Editor's Note: The following are selected excerpts from the Renewable Energy Foundation press release describing this research. The full press release is available via the link below.
Using the new research it is now possible to assess how renewable generators up and down the country are performing. This data, published in five online files; Biomass, Hydro, Landfill Gas, Sewage Gas and Windpower, shows that firm generators are producing high load factors with carefully designed resource use and load following.
However in the wind sector, far and away the most active of all the technologies at present, results vary enormously due to location. The capacities offshore are encouraging, whilst those onshore are generally only superior in locations very distant from the populations requiring the electrical energy.
Although most sites were built on expected capacity factors of around 30%, results include;
19% (approx) capacity factor for the wind turbines at Dagenham, Essex.
9% (approx) capacity factor at the Barnard Castle plant, County Durham.
The best performing wind sites are in the north of Scotland, and on Shetland the wind turbines are producing capacity factors of over 50%.
Using this analysis of the Ofgem data, researchers have also calibrated a model predicting how a large installed capacity of wind power built across the UK would actually perform. The project used Meteorological Office data to model output for every hour of every January from 1994-2006.
The startling results show that, even when distributed UK wide, the output is still highly volatile.
The average January power variation over the last 12 years is 94% of installed capacity. It is an uncontrolled variation decided by the weather.
The average minimum output is only 3.7% or 0.9GW in a 25GW system.
Power swings of 70% in 30 hours are the norm in January.
The governments’ expectation is that three quarters of the 2010 renewables target, and the lion’s share of the ‘20% by 2020’ target will be made up of windpower. However, the new research offers predictions which are in keeping with Danish and German empirical experience and demonstrate the need for a broader spread of investment in the renewable sector. <br.
The report was commissioned from Oswald Consultancy Limited and funded by donation from the green entrepreneur Vincent Tchenguiz.
Campbell Dunford, CEO of REF, said: “This important modelling exercise shows that even with best efforts a large wind carpet in the UK would have a low capacity credit, and be a real handful to manage. This isn’t the best way to encourage China and India to move towards the low-carbon economy. As a matter of urgency, for the planet’s sake, we need to bring forward a much broader range of low carbon generating technologies, including the full sweep of renewables. Wind has a place, but it must not be allowed to squeeze out other technologies that have more to offer.”
This is the report submitted by the Planning Inspector appointed by the National Assembly for Wales that dismisses the appeal by the Awe Amman Tawe quango for a wind farm on Mynydd-y-Gwrhyd.
Of particular interest are the Inspector's remarks on Landscape and Visual Impact (paragraphs 16-20 on pages 5-6) with respect to how 'developers photomontages' do not give the true visual impact of actual wind farm sites.
It is broadly accepted that wind turbines do not emit CO2 at the point of generation. However, in common with all types of power station, it is emitted during their construction and, through damage directly inflicted on the construction site, over a much longer period. The total debt will vary from site to site but will comprise some or all of the following;
• Emissions arising from fabrication (steel smelting, forging of turbine columns, the manufacture of blades and the electrical and mechanical components);
• Emissions arising from construction (transportation of components, quarrying, building foundations, access tracks and hard standings, commissioning);
• The indirect loss of CO2 uptake (fixation) by plants originally on the surface of the site but obliterated by construction activity including the destruction of active bog plants on wet sites and deforestation;
• Emissions due to the indirect, long-term liberation of CO2 from carbon stored in peat due to drying and oxidation processes caused by construction of the site.
It is important to recognise that peat is a major store of carbon accumulated from dead plant remains over many millennia. It is held in perpetuity because the bog’s wetness and acid conditions prevent the access of oxygen and inhibit the growth of bacteria which would otherwise rot the vegetation. Draining peat for construction reverses both these long-term processes: the soil is exposed to the air, the carbon is converted to CO2 and released slowly to the atmosphere.
Several papers from the wind industry in Denmark and the UK have addressed the first two points with estimates of payback time ranging from about six to 30 months.
However, the industry rarely, if ever, considers the last two. This is a fundamental omission as their contribution to the overall CO2 debt, in particular the last, can be far greater than all the others put together. This paper outlines a procedure for quantifying it.
The guide has been prepared to enable anyone with access to the Environmental Statement (ES) that forms part of a Planning Application (PA) for a wind farm to estimate its CO2 debt. (If some of the requisite information proves to be unavailable, this ought to provide grounds for postponing consideration of the application and the commissioning of further assessment.)
The results of the calculations described should be submitted to planning authorities or Public Inquiries as part of the arguments used in assessing the merits and demerits of an application.
Noise - ‘unwanted sound’ – can ruin people’s well-being and environment
“Peace and quiet is the single most important factor people have in mind when buying a home – with one in five prospective homebuyers rating it as the most important consideration when choosing where they will buy.” Alliance and Leicester Survey, 3/6/02
The Noise Association, which published this report, is the research arm of the UK Noise Association. Both organisations are based at 2nd Floor, Broken Wharf House, 2 Broken Wharf, London EC4V 3DT, tel 020 7329 0774, email email@example.com www.ukna.org.uk
The complete report is available in the attached pdf file 'Noise Association'. A smaller, edited version that excludes two pages of photos (pages 7 & 11) is also available. Selected Extracts from this report appear below.
..neither renewable energy nor greater energy efficiency can provide the complete solution to the shortfall we face. This will depend on securing energy supplies from abroad, in new nuclear power stations to replace those becoming obsolete and replacing older coal-fired stations with cleaner, more efficient technology.
Neither aviation nor the wind energy industry is at a steady state and both can be
expected to evolve in ways which may impact the other. Therefore, it is expected that
this CAP will be a living document, which will be updated to reflect the outcome of
any further research into the interaction between wind turbine developments and
aviation. It will also be revised at intervals to take account of changes in regulations,
feedback from industry, and recognised best practice.
Editor's Note: Recently updated, Elizabeth Mann's extensive research on the deceptive measures employed by proponents of industrial wind energy in the UK at both the national and local level should prove quite useful to opponents of wind energy in the UK.
A7 Energy's appeal against the Easington District Council for refusing to grant planning permission with respect to a wind plant consisting of 2 x 2.3MW turbines was dismissed by D. L. Burrows, an inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The principal reason for dismissal was adverse impact the turbines would have on the activities of Shotten airfield.
The full Executive Summary of the Report is printed below. The complete Report is attached as a pdf file.
The following submission first discusses BWEA’s position on the headline issues before
turning to detailed responses to the five questions and four issues on which Government
sought views. We are also including four appendices, which address the development of
onshore wind, offshore wind and marine renewables, as well as the combined contribution
that these technologies plus wind microgeneration can make to our power supplies in 2020.
We believe that the evidence we are presenting makes a strong case for setting a firm
target of 20% of our electricity from renewable generators in 2020. If this is done it will
show that the UK Government is serious in setting this country on a course towards its longterm
carbon reduction goals as well as increasing the security of our energy supplies.