A quintet of East Anglian MPs have been successful in their calls for the adoption of a new Offshore Wind transmission network, following the publication of a new report by National Grid ESO and support from Kwasi Kwarteng, Energy Minister.
As part of an Adjournment Debate tabled by North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker this evening, The Energy Minister said:
I'd also like to thank his efforts, along with the quintet, that have so ably - over many months now - lobbied me, persuaded me, cajoled me, to really look at this in a more detailed way than I think we had done in the past.
The argument for some form of offshore network system has been won.
MPs Jerome Mayhew (Broadland), Duncan Baker (North Norfolk), James Cartlidge (South Suffolk), George Freeman (Mid-Norfolk), and Therese Coffey (Suffolk Coastal) have been working together throughout 2020 to encourage a rethink of the current strategy which would have led to individual trenches being dug across the Norfolk and Suffolk countryside for every new offshore wind farm. As a result of their campaign, the government commissioned National Grid ESO to look into the issue further, culminating in a report published in September 2020.
The report recommends the creation of a new offshore wind transmission network, greatly reducing the number of connections required between offshore wind farms and land based connectors (sub-stations which connect wind farms to the National Grid). This approach has received the support of the Energy Minister and will now be progressed.
Mr Kwarteng also noted that the government has been a victim of its own success. Initial ambitions for 10GW of wind energy by 2030 have been far exceeded, with a new target of 40GW. That upscaling of the government's ambitions towards Net Zero has welcome benefits for the environment and climate change but has brought with it some technological challenges. The offshore transmission network will mark a great step forward in the UK's journey towards net zero by 2050.