Connecting into the National Grid
The electricity generated by the energy park will be exported into the existing national electricity transmission system at National Grid's Cottam substation in Nottinghamshire.
For our initial Stage One Consultation we identified three broad corridor options in which an electrical connection between the energy park and Cottam substation could potentially be routed. We undertook technical assessment of the different constraints within each of these corridors based on the possibility of building the connection using overhead lines and underground cable.
Our preferred connection corridor
The findings from our technical assessments, together with feedback submitted to that first consultation, informed our selection of the southernmost route option as our preferred connection corridor for the project.
Within this southern corridor we are proposing to build much of the connection into the substation using underground cable.
Further to seeking feedback on this option as part of our Stage Two Consultation, we are continuing to refine this corridor ahead of submitting our planning application later this year.
Why we chose this route
The findings from our technical assessments and feedback to non-statutory consultation determined:
- A preference for underground cable due to lower visual effect and less intrusion in the area
- The identification of ecological and heritage sites which would rule out certain areas
The combination of a preference for an underground cable together with the extent of known beneath-ground archaeological assets ruled out two of the three corridor options we considered.
While the cable may be required to be above ground in a number of locations along this preferred corridor (for example, joining Cottam substation, or avoiding archaeology), we have selected it as our preferred option on the basis that it enables the general design principle to underground the cable wherever possible while avoiding known archaeological sites.
It provides the best balance of minimising impacts on the environment and local communities while meeting the technical and constructability feasibility requirements.
Working with Island Green Power
Given the proximity of Gate Burton Energy Park to the proposed Island Green Power Cottam and West Burton solar projects, we have worked together to identify opportunities for a single shared grid connection area for the projects; the aim being to maximise opportunities for reducing overall environmental and social effects, in particular on communities in proximity to the grid connection corridor, and sensitive heritage and ecological receptors adjacent to the River Trent.
The outcome from this work has resulted in us together identifying a shared grid connection corridor.
Shared grid connection area
The shared connection corridor comprises an area in which we will locate our 400KV connection from Gate Burton Energy Park into Cottam substation, and Island Green Power will locate its 400kV connection to Cottam substation and its 132kV connection to West Burton.
Within this area, the installation of common elements (i.e., the cable ducts and associated installation activities) that would accommodate three cable connections in the future results in environmental and community benefit by reducing the amount of disturbance; in particular the level and frequency of construction activity.