not an open review, there is no facility for making a submission and it is uncertain if the points will be considered. It is intended to put the same points to the NG consultation (news314), though that will not be a substitute as the KEMA review will be used directly to influence policy. It may be helpful if any of our readers and other organisations can assist in having the above points and sources put to the KEMA review.

Statements made by the editor or by other parties and quoted for information do not necessarily represent the views of Revolt. Criticism of government and industry, and grievances from members of the public, are in the nature of Revolt's work, though we try to give credit where it is due. Revolt is strictly non-party-political and regrets any offence which may be inadvertently caused.




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