Vattenfall reveals latest thinking on UK offshore wind farm electrical infrastructure proposals

Vattenfall, the developer of the Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas offshore wind farms, has published maps showing search areas for important electrical infrastructure.  
Vattenfall reveals latest thinking on UK offshore wind farm electrical infrastructure proposals

The maps have been published online and are also included in a newsletter sent to over 35,000 residents in North Norfolk, Broadland and Breckland. Landfall for the transmission cable running from the wind farms, will be south of Happisburgh, as it avoids a Marine Conservation Zone and there is enough space at the landfall to accommodate the transmission cables from both projects.

Two search areas for cable relay stations (CRS), if Vattenfall opts for High Voltage AC (HVAC) cables, are west of Happisburgh, for co-location of onshore infrastructure. The sites enable relative seclusion, co-location of both, good access, opportunities to minimise visual impact through topography and screening

A search area for a substation to the north east of Necton village and to the east of existing infrastructure areas offers relative seclusion, maximises distances from housing whilst maintaining proximity to National Grid, and opportunities to minimise visual impact through topography and screening.

“Thanks to feedback from communities in Norfolk and environmental specialists we have been able to further refine search areas for the onshore electrical infrastructure” said Ruari Lean, Vattenfall’s Project Manager for Norfolk Vanguard “I would like to thank everyone we have spoken to for their contributions and patience as we carefully move towards the selection of final locations. The search areas have been chosen because we believe they offer the best opportunity to minimise impact – not least our early decision to lay underground the 60 km transmission cables”.

Norfolk Vanguard and Norfolk Boreas will deliver on average enough fossil-fuel free electricity every year to meet the needs of almost 50 percent of the East of England. The infrastructure is needed to put Norfolk Vanguard’s and Norfolk Boreas’s fossil-fuel free, home grown electricity onto the National Grid. Getting the go ahead will trigger significant jobs opportunities in Norfolk and support action on climate change.

Vattenfall will continue to engage with stakeholders and residents throughout the summer. In the autumn the energy company will hold drop-in sessions which will show Norfolk Vanguard’s final proposed design – on and offshore - and the assessment by independent specialists of its environmental impact.

A decision on the use of AC or DC technology will not be taken until after consent has been achieved as part of the detailed design and Final Investment Decision of the project. The inclusion of both transmission technology options through consent submission is required to meet full technical and economic flexibility to deliver against government targets for offshore wind cost reduction and to ensure the projects can deploy the most appropriate and advanced technology available closer to the time when construction would begin.

Maintaining flexibility during the early stages of project development allows Vattenfall to future-proof the projects. Whilst both technology options are being considered, only one transmission option will be developed during the final design.

Regardless which option is selected Vattenfall has committed to putting all the onshore cables underground, rather than the alternative of deploying overhead cables and pylons. By deciding to underground cables, Vattenfall has taken an important decision, at its own cost, determined by its desire to minimise the visual and environmental impact in the region.

Image: Vattenfall’s Ormonde offshore wind farm

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