Supplementary memorandum from the Renewable
Is a "point-to-point" system appropriate
for an expanded offshore wind regime?
A study by the DTI Centre for Distributed Generation
and Sustainable Electrical Energy, prepared by Predrag Djapic
and Goran Strbac
concluded that economic and efficient offshore networks for wind
energy should be designed with no redundancy, as the cost of the
cables and their installation is the dominant factor in network
design. However, this was in the context of the much more limited
scenario of 8 GW of Round 1 and 2 windfarms, not the 25GW suggested
in the BERR's December announcement.
Airtricity proposes a supergrid to integrate
the functionality of interconnectors between countries with transmission
for offshore wind farms. It suggests that when offshore wind farms
reach distances of 6070km from the onshore grid it becomes
more cost effective to connect them to interconnectors.
This suggests that there are merits in an offshore
grid approach for the longer term. This should prove more flexible
and lend itself to the more strategic approach to grid development
that many are advocating (ie let's not wait and see what projects
come forwardlet's plan ahead).
It has taken a great deal of time to arrive
at the proposals in place today, however, and there is still disagreement
within the industry about the best approach. It is undesirable
for uncertainty over the developing offshore transmission arrangements
to destabilise the already fragile investment environment for
offshore wind farms.
Should the IPC only decide on marine projects
with a capacity of 100 MW plus?
At the very least we would prefer to see the
threshold for IPC decision making on offshore projects to be brought
down to 50MWthereby harmonising the threshold for onshore
and offshore projects.
We would ideally like to see the IPC being adequately
resourced with the manpower and skill set to deal with all major
energy projects. If that were the case it would become the most
suitable body for consenting a broad range of renewables applications
and we would like to see it dealing with most projects above a
de minimis limit. We feel that 50MW is higher than ideal
for the de minimis limit, but recognise that this is unlikely
to change. The vast bulk of consenting will therefore be undertaken
under the Town and Country Planning Regime. The REA is focussing
its efforts on seeking to ensure that the IPC's guidancethe
National Policy Statement on Renewable Energyis made as
useful to Local Authorities as possible. Admittedly this involves
expecting it to fulfil a role that it was not envisaged to play,
but we have had positive signs from BERR officials that they recognise
the benefit of this approach.
267 http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file36129.pdf Back