June 26, 2012

Energy reforms could see some of Britain’s most beautiful countryside ‘covered with hundreds of miles of giant pylons’

By Mario Ledwith and Graham Smith | Daily Mail | www.dailymail.co.uk 26 June 2012

Government energy reforms are encouraging the National Grid to cover Britain’s most beautiful and remote countryside with giant pylons, campaigners warned today.

Plans to lay hundreds of miles of pylon lines, including in two National Parks, have been revealed in Government and National Grid documents.

The 160ft pylons are planned for areas including the Lake District, Snowdonia and parts of rural Wales.

The documents also reveal proposals to replace existing smaller pylons with significantly larger versions.

But the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has warned that the reforms will come ‘at the expense of the beauty, tranquility and diversity of the countryside’.

Tom Leveridge, a spokesman for the CPRE, said: ‘The Government’s intention to allow energy companies to plan and build their own offshore electricity networks will result in many more ugly and unnecessary pylons in our countryside.

‘In the rush to connect offshore wind developments straight to the grid little forethought will be given to the impact on the landscape.’

The Government is very focused on increasing generation capacity to achieve its targets and we’re concerned it hasn’t paid enough attention to reducing the need for infrastructure.

‘Less infrastructure goes hand in hand with protecting the landscape.’

Implementing the plans will cost the Government at least £8.8billion over the next eight years, according to the reports.

The astonishing figure is double previous estimates and will further add to doubts about the economic effectiveness of wind power.

The controversial energy source already relies on subsidies of £500million a year, while campaigners across the UK have tried to block a number of wind farms applications in areas of natural beauty.

The infrastructure is required to carry energy from wind farms in isolated areas to more populated areas in the south and east.

Because wind farms are normally far removed from urban centres, they rely on developing further transmission lines to carry the energy.

Despite the huge expense of investing in wind energy infrastructure, figures produced for the Government that compare wind energy with alternatives fail to include infrastructure costs.

The documents show an offshore wind farm in the North Sea may require pylons to be placed in Lincolnshire and East Anglia in order to supply energy to London and the Midlands.

A number of wind farms in the Irish Sea may also require lines to be placed in the Yorkshire Dales.

Former power network director at National Grid, Colin Gibson, said: ‘Even if the capital cost of building a wind farm was zero, it would still be more expensive than a conventional power station because of the costs of integrating it into the grid.’

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2012/06/26/energy-reforms-could-see-some-of-britains-most-beautiful-countryside-covered-with-hundreds-of-miles-of-giant-pylons/