REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive
and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 371

Revolt news 24/11/2013 Print (pdf) Version

1. The final phase of pre-application†consultation for Forewindís second stage†of offshore wind development,†the 2.4 GW Dogger Bank Teesside A & B, will run for†seven weeks from Monday, 4 November to Friday, 20 December. It will include three public events near the proposed landfall and cable route, at Redcar and Lazenby.

2. While adding 2.4 GW of power to the grid at Teesside is a worry in terms of a possible need for yet another Yorkshire overhead line, Martin Taylor had advised that the existing grid should, with reconductoring, be able to take it (news362.12). However, Martyn is only 99% certain for post-2013, which might also depend on the mooted Peterhead Ė Thornton (near York) cable being installed. And there is experimental evidence that experts substantially over estimate their certainty!

3. Forewindís application for Dogger Bank Creyke Beck, comprising two offshore wind farms with a total installed capacity of up to 2.4 gigawatts (GW), was accepted by the Planning Inspectorate for examination in September after more than three years of onshore and offshore surveys and research work and consultation.

4. A very lively television discussion on pylons between a chief executive and public objectors was broadcast 19-11-2013 on Irelandís Prime Time programme. It showed three major proposed new overhead lines: the north-south interconnector, a line west to Mayo and lines to the south of Ireland. There was argument about health and costs of undergrounding. Eirgridís speakers included American industry consultant Bill Bailey on EMF claiming there was no demonstrated health risk at the exposure levels, but not mentioning the evidence-based WHO-recognised "possible risk". Comparison was made with the HVDC east-west interconnector, which is of lower power and of a different nature.

5. Success in Wales! The problem with fields from Dong Energy proposed buried cables near St Asaph in North Wales seems to be reasonably solved. Dongís field estimates seemed unusually high. They were based on the three phase cables being laid with a whole metre spacing between them in a wide trench, which is unusual. When I proposed placing them closer together to reduce the fields, the company said they were planning anyway to place them juxtaposed in a "tri-foil" arrangement. Why on earth then did they give such inflated field estimates based on an unintended configuration? It only caused alarm as the fields at a home would have exceeded those associated with a doubled risk of childhood leukaemia. Now with the tri-foil, the cables were approved on 13 November with a council planning Condition essentially to place the trench as far as practical from the home, so the fields will be below those levels of concern. Well done Denbighshire County Council!

6. Swiss Re, the re-insurance company, published its 2013 report on emerging risks. The report considers all major emerging potential insurance risks to property, people, markets and operations. Top of the list, both "High Impact" and Imminent (1-3 years) is "Prolonged Power Blackout". Also "High Impact" though longer term (> 10 years) is "Unforeseen consequences of electromagnetic fields", including powerlines, phones and wireless technology. Reference is made to the IARC classifications noting that the science is still "inconclusive".

7. After years of intransigent opposition, refusing to recognise the possible health risk identified by WHO, the Irish grid company Eirgrid has at last taken a more amenable stance on undergrounding its new 400 kV lines. The change is in response to very strong public pressure with political impact. However Eirgridís stance still does not recognise the established possible risk to health, which of course only infuriates the public, and Eirgrid still claims that overhead lines are three times cheaper. Objectors point out that such a comparison ignores indirect costs, which are dominant, and is based on unnecessarily high capacity.

8. The Irish objectorsí group NEPP points out how Eirgridís cost comparisons of underground to overhead lines have changed in recent years: 25 times dearer (2007), 9 times (2009), 7 times (2010) and now 3 times (2013). NEPP says "which way is this going?" Thanks to Northern Ireland group SEAT for useful prompts.

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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