National Grid and Energinet's Viking Link project is given a cautious welcome from Green Party spokesman
As work begins on an ambitious project to provide renewable energy to the UK, via the world’s longest electricity interconnector, it has been given a ‘qualified welcome’ by one spokesperson.
Construction work is currently under way at Bicker Fen to build a 2.4km long access road to the converter station site for National Grid and Energinet's Viking Link infrastructure project.
The project will create a high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) link between the UK and Denmark to provide cleaner energy.
Martin Blake, who speaks for the Green Party in the South Holland area, said he is giving the project a qualified welcome.
“It will increase the UK’s energy security by giving us access to a source beyond our borders, as well as further increasing the proportion of our energy we obtain from renewable sources,” he said.
“In that respect it’s far preferable to the building of new gas and nuclear power stations. It will also generate local jobs, particularly in the construction of the onshore infrastructure.
“But it’s not free of adverse environmental consequences. The project’s own 2017 environmental impact assessment accepted that it will affect important breeding grounds for coastal birds, and that electromagnetic radiation from the undersea cable will disrupt the navigation and communication of whales, dolphins and porpoises, which already suffer a number of hazards in the North Sea.
“In the end, every means of generating energy comes with its costs, and we can’t keep on buying time indefinitely.
At some point we’re going to have to seriously address the need to just use less of it.”
In the ‘End to End Environmental Assessment’ by National Grid and Energinet on the project in 2017, a paragraph reads: “A minor, localised, but long-term effect from electromagnetic fields will be caused during operation of the submarine cables. Whilst marine mammal species are sensitive to electromagnetic fields no impacts on prey location, navigation or migration patterns are expected and the effect has been assessed as Not Significant.”
The Viking Link will be approximately 760 km long, stretching from Bicker Fen and Revsing in South Jutland, Denmark.
Once completed by the end of 2023, it will have the capacity to be able to supply renewable energy to power one and a half million UK homes.
A spokesperson for National Grid added that the embedded carbon produced during construction will be offset within two years once it goes into operation 'due to the increased use of green generation rather than carbon-intense power generation in Denmark.'
Over the first 25 years of commercial operation, National Grid added that the carbon avoided due to the increase of renewable generation will be the equivalent of:
- 212 wind turbines operating for 12 months or
- 38 million traditional light bulbs being wrapped to LED or
- 46 million bags of waste being recycled rather than going to landfill.
Find out more about the Viking Link project here.