Impact on Landscape
Note: counts do not include items in sub-categories
Wind farm objectors, including a number of large-scale barley tillage farmers, yesterday won a landmark planning battle, shooting down plans for 17 giant wind turbines, taller than the Spire of Dublin.
After a high-profile fight, An Bord Pleanala finally refused permission for Dutch developers WEOM to erect the 400ft-high turbines at Kilbraney, Co Wexford.
The decision puts down a national marker that planners will not automatically give the green light for wind farms where they can visually damage the landscape and impact on the lives of local people.
A controversial plan to build a wind farm on a sensitive habitat near the Pentland Hills was thrown out by councillors yesterday.
Energy company E.ON UK wanted to build 18 turbines on a raised bog at Auchencorth Moss near Penicuik, but the scheme attracted about 2,400 objections and opposition from groups including the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Friends of the Pentlands and the Butterfly Conservation Society.
Naturalist David Bellamy described the plan as "an act of international vandalism"
Opposition is growing today against plans to turn one of the largest wind farms in the UK into one of the tallest.
ScottishPower Renewables and Eurus Energy want to treble the output of "clean, green energy" at Llandinam in Mid Wales and to replace 103 45-metre (149ft) tall turbines with 42, 122-metre (400ft) machines.
When it was opened in 1992, Llandinam was one of the largest wind farms in Europe.
Three months ago, Ocean Gate was abuzz with excitement as it prepared to celebrate a windmill, which local officials said would lower the electric bills at the municipal building. But shortly after the switch was turned on, problems began.
Residents living on three sides of the turbine began to complain about the noise - a constant metallic drone - as well as light reflecting off the rotors. With the prospect of another 50-kilowatt windmill being built in the next year, the complaints have gotten louder.
"The Quechan Tribe has been holding a vigil for the last five days on the site of the Ocotillo Wind project near some recently discovered cremation areas," Terry Weiner, Desert Protective Council's coordinator for Imperial County projects and conservation, told Indian Country Today Media Network on May 30. "There has been singing and telling of the creation story and just being together in this beautiful desert."
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed off on the project's Environmental Impact Statement over the objection of Native American tribal officials who remain concerned about the aesthetic impact of the project on ancestral lands and the potential for disturbing cultural and archaeological artifacts, including possible cremation sites.
Escalating concerns about industrial wind turbines have prompted the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) to urge the province of Ontario to suspend further development until farm families and rural residents are assured that their interests are adequately protected.
The supposed defenders of the British countryside are dodging and defying their own rules to permit development in beauty spots, according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
Weakened planning laws have opened the way to new roads, quarrying, wind farms and other invasions of wild landscapes, in spite of a battery of legal measures intended to protect plant and animal life as well as peaceful solitude.
Logan Township supervisors will allow a wind farm developer to build the nation's next-to-tallest wind turbines in Chestnut Flats.
Supervisors voted 4-to-1 Thursday night to allow Gamesa Energy to build 19 turbines north of Altoona, making them visible from 17th Street, Mill Run Road, Old Mill Run Road and along Route 36. Because of the vote, the turbines can placed on 335-foot towers, rather than 270 feet as allowed by ordinance.
In an interview Wednesday, Huron County Commissioner Kurt Damrow said Monday's public hearing is the last chance for local units of government, including townships that have control of their zoning and have a wind turbine ordinance, to speak to the State of Michigan in regard to maintaining local control over setback requirements and noise limitations for wind developments.
"What's on the line is whether local units of government will have a say in zoning, specifically (regarding) setbacks and noise," Damrow said.
State energy officials are gauging interest from developers who would build an offshore farm of electricity-generating, skyscraper-sized wind turbines off the Worcester coastline.
"The question is, how do we tap into the wind resources that we've got?" said Maryland Energy Administration Director Malcolm D. Woolf.
While the decision was praised by environmentalists, local campaigners accused the firm of making token gestures.
It follows a landmark High Court ruling, which stated that the Coalition's renewable energy targets did not outweigh value of the beauty of the English countryside.
Oceana County commissioners agreed Thursday to send the request from an offshore wind development group on to the county's planning commission for its input.
Despite pressure from opponents of the proposed offshore wind farm to end the plan, commissioners decided to refer the memo from Scandia Wind to the planners for review, study and a recommendation.
A project that could involve the town in the Bluewater Wind offshore wind farm project has been proposed, and officials and residents are looking at possible plans with careful eyes.
Bluewater is planning to construct a wind farm several miles off the coast of Rehoboth Beach in the coming years.
Purvine and John Oler, a landowner near Watonga, dispute that there was much negotiation.
"They came to us and made an offer and said we would either take that offer or they would file eminent domain," Purvine said. "There was no recourse. That's the way it was."
Oler, 64, said the OG&E representative essentially told him, "Do it our way, or we condemn you."
A farming couple must wait to hear the outcome of their High Court challenge to plans for a wind farm near their land.
Rebecca and Brian Barnes of Gilsmere Farm, Killington, claim plans for six turbines at Old Hutton would be a blight on the landscape, cause a noise nuisance, and put their three children at risk.
Several Maxdale and Ding Dong residents are opposing a proposed power line project for aesthetic and financial reasons.
"I live in the country; nobody out here wants this," said Sherry Fisher, a landowner with 450 acres of pristine ranch land that may be disturbed by the new towers.
Two weeks ago, Oncor sent newsletters to landowners whose land could be crossed by towers.
No Renewable Energy Approvals for offshore have been issued and no offshore projects will proceed at this time. Applications for offshore wind projects in the Feed-In-Tariff program will no longer be accepted and current applications will be suspended.
It's green and mean.
At least some say so.
The Ontario government is introducing green legislation next week expected to strip the right of local councils to oppose wind farms and other green industry projects.
Wind farms are a prime example of the type of green industry the province is trying to encourage to generate clean electricity and foster growth in new industries.
Bryne Purchase, a former deputy minister of finance and energy in Ontario, now executive director of the Queen's University Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy, says Dalton McGuinty's government seems to be flying by the seat of its pants when it comes to energy. "This has all been driven by relatively simple political thinking: coal bad, wind good," he says. A carbon tax, whatever the form, would have had the advantage of pricing the pollutants out of the market, rather than making wind the default winning technology.