Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Wind farm power plant substation will 'overwhelm' Norfolk coastal village

A village on the Norfolk coast will be overwhelmed by a giant electricity substation processing power from an offshore wind farm, residents fear.

Published: 7:30AM GMT 15 Mar 2010
The villages of Little Dunham, Norfolk, have collected 1,500 signatures opposing the plan for what they say will be one of the largest such sites in Europe.
They calculate claim that other coastal communities will face similar pressures as the wind power industry expands to reduce Briatain's reliance on fossil fuels.
But Warwick Energy, the company behind the plans, insists that it will ''not have a significant impact on the local environment''.
But residents have calculated that Wembley stadium would fit on the site earmarked for the substation which is needed to transfer power generated by a North Sea wind farm to the National Grid.
Paul Gardner, one of the campaigners, said: "Opposition to the building of one of the largest power substations in Europe next to Little Dunham continues to grow at a massive rate," he said.
"Local residents have been vigorously campaigning against the proposals."
Mr Gardner said campaigners feared more plants would spring up around Britain to transfer energy into homes and businesses.
He added: "One villager has written to Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, demanding his attention to the seemingly uncontrolled way offshore electricity is bought ashore and connected to the National Grid with no care to the environment."
Mr Gardner said the proposed plant would occupy at least 22 acres, villagers had been "overwhelmed" by the idea and felt that they had not been consulted.
He added: "It's the sheer size of the project and devastating effect on the open countryside, and to the village, that has overwhelmed people."
Power firm Warwick Energy applied for permission to build the plant in December.
The company said the plant would transfer power generated by a planned wind farm off Cromer, Norfolk.
A spokesman said the firm hoped the wind farm would start generating power in 2013.
Warwick said surveys and studies showed the Little Dunham plant would "not have a significant impact on the local environment".
The company said, in a press release, that staff had held "public exhibitions" in nearby towns in November and had "been very encouraged by the general level of local support".
"This was confirmed from the questionnaire returns at the exhibitions," added the statement.
" ... Sixty-nine per cent of people supported the specific onshore proposals, 23% were undecided and only 8% of people were against these proposals."
The company says the project will cost around £1.3 billion and save up 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over its expected 50-year life.
Officials said the wind farm could provide more than 0.5% of the UK's annual electricity needs.
They said as many as 168 wind turbines would be built and the project would produce enough power, on average, to supply up to 400,000 homes with green electricity.