The government has said that energy regulator Ofgem will undertake a feasibility study into an offshore ring main that would link cables from at least three large wind farms planned off the Norfolk coast.
According to the EDP, this would mean that separate cable corridors and onshore substations would not have to be dug across the countryside to connect each wind farm to the National Grid.
Swedish energy firm Vattenfall wants to build two offshore wind farms, Norfolk Boreas and Norfolk Vanguard, while Danish company Ørsted has plans for the world’s biggest wind farm, Hornsea Project Three.
The projects involve running cable trenches from Weybourne to Swardeston, south of Norwich, and from Happisburgh to Necton, near Swaffham, with huge, separate onshore substations for each wind farm. The cable corridors are planned to cross just north of Reepham.
Meanwhile, Norwegian energy company Equinor is planning to extend the Sheringham Shoal and Dudgeon offshore wind farms, with a new cable trench to be dug to the east of Cawston.
The feasibility study was announced after Norfolk MPs George Freeman, Jerome Mayhew and Duncan Baker met online with energy minister Kwasi Kwarteng in early June to discuss their concerns.
Mr Mayhew, who represents Broadland, said: “A piecemeal approach to individual wind farms connecting to the National Grid is no longer practical, so we will keep pushing Ofgem and the government to come up with a better solution.
“I will also be asking the offshore wind industry how they can reduce the negative onshore impact of connecting offshore wind to the National Grid. We need to properly consider an offshore ring main for Norfolk and Suffolk.”
Mr Freeman, who represents Mid Norfolk, believes that “at least another dozen offshore wind farms are likely to be built off the Norfolk/Suffolk coastline.
“It is vital that the cabling and connectivity infrastructure is properly planned to maximise efficiency, reduce waste and cost, and to avoid unnecessary landscape, environmental and economic disruption across our county.”
The announcement on the feasibility study comes after the government pushed back a decision deadline for Norfolk Vanguard to 1 July, after an earlier delay from December to 1 June. Read the EDP story HERE
See our earlier stories:
- Public consultations on plans for offshore wind farm extensions
- Local councils push for offshore ring main
- Alternative solutions proposed for wind farm developments