REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive
and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 349

Revolt news 31/1/2011 Print (pdf) Version

1. The proposed 400kV NG ‘Triton Knoll’ substation in Lincolnshire, denoted by NG in SYS as ‘Mumby’, is reported 20 Jan to be dropped, in favour of an alternative site near the existing NG substation at Bicker Fen. The accompanying RWE Triton Knoll substation, to bring power ashore from the offshore Triton Knoll wind farm, would also be sited at Bicker Fen. Congratulations to all the campaigners involved; their news flash is at APPENDIX A below. Credit too to National grid for responding to the objections in such a substantial way.

2. This good news does not mean the end of problems for Lincolnshire. Firstly there will be greater impact in the vicinity of Bicker Fen, though that was perhaps inevitable with or without the Mumby substation. Secondly the need for greater grid reinforcement from Humberside to the Wash remains. The intermediate substation at Mumby would have implied extra lines (probably overhead) there. With the substations located at Bicker Fen, the way should be open for the Humber-Wash reinforcement to travel under-sea and under-ground, as HVDC connections. This would have the advantage of contributing to an integrated North Sea HVDC grid, as frequently called for by Revolt.

3. Sianette Kwee reports from Denmark (see news348.5): The cables do not belong to a specific windmill farm, but are an integral part of the Danish transmission system. Their website is It was a political decision of the Danish government to allot money to bury the high voltage powerlines.

4. Stour Valley Underground (SVU) January newsletter features just one issue: the importance of local knowledge of landscape value. Part of the route for NG’s proposed Bramford-Twinstead line would pass through landscape immortalised by Thomas Gainsborough. Local historian Barry Wall discovered that Gainsborough’s 1748 work Wooded Landscape with Herdsman Seated depicts a scene near Little Hinney in north Essex. SVU says this is an undesignated landscape the official sources had not identified.

5. In response to the landscape issue above, the Daily Telegraph 27 Jan reports NG as planning to install underground cables where an overhead line might have the most detrimental impact. If true, that would be a positive advance on NG policy in its 2011 Approach to undergrounding (news339) which only goes as far as considering it.

6. The “independent” review into comparative transmission costs by overhead lines (OHL) and underground cables (UGC) has appeared 31-1-12. The report’s remit purely relates to engineering costs.  Although it does acknowledge the aesthetic, human and environmental impacts, it makes no analysis of these areas. Originally an IET/KEMA review which stalled (news340), it was taken over by Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) commissioned by DECC and National Grid. The report was announced by IET who “provided quality assurance”.

7. Already opposite claims are being made about the PB report on UGC & OHL. Reports say campaigners claim the review shows UGC is cheaper than NG has been claiming, while NG says “The findings of the study are broadly in line with the costs that National Grid has been quoting, but there is much detail that will deserve careful study in the coming weeks”. It remains, however, yet another review, and one from parties with strong financial interests. That does not mean it is not accurate but it does mean it must be viewed with caution alongside other reviews. Having said that, the PB report should be a valuable resource and should not be ignored.

8. The PB report executive summary is commendably cautious in drawing attention to the many uncertainties and variables in transmission costing. Simple cost-ratios are not recommended, albeit they have been used by NG and campaigners alike. The main conclusions confirm that OHL is generally cheapest on lifetime cost estimates for a typical NG double-circuit 400kV line, at between £2.2m and £4.2m per km, with UGC between £10.2m and £24.1m, and deep tunnelling, HVDC and GIL dearer still, though GIL can offer higher capacity.


APPENDIX A News flash – substation threat removed!
(from a ‘nosubstationhere’ newsletter 20-1-12)

National Grid have spent the past year analysing data to decide on the best way to progress the Triton Knoll Offshore Windfarm project with its subsequent onshore connection point.

Considerable lobbying of National Grid has been done by our residents, Parish Councillors, District Councillors, County Counillors such as Colin Davie and Martin Hill, as well as our MPs Sir Peter Tapsell and Mark Simmonds.  As a direct result of this lobbying,  National Grid have today announced that they have offered RWE a connection point for the Triton Knoll Offshore Windfarm at Bicker Fen Substation, southwest of Boston, with all electrical cables running on the sea bed or underground directly from Triton Knoll to Bicker Fen.   

What does this mean?  It means we will NOT be getting a 40 acre substation in our area and we will NOT be getting a line of pylons here either.  It means WE HAVE WON.  

Well done everyone, it is information that you have contributed to the campaign that has proven that Localism does work, and that if enough residents stand together with a single voice, they can change projects deemed as 'Nationally Significant'.


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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