Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the electricity distribution network that powers the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, is exploring an £8.5 million investment opportunity to improve Seaham’s power network.
On the back of a national Government-backed Green Recovery Scheme designed to enable the UK’s electricity network operators to bring forward investment to support the nation’s net zero targets, Northern Powergrid is seeking to carry out exploratory surveys for a potential new primary substation to power Seaham’s future and support customers looking to adopt low carbon technologies like electric vehicles, solar and heat pumps in the future.
To enable faster delivery of green projects that directly tackle the climate emergency, the Green Recovery Scheme, energy regulator Ofgem and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), made £300 million available for the UK’s electricity network operators to invest in increasing the capacity of the power networks over the next two years.
In Spring 2021, after asking local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), businesses and developers to state a case for investment in their localities, Northern Powergrid submitted a shortlist of 14 schemes with a combined value of £53.1 million. In May 2021, all of the schemes were approved, including the proposed investment for a new substation for Seaham.
Since 2017 Northern Powergrid has invested more than £6 million to deliver 38 schemes in Seaham that reinforce sections of its underground cables and overhead lines to improve network reliability for its customers. It also identified that the town needs a new major substation to meet increasing local demand for power driven by new developments and a growing population and had earmarked investment for this by 2028.
The Green Recovery Scheme investment enables Northern Powergrid to bring forward the delivery of this project, meaning the town’s network capacity is sufficient to support and fast-track green projects that could include installation of individual electric vehicle charging points, the creation of rapid public electric vehicle charging hubs, setting up of new green businesses and development of former colliery land.
Phil Jagger, Northern Powergrid’s Green Recovery Scheme Programme Lead, said: “In the coming years our reliance on electricity will increase as we use it to heat our homes and power our cars. A new primary substation means that Northern Powergrid can create an energy infrastructure that gives Seaham a head start when it comes to being ready for the anticipated rapid growth and increased adoption of low carbon technologies like electric vehicles, heat pumps and solar panels.
“Local people will benefit from being able to adopt these new technologies sooner and green businesses looking to invest in the area will find they can do so more easily because there is enough power capacity to meet their needs. All this supports the urgent need to decarbonise as well as boosting economic activity to bring forward green jobs, supporting Seaham in becoming a leader in clean energy growth within our region.”
With the £8.5 million investment approved by central government, Northern Powergrid is now looking to assess the feasibility of locating the substation, which will serve the whole town, adjacent to the site of the former Vane Tempest Colliery substation located on grassland near the foot/cycle path to the north of East Shore Village.
At a planning committee meeting being held on 7 September 2021, the company is seeking permission from Seaham Town Council to carry out a series of initial exploratory surveys to assess the suitability of the site. If the site is found to viable it will then submit firm plans and timescales for delivering the project.
As part of its open approach to the project, Northern Powergrid will reassure the Town Council and community at the meeting of its commitment to working closely with local people to manage the impact of any proposed work, provide opportunities for residents to have their say about the wider plans for the project which would include proposals to reduce the visual impact of the site and protect the environment through landscaping and wildflower planting, supporting the whole town through initiatives designed to offset carbon, helping educate local children about electrical safety, inspiring young people to take up careers in engineering and supporting vulnerable customers in the area.
Phil Jagger concluded: “Projects like the one we’re proposing in Seaham will not only ensure a reliable local power supply now, but also proactively tackle the climate emergency, setting our communities up for a cleaner, greener and more prosperous future for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.”
Anyone wanting to find out more about Northern Powergrid’s Green Recovery Scheme and its proposals for Seaham should visit northernpowergrid.com/green-recovery. They can also contact Northern Powergrid’s customer care team by calling 0800 011 3332 (quoting reference CRM 210820-002343 if the enquiry is about the company’s proposed investment in Seaham) or email email@example.com. The network operator is also available 24/7 on Facebook and Twitter.
To translate information into another language, people can click the accessibility icon at the top of all Northern Powergrid’s web pages or call its language line on 0800 389 8204. People who find it difficult to speak or hear can use text phone 0800 028 9507 or text relay dial 18001 followed by 0800 169 2996.
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