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Pyloning the agony?

According to the National Grid, five times more power lines need to be installed across the country in the next seven years than in the previous 30 years.

A predicted huge expansion in renewables, mainly offshore wind and onshore solar, combined with major housing developments, the shift to heat pumps and burgeoning electric vehicle use will all add to the burden on the nation’s just-about-coping distribution grid. The Great Grid Upgrade is a 5-year, £16bn programme recently announced by the National Grid to get the energy from where it’s generated to where it’s needed. It will mean a massive increase in power lines, pylons and substations, especially in areas connecting the grid with the new sources of power such as East Anglia and the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Understandably, many communities are worried that the impending march of the pylons will blight their landscape and are throwing whatever planning obstacles they can in their path. The government regards current planning guidelines as too restrictive and is looking to find ways to chuck another truck-load of red tape on the bonfire. Environmentalists and conservation groups are torn between being fully behind the expansion of green energy and worried about the potential impact of all that extra infrastructure on the countryside.

The Nadder Valley and surrounding area is unlikely to be much visibly affected beyond some beefing up of our substations and connectors to boost grid capacity where necessary. Issues might arise if ever a large solar farm or wind turbine is envisaged – but even then the necessary cabling to connect to the grid could be buried in those places where overhead lines would be a particular eyesore.

Of more immediate concern is potential delays for more modest local green initiatives, such as rooftop solar installations, to connect to the grid. This has not been a problem for Nadder Community Energy so far – our local network operator has been able to cope with the extra output from our previously installed arrays amounting to about 600kW and also another 350kW planned for next year. But as more connections come on stream across the network, delays will be more likely and the waiting list will get longer. All we can hope for in future years is that the whole upgrade programme is sufficiently streamlined and fast-tracked to keep ahead of demand and not impede progress towards net zero.

Enjoy the last of the summer with the whine of our electric cars

Remember, our two fully electric Renault Zoes, Sparky and Electra, are there for you to make full use of – perfect for humming round the country lanes or whizzing to Salisbury, Shaftesbury or Warminster for the weekly shop. Join the Tisbury Electric Car Club for a ridiculously modest fee and leave your gas-guzzler at home. Check out the TECC website today.

And finally – our latest share offer is tantalisingly close

The anticipation is building! Our latest share offer, to help us provide solar energy for a further batch of local schools whilst giving investors an attractive rate of interest, is almost within grabbing distance. Keep your eyes and ears open.

Alan Maryon-Davis

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