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March of the wind farm as turbine applications soar

‘The last thing Scottish ministers want to know is how many turbines have been imposed on the country. If they did, they would have to tell the Scottish people and they couldn’t blame Westminster as planning is fully devolved. ‘They would also have to stop dodging key policy questions like how many turbines do we need, how many can we afford and how many can our landscape and communities take.

Shock­ing new figures reveal ferocious pace of installation, with nearly 5,000 of the giant structures set to blight our countryside

The number of wind turbines in Scot­land has doubled over the past year, with nearly 5,000 set to be scattered across the country. New fig­ures show 4,519 turbines have been approved, built or are under construction, de­spite green energy tar­gets already being met.

This is up from 2,315 turbines the previous year – and hundreds more are at the plan­ning stage.

Scot­land now has more wind tur­bines than the rest of the UK put together, with the Highlands soon to have a greater number than En­land.

Last night, critics demanded an urgent halt to their ‘out of control’ proliferation.

Ac­cord­ing to fig­ures from Renewables UK, the wind farm companies’ trade body, Scot­land is bearing the brunt of new development. While construc­tion in the rest of the UK has slowed, 27 large scale wind farms were built north of the Border last year – with 31 more planned for 2015.

But ac­cord­ing to council planning applications, the scale of development is even higher. There are 2,068 turbines planned or under construction in the Highlands, with more than 500 around Loch Ness. Dumfries and Galloway has 1,315, while Aberdeenshire has more than 800.

The SNP has set a target of generating the equivalent of all our electricity from renewable sources by 2020, with the majority expected to come from onshore wind.

But the country is already on course to exceed green energy targets. According to the Scientific Alliance, which campaigns against wind farms, output from existing developments  and pl anned schemes given approval already stood at 99 percent of the target more than a year ago.

As a result, campaigners are calling for a moratorium on all new wind farm applications.

Linda Holt of Scotland Against Spin said: ‘Wind farm development in Scotland is out of control.

‘The last thing Scottish ministers want to know is how many turbines have been imposed on the country. If they did, they would have to tell the Scottish people and they couldn’t blame Westminster as planning is fully devolved. 

‘They would also have to stop dodging key policy questions like how many turbines do we need, how many can we afford and how many can our landscape and communities take.

‘In other words, they would have to do the job of gov­ern­ment. In­stead, they have lain down in front of the in­ter­na­tional wind industry and allowed speculators to besiege and blight communities and landscapes across Scot­land.’

Scot­tish Tory energy spokesman Murdo Fraser said: ‘Wind energy has a part to play in the power mix, but the SNP’s single minded obsession with on­shore wind is blanketing our countryside with turbines producing inefficient, intermittent and expensive energy.

 ‘There are already enough turbines either constructed or in the pipeline to meet the 100 per cent target for 2020. Communities across Scotland, already feeling under siege from wind companies, will ask why we need to keep building more and more.

‘What Scot­land needs is a bal­anced en­ergy pol­icy. With ma­jor power sta­tions at Lon­gan­net, Hun­ter­ston and Tor­ness all set to close in the next eight years, and with the SNP propos­ing noth­ing to re­place them, we are fac­ing an en­ergy gap which in­ter­mit­tent wind power can­not fill.

‘Even with all these tur­bines, we will be left hav­ing to im­port power from Eng­land to keep the lights on.’

Wind farm op­er­a­tors are be­ing paid £1mil­lion a week to switch the tur­bines off dur­ing pe­ri­ods of oversup­ply.

The lat­est in­dus­try fig­ures, from the Re­new­able En­ergy Foun­da­tion, show £53.1mil­lion was handed out to green en­ergy com­pa­nies over the past 12 months for shut­ting down tur­bines. The money is paid by con­sumers through a sub­sidy added to elec­tric­ity bills.

Tur­bines have to be shut down at cer­tain times be­cause Bri­tain’s elec­tric­ity net­work is un­able to cope with the power they pro­duce.

On av­er­age, a wind farm paid to switch off earns about onethird more than if it pro­duced elec­tric­ity and sold it to the Na­tional Grid.

The scale of the pay­ments has bal­looned in the past two years. In 2012, wind farms were paid £5.9mil­lion to switch off. By last year, that had in­creased al­most ten­fold.

Since wind farms started re­ceiv­ing pay­ments five years ago, more than £100mil­lion has been paid out.

Over the past year, Whitelee wind farm, just outside Glasgow, has been paid more than £20million for turning off its turbines.

With 215 turbines, Whitelee is Britain’s largest on­shore wind farm and is owned by Scottish Power Renewables, a subsidiary of the Spanish energy giant Iberdrola.

A Scot­tish Govern­ment spokesman said: ‘Sur­veys show there is strong pub­lic sup­port for on­shore wind and the Scot­tish Govern­ment is am­bi­tious for Scot­land’s tremen­dous green en­ergy po­ten­tial and its abil­ity to trans­form com­mu­ni­ties.‘We con­tinue to lead the way in sup­port­ing lo­cal and com­mu­nity own­er­ship of re­new­able en­ergy. We re­main com­mit­ted to grow­ing re­new­ables and are keen to see the right de­vel­op­ments in the right places.

‘Scot­tish plan­ning pol­icy is clear that the de­sign and lo­ca­tion of re­new­ables projects should re­flect the scale and char­ac­ter of the land­scape, as well as be­ing con­sid­ered en­vi­ron­men­tally ac­cept­able.’


Source: http://www.pressreader.com/...

APR 27 2015
http://www.windaction.org/posts/42607-march-of-the-wind-farm-as-turbine-applications-soar
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