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Wind farm’s grid connection plans released  

Credit:  Brian Copland, www.eastlothiancourier.com 19 January 2012 ~~

Proposed works in East Lothian that would connect a major offshore wind farm to to the National Grid in the Lammermuir Hills have been released for public viewing.

Mainstream Renewable Power (MRP) has produced a scoping report to summarise the works which could be undertaken to connect the Neart na Gaoithe wind farm to the grid at Crystal Rig II, a 60-turbine site which straddles East Lothian and the Scottish Borders.

Neart na Gaoithe is planned for the Forth estuary, about 30 kilometres north of Torness, and would be visible from several points in the county. It will comprise between 64 and 125 turbines with a capacity of 450 megawatts (MW), at a cost of about £1.2 billion.

MRP proposes to export electricity from the site via two marine cables, which would come ashore at Thorntonloch Beach, south-east of Dunbar, near Torness Power Station – subject to planning permission.

According to the scoping report, the offshore and onshore cables would then be joined together at two 4m x 11.5m transition pits – two metres deep and made of reinforced concrete – close to the beach.

Six individual cables – laid in two groups of three – would be buried within trenches for a distance of about 12 kilometres from Thorntonloch to Crystal Rig II, meeting a new electrical substation at that site.

The report says much of the cable route would be installed in open field, for which all construction works would lie within a 20-mile-wide area along the proposed route.

An additional 10-mile width would be included to allow for “route micro-siting”, giving a total width of 30 miles for the ‘red line’ boundary.

The report adds: “Areas for locating construction compounds will also be identified. For the sections of the route installed in open field, a temporary haul road will be established adjacent to the cable trench and will be contained within the 20-mile construction corridor.

“Further investigation and survey work is currently informing the design of the route to ensure identified local constraints and environmental sensitivities are taken into consideration.”

It is proposed the cable would cross under the East Coast Main Line railway and the A1. The preferred construction method would be agreed with both Network Rail and Transport Scotland.

An environmental impact assessment of the onshore works will later take place, before a planning application is submitted to East Lothian Council.

Further details on the effect the works could have – including landscape, wildlife, transport and cultural heritage – are also detailed within the report, available to view at www.neartnagao ithe.com

Comments must be made to MRP by Friday, February 10.

Source:  Brian Copland, www.eastlothiancourier.com 19 January 2012

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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