In my last post I outlined the likely effect on Scottish Power Energy Networks (SPEN) proposed Strategic Reinforcement Project due to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) withdrawing public subsidy for on-shore wind farms a year earlier than anticipated.
In essence, by 2023 when this project is meant to come to fruition, on-shore wind farm generation in the region will not only be much less than the project was designed to accommodate in its current form but the location of the larger blocks of on-shore generation will be confined to specific areas of the region rather than be distributed as large blocks throughout the region had all the wind farm projects now in planning or being scoped, gone ahead.
It is likely that this early announcement by The Rt. Hon. Amber Rudd MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, on the 18 June 2015 saying that only those wind farms that had been consented by that date would be eligible for public subsidy was not anticipated by SPEN when drawing up the project scope even though the intension to withdraw such subsidies, should they be returned to office, was clearly spelt out in the Conservative Party 2015 Election Manifesto (http://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/manifesto2015/conservativemanifesto2015.pdf see page 57 for full details).
What we have now, therefore, is a proposed reinforcement project based on a high voltage (HV) overhead network of up to 400kV and capable of carrying 2000MW from the West of the region East to Harker, near Carlisle, to accommodate wind farms that in all likelihood will not be built even if they were to gain consent in the future, if the public subsidy disappears as stated.
The time is right for SPEN to re-think the scope and siting of this project. I will expand on these aspects in later blogs.
In the meanwhile if you have any comments feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org