E.ON will be hosting a(nother) Rampion Offshore Wind Farm Meet the Buyer event on 29th January from 10:00am until 3:00pm. The venue is to be confirmed but will be between Worthing and Shoreham. The aim of the event is to inform local companies who are interested in supplying products and services relating to the onshore cabling and onshore substation elements of the project.
Fred F. Mueller outlines the rationale for the move:
With just a 48-hour notice delivered by a personal phone call to Ms. Merkel on a Saturday, the CEO of E.ON, the largest German and European power producer, let it be known that the company had decided to split itself in two, one part grouping fossil and nuclear power generation and a second part encompassing the “politically correct” activities in the field of “renewable” energies. Sort of a “Bad E.ON” / “Good E.ON” move. The intention is to get rid of the “bad” part as soon as possible by putting it up for sale. At the same time, this also means the “good” part will cease to be duty bound to ensure a stable power supply under all circumstances. Obviously, such a liability is not enforceable from an entity whose only power sources are unstable wind and solar power plants. In a nutshell, the message behind this move is that the silverback of the “big four” German energy producers who group the bulk of the country’s conventional and nuclear power production is about to close shop at short notice.
Updated 11th December.
RWE bailed out of the Atlantic Array last November. ScottishPower Renewables abandoned the Argyll Array the following month. SSE withdrew from Galloper back in March this year. And now RWE has followed suit. The Adonis Blue caterpillars and the Bronze Age cross dyke on Tottington Mount may yet survive.
If you have a technical interest in the difficulties that beset the construction of an offshore wind farm like Rampion, then the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) is running an event that may be worth your time. It will cover:
- Engineering challenges
- Ground model and concept selection
- Multi vessel geotechnical and geophysical ground investigations
- 3D ground modelling
It takes place on 23rd September from 6:00pm–8:00pm at the Holiday Inn in Gatwick. You don’t need to be a member of ICE to attend, but you do need to register with them and book. More here.
Hitherto our reference page on the trench, listed in the sidebar menu, simply comprised two large maps. Following the government’s decision to permit construction, the page has been augmented with the content of our recent posts dealing with the inspectors’ report (on the traffic implications and on Tottington Mount) as well as several links to relevant government documents, most importantly The Rampion Offshore Wind Farm Order 2014. It is now listed under ‘The Environment’ submenu (it previously appeared under ‘About Our Village’).
Readers of the Yr Arolygiaeth Gynllunio report [PDF] cannot help but notice that the inspectors were much exercised by Tottington Mount. It is discussed or referenced on no fewer than 32 pages. By contrast, there isn’t a single reference to Truleigh Hill anywhere.
Tottington Mount lies between the Truleigh Hill Youth Hostel and Tottington Manor Farm. There is a public footpath opposite the farm that will take you up and across the mount. It is extremely steep for much of the route. Apart from the splendid view to the north, there’s not much to see. You will pass a long low earthwork as you near the summit. The mount itself just looks like canonical downland to an inexpert eye. As the map above indicates, the trench will bisect the mount.
Tottington Mount is a virgin patch of Downs that has never been ploughed. As a consequence, it hosts noteworthy plant species (page 57). The works area for the trench is to narrow from 30-40 metres to 20-30 metres as it cuts across the area (page 94). E.ON will be spending £330K on bog matting and other mitigation expenses on this small section of the trench (page 38). Some details of the mitigation plans, and the SDNPA’s scepticism about them, can be found on pages 57-58. The inspectors think that these mitigation efforts may well fail (page 41). The trench will skirt the Beeding Hill to Newtimber Hill SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) with a margin of about 50 yards at Tottington Mount. Disturbance to the chalk grassland species living within the SSSI will be ‘negligible’, apparently. Indeed, these species are set to benefit significantly from all the environmental monitoring that will be happening at Tottington Mount as part of the mitigation exercise (pages 52-53). However, Adonis Blue caterpillars may not share this upbeat view — they risk losing their lunch (pages 67-68).
The earthwork is a Bronze Age cross dyke and is listed as an ancient monument. The trench will go right through it (click the map above to see the detail of this), something that English Heritage refers to as a “substantial harmful effect” (page 178). The good news is that archaeologists will be funded to root around in the rubble — “appropriate archaeological supervision” (page 179, pages 398-399) — and English Heritage felt able to rule that “the harm is necessary in order to deliver substantial public benefits that outweigh the harm” (page 178). In turn, the inspectors concluded that there will be “be no loss of significance of any designated or undesignated heritage asset” (page 182) notwithstanding the “risk of adverse effects upon heritage assets, including the Tottington Mount Scheduled Ancient Monument” (page 227).