RWE scraps Triton survey bid

RWE Innogy UK has withdrawn an application to energy regulator Ofgem for permission to carry out compulsory survey work on land in Lincolnshire, eastern England, in relation to its Triton Knoll Offshore Wind Farm, citing "uncertainty" over the request.

RWE planned to carry out the survey to see if the site is suitable for onshore transmission infrastructure for the up-to-900MW offshore wind farm, but needed Ofgem’s consent to do so despite the objections of the landowner.

Under the current electricity generation licence, a developer can only exercise its right of entry if it is for the purpose of seeing whether the land is suitable for construction or extension of a generating station.

Ofgem told Recharge at the time the application was made that its view was "that consent should not be granted", as its view was that the purpose of the entry was different as the one stipulated in the rules. It had yet to deliver its final decision.

Jacob Hain, project manager for Triton Knoll, said: "Voluntary agreements for surveys have been reached with a large number of landowners. The decision to apply to Ofgem to request compulsory access in order to carry out remaining surveys was very much done as a last resort.

"Ofgem have set out an interpretation in their 'minded to' position that the rights established in our generation licence may not give us the right to request compulsory access for surveys.

"In light of the uncertainty which has prevailed following our application, we have withdrawn it and are reviewing our options. We continue to work closely with landowners and local communities and the development of Triton Knoll is progressing as planned," Hain said.

No implications for the overall project are expected, added RWE, which is working on further voluntary agreements.

But the German-owned developer questioned the logic of the situation.

“We do not believe it can have been the intention that the powers of compulsory entry afforded by the generation licence should be narrower in their scope than the powers of compulsory purchase, seeing as the two powers are intended to facilitate a common aim – the delivery of the project.”

In a separate development, RWE Innogy has had plans for its 50MW wind farm at Glen Kyllachy near Tomatin, Scotland refused by members of the Highland Council's South Planning Applications Committee.

The motion to refuse was unanimously supported by local councilors, on the grounds that its development would have a significant detrimental visual impact.