REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive
and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 323

Revolt news 6/04/2011 Print (pdf) Version

1. Andrew Hope writes (APPENDIX A below) on the several converging powerline proposals in Mid Wales, aimed at catering for new wind farms. National Grid has started consultation (closing 3rd June) and shows the project on its website. This has precipitated local concern with groups of objectors. The proposals are included in the latest lists at the IPC.

2. Still no news of the delayed IET/KEMA review of undergrounding. The NG consultation has been extended indefinitely pending publication of the review.

3. Government Department DECC published (in February) two voluntary Codes of Practice for the power industry arising from the SAGE consultation on EMFs. They do not help much. One explains about optimal phasing. The other concerns compliance with the controversial ICNIRP Guidelines, which are based only on proven acute effects and not on the evidence-based potential chronic effects which occur at much lower exposure levels and which are of public concern. Even those very weak guidelines, which previously referred to 100 microtesla for magnetic fields, have been made yet more permissive with a level now of 360 microtesla. DECC seems to be using these two new Codes to replace or suppress further consideration of precaution, which is quite contrary to SAGE’s conclusion in favour of the ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Possible) approach. APPENDIX B below is the SAGE letter announcing this development.

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APPENDIX A Mid Wales powerline proposals (summary by Andrew Hope).

The long threatened MIWW IRON 400kv overhead line and 3 associated 132kV steel pylon connections were announced jointly by National Grid and Scottish Power Energy Networks on March 10th.

The project is designed solely to collect energy from a large number of windfarm proposals on the Mid Wales uplands and transfer it to the existing Legacy/Ironbridge 400kv line at a yet to be decided point north of Shrewsbury, the county town of Shropshire.

The windfarm proposals are allowed under the Welsh Assembly Government TAN 8 renewable energy policy. The TAN 8 policy defines 3 Strategic Search Areas in Mid Wales to which wind turbine projects are presently confined .The edges of these SSAs are geographically  quite distant from each other  and  it has been proposed that groups of windfarm projects in each SSA should integrate energy at a substation and then move it by means of three  separate 132kV steel pylon lines and one 132kV wood pole line to a 132kV/400kV "Hub".

A 400kV steel pylon line would then run from the "hub" to the connection point in the West Midlands.

The proposal initially has been presented as a series of Corridor Options for consultation and discussion. The geographical area covered by the corridors is vast  and impacts on 84,000 people.

The hub itself has been presented as a choice of 2 possible sites, which has resulted in the doubling of corridor options for both 400kv and 132kv lines.

The primary criticism of this proposal is that it is likely to result in a Stranded Asset both technically and financially. Ironbridge B coal fired station has to close in 2015, which will mean the unbalanced and intermittent energy from Mid Wales will have to travel  into the central midlands transmission vortex for smoothing and balancing. Quite how this will be done in the face of power station closures and any new build there is not apparent. No reinforcement details for any part of  the existing 400kv LEG/IRON are put into the proposal.

The overall cost of the project including wind turbines but excluding 132kv connections is likely to be 800 million pounds. The  nett energy production  is likely to be 17-20 % of rated output of total turbine  capacity.

The Mid Wales road and rail network  is totally incapable  of accommodating the thousands of extraordinary loads required for turbine build nor the estimated 2 million normal loads, the Welsh Assembly have given no assurance of finance to improve the situation. Any economy of scale proposal for increased MW/taller tower turbines will make this situation worse.

It is likely that the proposal will be stretched out by lack of initial strategic planning and indecision has been presented as a set of options for public participation. Any withdrawal from the project by a large windfarm developer will result in further alterations and line proposals.

Additional 132kv wood pole lines will be built on the peat uplands to connect each windfarm to its local substation.

No undergrounding has been mentioned other than by National Grid and has the usual predetermined caveats attached.


***** APPENDIX B SAGE letter summarising new government EMF Codes of Practice. Dear All, I am writing, as Chair of the SAGE Process Group, to let you know that DECC has today published two voluntary Codes of Practice on its website.  These Codes of Practice have been developed between Government and the Energy Networks Association (ENA) as an output from the Governments Response of 16 October 2009 to the 2007 SAGE First Interim Assessment: Power Lines and Property, Wiring in Homes, and Electrical Equipment in Homes.  They will apply in England, Scotland and Wales. The first Code of Practice “Optimum Phasing of High voltage double circuit Power Lines” provides information to the general public and other interested parties about how the optimal phasing of high voltage double circuit overhead lines of 132kV and above can help reduce public exposure to EMFs.  The Code also sets out clearly what the electricity industry is agreeing to undertake and also how Government will monitor compliance with the Code.  The second Code of Practice “Power Lines: Demonstrating compliance with EMF public exposure guidelines” implements current Government policy.  It sets out clearly the measures the electricity industry will utilise to calculate and demonstrate compliance with assessment field levels in accordance with the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation (ICNIRP) exposure limits to protect public health. 

The Codes of Practice will also be available from the ENA website.  In addition, the ENA will also maintain a publicly available list online of types of equipment where the design is such that it is not capable of exceeding the ICNIRP exposure guidelines with evidence as to why this is the case. It will also detail equipment that normally complies with public exposure limits but also where this will need to be demonstrated on a case-by-case basis when required, for example when applying for consent or a wayleave for a line or cable.

John Cooke

Chair, Sage Process Group

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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