Residents were given the chance to find out how the construction of a giant offshore wind farm off the east coast could affect them at a consultation event yesterday.
North Cotes Village Hall was the venue for the first public consultation into proposals by SMart Wind Ltd for the first phase of the Hornsea Zone Wind Farm, one of the UK’s nine Round Three offshore wind power developments.
The project will have about 800 wind turbines located within a 5,000sq km area in the North Sea, with a total capacity of four gigawatts (GW) and the potential to meet around four per cent of the UK’s electricity demand.
SMart Wind Ltd, a joint venture between Siemens and Mainstream Renewable Power, is planning to deliver the project, the largest of four phases, with completion expected in 2020.
The first phase, known as Project One, will see the construction and installation of between 124 to 332 turbines in two separate blocks – Heron Ventus and Njord – each with a capacity of six megawatts (MW), more than 100km off the east coast.
The turbines will be connected to the onshore grid connection at Killingholme Power Station by an underground electricity cable, which will pass through newly built offshore and onshore converter stations.
Work on Project One is expected start in the first quarter of 2015, with completion expected by the middle of 2016. One of the main aims of the first round of consultation events is to identify the most suitable route for the underground onshore cable.
SMart Wind has identified three potential corridors for installing the cable, two of which are on the North Bank. The third corridor is an area of land, which runs from Theddlethorpe to North Killingholme, bordered on the west by a line running near to Ludborough and Irby, and on the east by a line running along the coast to North Cotes and then near to Humberston, New Waltham, Great Coates and Immingham.
The developers anticipate that construction work on installing the cables, which would take no more than 12 months, would cause temporary disruption to traffic, farming operations and land drainage systems.
Among those at the event was Mike Speakman, chairman of North Cotes Flying Club.
He said: “Obviously it would be of some concern for us if the cables are going to come onshore anywhere in the vicinity of the airfield. It’s a question of making our views felt before they commit to anything. Our message would be to stay away from the airfield.”
Elizabeth Bassett, of Sea Lane, North Cotes, said the village’s infrastructure would not be able to cope with construction traffic if the area was chosen as part of the cable route.
She said: “There is only one road in and out of that village, so if that was closed, we’d be stuck.”
Steve Clarke, SMart Wind’s UK content manager, said the company would be negotiating with landowners to allow the cable route to cross their land.
“The shorter the route the better, but equally we are looking for landowners to advocate our project and negotiate with us for a successful outcome that works for us and works for them.”
Chris Jenner, SMart Wind’s environment and consents manager, said findings from ongoing offshore and onshore environmental studies were also being fed into the consultation process.
He said: “All the time we are talking to Natural England, the Wildlife Trust and other organisations about where we can put the cable and the best way of installing it.”
Have your say
Consultation events will also be held at Immingham Civic Centre today, Laceby Community Centre tomorrow, North Killingholme Village Hall on Tuesday and Holton-le-Clay on Wednesday.
All take place between 2pm and 8pm. For more information, visit www.smartwind.co.uk or call 0207 7765500.
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