August 4, 2008

New Power Cables Must Go Underground, Campaigners Say

ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners yesterday said they hope new power cables to carry electricity generated by wind farms will lie underground.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England was responding to news that electricity transmission and distribution companies are set to announce plans for a pounds 10bn rewiring of Britain.

A report due in the autumn will suggest that because of the shift to wind-powered energy, thousands of miles of new high-voltage power cables may have to be put in place to carry renewable energy generated in northern Scotland or the North Sea to consumers.

Yesterday, Dr Nic Best, regional chairman of CPRE, said it was his hope and expeactation that the lines from wind farms would be installed out of sight.

"Our understanding is that they would, in the main, be underground and we would expect that to be the case to maintain the character of the landscape," he said. "We would be expecting to see them located sensibly in relation to the National Grid network.

"CPRE are in favour of as much of the grid network being underground as possible. As far as we understand, there are economic and technical reasons why they should be underground, as well as aesthetic ones."

The Government has pledged that more than 30GW - roughly a third of the 100 GW total capacity needed by 2020 - will come from wind turbines by that date.

Around 11GW of this is likely to be generated in northern Scotland and 19GW in offshore wind farms, mostly in the North Sea.

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