In recent months, Norwegian company Equinor has been undertaking extensive surveys and consultations to decide where to track the underground power cabling for their expanding windfarms off the North Norfolk coast. They have now made a decision on which of the two alternative route choices to take from the coast to an electricity substation south of Norwich.
The two enlarged windfarms – called Dudgeon and Sheringham Shoal – will be located offshore north of Sheringham. Two possible underground cabling routes from landfall sites at Weybourne and Bacton, respectively, were considered. Cables from Weybourne were to be routed west of Aylsham. But, the 100m wide track from the Bacton landfall site could have tracked south of Tuttington and across the parish east of Burgh and then through Brampton. The work involved could have caused us and our neighbours considerable disruption.
But the decision has just been announced to take the route west of Aylsham so the effects on the residents of Tuttington should be minimal – at least near to the village.
This still leaves open the question about different North Sea windfarm companies re-opening the same old onshore trenches to put in new cables to carry power from further offshore expansions in the future. This recalls the old problem of different utility companies re-opening the same bit of road on successive weeks to maintain their pipework. It seems that a bit of co-ordination between the various offshore companies might save us all a bit more bother onshore.
Most people are likely to support renewable energy programs such as those providing power from offshore wind farms. But perhaps it is time to consider again the idea of constructing an offshore ring main because future windfarm development is likely to increase indefinitely as economies of scale become yet more favourable.