REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive
and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 324

Revolt news 19/04/2011 Print (pdf) Version

1. The John Muir Trust in Scotland has commissioned a report by consulting engineer Stuart Young on the performance of UK wind power. The report is based on what is delivered to the National Grid, not just the subsidy payment claims made by the wind companies. The report shows that wind company claims are exaggerated, and power delivered was 21.14% of installed capacity over 2010, not the 30% suggested by the industry.

2. Ian Murdoch, of North Hambleton Wind Farm Action Group (NHWAG) has, quite independently, been producing a weekly analysis in 2011 on the same basis, i.e. of what is delivered to the grid (news320.2). He comes to similar conclusions. Ian is most concerned that DECC seem to rely on the inaccurate wind industry claims for subsidy payments, and do not monitor nor even want to consider what is actually delivered.

3. The 260km 1000 MW BritNed HVDC under-sea power cable has started trading and will be officially opened on 12 May.

4. Objectors are organising against the NG 400kV line planned for Mid-Wales (news323), through either the Vyrnwy or Severn Valleys, intended to serve extensive wind farm development in the mid-Wales mountains (even more than already exists). They have a petition at

5. Montgomeryshire Against Pylons has set up a new website and Facebook page for objectors in Mid-Wales.

6. Stour Valley Underground (SVU) latest newsletter came out 12 April. Their summary says: This month we look at:- the Secretary of State's position (slightly scary) the European Wind Energy Association's position (moderately scary) National Grid's position (very scary) SVU is promoting a tunnel solution with GIL AC cables for NG’s proposed 400kV Bramford-Twinstead line, possibly as a pilot project with grant funding. SVU have engaged Siemens to show feasibility.

7. The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) “projects between 230 GW and 265 GW in 2020, of which between 40 GW and 55 GW would be offshore and 400 GW of total installed wind power capacity in Europe in 2030”.

8. The November 2010 EWEA report “Powering Europe – Wind Energy and the Electricity Grid” has indicative maps for each decade from 2010 to 2050, including “principle (sic) transmission routes”. Schematically these maps show, albeit an aspirational wind industry view, growth of major power flows, from the existing Scotland- England flow to a network of new routes over most of Britain leading to six or more connections with mainland Europe, instead of the present two (France and this year Netherlands). The point of these routes would be to collect wind power from the British Isles, at the rare times of high overall output, to export upwards of 6GW to Europe.

9. SVU, from an East Anglia perspective, are concerned at power coming in from the west as well as the east. The EWEA vision is a nightmare for Britain’s landscape, but reflects the logical consequence of energy policy which relies so heavily on wind. It makes the development of long-distance off-shore HVDC transmission all the more important, not only to land offshore power and to export to Europe, but also to bypass Britain. NG’s “bootstraps” proposals, for two HVDC links from Scotland under the sea off east and west shores, are a step in the right direction, but they need to continue further south. In the longer term, an HVDC grid is needed to link and extend these bootstraps still further to connect east and west Britain with the interconnectors to mainland Europe. It could include onshore underground stages where necessary.

10. SEAT action group in Northern Ireland report ‘significant progress’ in their newsletter 15 April with the announcement by the Environment Minister that there will be a public inquiry into NIE’s proposed 400kV Cavan-Tyrone Interconnector. SEAT implacably opposes this overhead power line and calls for complete under-grounding. SEAT thanks all the affected landowners for remaining united in opposition to the plan to route this overhead Interconnector on and over their property.

11. Suffolk County Council hosted the National Symposium on the Future of Electricity Networks on 19th January and, on 15 April, produced the Proceedings of that event which can be found here. The Symposium highlighted six issues as at APPENDIX A below.

12. Andrew Hope of Mid-Wales group STOP prompts us that the response deadline for National Grid ODIS 2011 Future Scenarios Consultation is 21 April.

13. John Foster, of Suffolk and Essex Amenity Groups, calls for co-operation between groups as the next few months will be critical for all our campaigns. John draws attention to the Ofgem approach (RIIO) to the next Transmission Price Control (for 2013) and suggests pressing NG to take public willingness-to-pay (WTP) into account. The Suffolk Symposium included progress by EFTEC on socio-economic cost modelling (news319 Appx B) which could be relevant albeit resisted.

14. Key Ofgem documents for their RIIO approach to next Transmission Price Control were published 31 March 2011 and can be seen at The RIIO regime places “much more emphasis on incentives to drive the innovation needed to deliver a sustainable energy network at value for money to existing and future consumers”.

15. Charles Hendry Minister of State and DECC officials met with senior officials from Suffolk CC on 30 March to discuss grid development issues arising from the Symposium. DECC acknowledged the case for a more strategic approach but said that in general it is for industry to propose locations, not for them to be pre-determined by a national transmission strategy. Issues discussed were planning, NPS, duties, sustainability and technology (e.g. GIL).

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APPENDIX A Issues highlighted by Suffolk CC Symposium of Jan 2011

1. there is a need for a strategic approach to electricity transmission in the same way there is for low carbon generation

2. the current offshore regulatory regime is unlikely to deliver a coordinated network

3. the principles behind the new RIIO price control mechanism were broadly welcomed but there was concern that realisation of its objectives may be hindered by the respective statutory duties of Ofgem and the regulated companies

4. the emerging planning regime, within which most of the upgrades to the electricity transmission network would be determined, is insufficiently flexible to alternatives to overhead lines.

5. cost benefit analysis is a well established tool for explicitly accounting for environmental and social impacts in decision making processes and could readily be used to appraise alternative options for reinforcement of the electricity transmission network

6. there was a need to examine how more support could be given to innovative products and innovation more broadly

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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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