The developer’s Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Report (opens a large PDF) provides a few details about important aspects of the proposal. This one (from page 7) is about transformer cabins:
Transformers are required to control the voltage of the electricity generated across the Development site before it reaches the Development substation. Transformer cabins are therefore likely to be located across the Development site area at regular intervals.
So what would these look like?
The approximate dimensions of the transformer cabins could be 3 m x 7 m x 4 m. Transformer cabins are typically externally finished in keeping with the prevailing surrounding environment, often utilising a green painted finish.
They include an image in the report:
(Apparently this is what ‘finished in keeping with the prevailing surrounding environment’ looks like!)
How many might there be? Page 7 doesn’t say. However, have a look at page 102 of the report which shows the ‘Indicative Development Layout’:
You can click the image above for a bigger view – or look at the precise detail in the report itself (link at beginning of this post). But to save you some time we can reveal what is otherwise rather hidden. Here’s a close up of that layout:
Notice the vertical brown lines with small green boxes? The key for this figure explains that the brown lines are ‘access tracks’ and the green boxes are the transformer cabins.
Now have another look at the whole layout – there are 82 in total.
It is quite incredible to think of 82 of these spread across this countryside. They are 3 m x 7 m x 4 m in size. We have no information about how noisy they will be, but the fact that companies exist that provide a service to combat the noise that electrical transformers produce suggests that noise could be a significant problem.
How to keep them dry?
We know that the developers have to accommodate the fact that this site is at risk of flooding. Their report mentions the word ‘flood’ over 80 times! On page 57 of the report the developers explain that one of the key issues to be addressed is:
Ensuring the Development is safe from coastal water ingress in the event of a breach of coastal flood defences
Ensuring that their equipment remains safe is the key reason why the developers are proposing solar panels that are up to 4.5m in height. They are lifting the equipment up high so that if a flood occurs, the panels will be above the water.
By this logic, it could be assumed that the transformer cabins also have to be raised high enough to avoid ‘coastal water ingress’. When asked about this, the developers said that they have a cunning plan: they’re thinking of using rafts. The plan would be to place the transformer cabins on top of floatable rafts so that the equipment will all rise up in the event of a flood.
Whatever you may think about their idea of rafts, it is clear that the information provided in the scoping report is not the full picture – literally. The transformer sheds would be larger than suggested if they are each sitting on top of sufficient buoyancy to enable the weight of a transformer to be lifted above the water.
NB: The detail in this post is sourced directly from the developers’ published information and from a conversation with the developers.