Externally, the converter will look similar to the Drax buildings. Credit: planning documents

National Grid lines up Drax converter project

Permission is sought for a converter station at Drax in Selby, part of a scheme to transfer clean energy between Scotland and England.

North Yorkshire Council’s planning committee will consider the application for Scotland-England Green Link 2 (England On-shore Scheme), known as SEGL2, next week, with a recommendation to approve the hybrid application.

Planning officers said “there is a clear need for the proposed development” adding that “while the proposal itself is not a renewable energy project, it provides for supporting infrastructure. The proposed development would enable green energy to be transported from where it is produced to where it is needed”.

Aecom is advising the National Grid.

There are three elements to the SEGL2 scheme, which in broad terms will reinforce the connections between Peterhead in Scotland and Drax. Along with the Scottish On-shore Scheme and the Marine Scheme, the English On-shore Scheme includes around 67 km of underground HVDC cable in East Riding of Yorkshire (already consented) and 2km of underground HVDC cable in North Yorkshire, connecting from the landfall at Fraisthorpe Beach to the proposed converter station close to the existing Drax 400kv substation.

The converter station would be connected to the existing Drax 400kv substation by approximately 0.5km of underground HVAC cable.

The site covered by the scheme is around 86 acres in total.

The outline part of the hybrid application is for the converter station, to be built on an agricultural field to the east of New Road, Drax – a site outside the power station’s boundaries.

The proposed convertor station would be sited on a 538,000 sq ft platform, which would be raised approximately 1.8-3.4m above current land levels. Up to 55% of the platform area could contain buildings up to a maximum height of 28.5m above the finished platform level, while up to 45% of the platform area could contain buildings or outdoor electrical equipment up to a maximum height of 20m, according to planning documents.

Indicative plans show materials to be used will roughly match those used for the large buildings within Drax.

Full planning permission is sought for the installation of high voltage direct current (HVDC) underground cables from the River Ouse to the converter station and high voltage alternating current (HVAC) underground cables from the converter station to the existing Drax substation as well as all associated temporary works including compounds, accesses and bellmouths as part of the construction of SEGL2.

The project’s planning reference on the North Yorkshire planning portal is 2022/0711/EIA.

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