Anglian Energy Planning Alliance
Why this happened
- Government Policy - committed, they say, to green energy but no strategic plan for its development
- Failure by National Grid Plc to invest in electricity for the long term (unlike the coordinated ring main approach of the Netherlands). As a result, ad hoc connections to the grid are being made, all with separate cable routes.
- Crown Estate - the Government cashing in on sea bed leasing to meet Treasury targets
- International Energy groups EDF, Iberdrola (parent company of Scottish Power), and other wind power investment consortia all acting independently with wind power players keen to cash in on tax payer supported pricing
- Planning law - unable to mandate coordination of construction or infrastructure, or even assess cumulative impacts
- UK Panning Inspectorate - failing to exercise control and not being robust with energy developments. For example, the Planning Inspectorate allowed a 22 mile cable route to be downgraded from 3.6 Gw to 1.9 Gw (even though the original intention was, and planning was granted for, the route to have the capacity for additional wind farm output), thus a whole new cable route through, and adjacent to, the AONB is required and a whole new energy complex on a greenfield site.
It doesn't have to be like this.
Energy technology and the economics of renewables and storage have advanced rapidly since the government last assessed energy policy reducing the requirement for a new generation of nuclear energy. And an offshore ring main, as used by the Netherlands and Germany, would avoid the need for separate onshore connections for each wind farm. Grid level storage can absorb excess power from wind and solar panels which have become more efficient and cheaper and release it later. Smart grids can use variable pricing to even out the usage of power and reduce peak demand. This does, however, require some strategic planning by government. We need politicians to act today otherwise this beautiful part of Suffolk will be destroyed forever.
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