7 February 2019
Offshore Wind Energy and Vattenfall

I am a major advocate for offshore renewable energy, but we need a proper plan for the necessary infrastructure to connect the electricity from offshore wind farms to the National Grid.

Currently, instead of a proper strategic connection plan, we’ve got a chaotic free for all of major cables and substations being brought onshore, with major environmental impact. Norfolk is no different.

With so many proposed windfarms looking to make landfall along our coast, as well as connect to the National Grid through substations in our countryside, I am raising this issue in Parliament – with a number of other MPs, cross-party, showing an interest.

Last night however, I cancelled the adjournment debate that I had secured to speak at the Open Floor Hearing in Norwich, concerning Vattenfall UK’s proposed Norfolk Vanguard Offshore Windfarm project.

As I have reported frequently over recent months, Vattenfall wish to build one of the largest substations in the world at the village of Necton in my constituency (with a second substation to follow if their proposed sister-project, Norfolk Boreas, is given permission), and both the local communities and I have grave concerns about a number of aspects of the current proposals.

That’s why I took the opportunity to support my constituents at last night’s hearing, attacking their “sham tick-box consultation” which has failed to properly engage with anyone locally – resulting in a set of proposals in Necton that just about everybody locally who has looked at them thinks is bonkers.

Given that UK energy bill payers and taxpayers are paying billions in subsidies to fund these offshore wind farms, I believe that the least local communities can expect is to be properly consulted on where the onshore infrastructure is situated, and how it is delivered.

We need a proper connection plan, and I am firmly committed to continuing to pursue this both locally and in Parliament.