Documents from UK
The Service favors: --conservation of wildlife in the public trust; --development of renewable energy that is bird and bat friendly; and --use of informed decisions based on adequate environmental assessment and sound science.
This report is based on data provided by the International Energy Agency, the Department of Trade & Industry, the Royal Academy of Engineering, Princeton University and a number of other respected sources. It sets out an agenda for Government in the short term and the long term, answering the key issues raised by the Government's current Energy Review related to power generation: the economy, the environment and security of supply.
International Experience With Implementing Wind Energy examines the relative costs, advantages and disadvantages of wind generation. In addition, the report explores infrastructure issues, public attitudes toward wind development, and the various policy instruments used to support the development of wind energy in countries that are leaders in implementing wind energy.
This report surveys the intense debate now taking place as to why the chosen strategy is not achieving its objectives. We believe that a principal factor is to be found in the increasingly controversial renewable energy policy, which is widely criticised for its lack of balance and its over-emphasis on onshore wind at the expense of other technologies.
A study of the Outer Clyde Estuary, covering Kintyre, Cowal, Arran, Bute, Inverclyde and North Ayrshire, conducted by AWF, demonstrates the huge and increasing pressure on the area from wind farm developers. It concludes, that if all the wind farms in or approaching the planning system at present are approved, the level of cumulative impact will degrade the environment of this unique area to a totally unacceptable extent. It would not be an exaggeration to state that every transport route (road or ferry) would have a prominent view of at least one wind farm. The need for a strategic review is overwhelming.
The values in Table 2 are based on total availability and reflect the time that the turbines are available to operate. Hence, no allowance is made for the effects of grid outages or ‘weather days’ which could prevent access to turbines for repairs. The planned availability was exceeded for only one month and the availability across the site was below expectation especially during the autumn period. This was due almost entirely to problems with bearings in the gearbox as will be discussed in Operational Issues.
The wind energy debate represents a new kind of environmental controversy which divides environmentalists of different persuasions who attach contrasting priority to global and local concerns. Case studies of public attitudes towards existing and proposed windfarm developments in Scotland and Ireland are used to test three counter-intuitive hypotheses derived from previous attitudinal research. Editor's Note: This study was conducted in collaboration with the Macaulay Institute, Aberdeen. The Institute's commercial arm, Macaulay Enterprises, acts as a consultant for the renewables industry, and is linked to the Scottish Renewables Forum and the British Wind Energy Association. The pro-wind pre-disposition of the authors is evident and should not be ignored when evaluating survey results. Survey respondents generally expressed support of wind energy based on the belief that it was a solution for global warming. Given wind energy's limited effectiveness in reducing greenhouse gases based on today’s studies, we question how survey participants might respond if contacted again. The report also comments that communities selected had no organized opposition to the wind facilities. Today, throughout England, Wales and Scotland, organized opposition is the norm, not the exception.
The West Danish model clearly shows that the installation of large numbers of wind turbines can lead to severe and expensive problems with power transmission, and seriously degrade wildlife habitats and the aesthetic value of land- and seascapes for little or no reduction in carbon emissions. It is therefore imperative that energy conservation schemes and alternative sources of renewable energy are more thoroughly explored before large swathes of unique UK countryside and coastal scenery are lost to industrial wind stations. Conservation measures alone could reduce UK carbon emissions by 30% (Coppinger, 2003).
"This book is about the emergence of what I term the New Lambton Wyrm and the threat it brings to the special character and qualities of our county. The firm Ernst and Young has recently identified the UK as the best market for wind in the world due to its combination of wind resource, strong offshore regime and the extension of the Renewables Obligation to 15% by 2015 (BWEA UK Market Overview) This commercial exploitation of wind energy is proving a curse to the whole of the UK. The public has been deluded and deceived."
Built in 2003, North Hoyle is the UK's first major offshore wind plant.....
"Even its supporters would probably now accept that in its early days nuclear power was oversold – the costs were underestimated (“too cheap to meter”); the practical problems (eg waste disposal) minimised; the benefits overstated; alternatives summarily dismissed; the risks ignored. The legacy of this overselling has been unhelpful – emotions are high on both sides and there is a climate of mistrust. It seems almost impossible to have a sensible debate about the place of nuclear in the energy mix, at a time when the need to look carefully at all non-CO2 emitting sources has never been greater. Have we learned from this experience? It does not always seem so. The current state of the debate about wind power presents many of the same unwelcome symptoms – exaggerated claims; confused arguments; strong emotions; neglect of the practicalities and risks. In this climate an authoritative and neutral examination of the issues would have been a helpful corrective. This is what the latest report of the Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) seems to promise. The Report, entitled “Wind Power in the UK” describes itself as “a guide to the key issues” surrounding wind power development, providing information to help “considered decisions to be made”. Unfortunately, but perhaps predictably, the Report fails to do so. The Commission ends up as just another cheerleader for wind power, using the Report to argue that “wind power must be made to work” because it is a “critically important part of the overall energy mix”. In its bullish (not to say bull-headed) approach, the Commission is repeating the errors of the early advocates of nuclear: underestimating the likely costs; minimising the practical problems; overstating the benefits; and dismissing the alternatives – in a report which, at many points, shows a poor grasp of the issues."
The Scottish Wind Assessment Project is an ongoing programme of research which seeks to collate existing studies and commission new research to promote a thorough investigation of the claims made for and against the use of wind-generated energy. It is supported by private donations.
If you really want to cut energy consumption, reduce pollution, improve public health and protect our environment, it’s time to contact your elected officials, educate them about the lessons of Denmark, Germany and elsewhere, and tell them you want tougher energy efficiency measures instead of wind power plants. Otherwise, in the next few years, you’ll be looking at wind turbines in some of your favorite places, with the knowledge that they’re doing little more than funneling your tax dollars to a few lucky corporations and landowners, and away from better solutions.
The Kyoto Protocol is due to come into effect this February and we are already more than half way from the signing of the Protocol to the beginning of its first commitment period (and three quarters of the way there since the baseline date of 1990). The world also needs to look beyond Kyoto. Many countries, including the UK, have set themselves ambitious longer term goals, to reduce emissions by 60% or even 75% by 2050. Meanwhile, a number of recent studies – for instance, the climateprediction.net project based on distributed computing and the International Climate Change Taskforce – have stressed the magnitude of the risks and the need for early and effective action. At first sight, the impression given is that everything is more or less on track. The UK Paper says that “our latest projections on the impact that our policies and measures will have on our emissions suggest that the UK remains on course to comfortably achieve its target under the Kyoto Protocol”, though admitting that more needs to be done to meet the 20% reduction in CO2 emissions set as a national goal. The EEA report is more cautious: it acknowledges that the EU is only a third of the way towards meeting its goal (greenhouse gas emissions in 2002 were 2.9% below the 1990 base, as compared with the target of 8 % for the period 2008-2012). However, it suggests that with policy measures in the pipeline and use of the Kyoto mechanisms, the target could be met. What neither report states is that the evidence contained in them could lead to a much more pessimistic conclusion: that the policy measures favoured in the UK and EU have not delivered significant CO2 reductions and are clearly inadequate to the longer term challenge.
"The Scottish Wind Assessment Project is an ongoing programme of research which seeks to collate existing studies and commission new research to promote a thorough investigation of the claims made for and against the use of wind-generated energy."
This response to the Dti’s consultation has been prepared by Hugh Sharman of Incoteco (Denmark) ApS, and The Renewable Energy Foundation, working in collaboration. Hugh Sharman is an energy consultant, based in Denmark. Most of Incoteco’s work is done for and with large energy companies seeking innovative environmental solutions to practical problems. An example is its leading role in the formulation and development of the “CO2 for EOR in the North Sea” (CENS) project during 2001. During 2004, Incoteco (Denmark) ApS completed a wind-energy related study for the Danish Energy Agency that was also supported by a number of important Scandinavian energy companies. Its purpose was to find more effective uses for the large wind power surplus that is generated in West Denmark. The Renewable Energy Foundation is a newly created foundation which has arisen from widespread and growing public concern that the current renewables energy policy is in itself unbalanced, and causing subsequent imbalances in the rest of the energy sector. REF encourages the development of renewable energy and energy conservation whilst safeguarding the landscapes of the United Kingdom from unsustainable industrialisation. In pursuit of this goal, REF highlights the need for an overall energy policy that is balanced, ecologically sensitive and effective.
Instead, the Government insist that onshore wind farms are the answer to meeting both our energy needs and our carbon dioxide emission targets, despite the fact that: • wind farms only generate energy when the wind is blowing, and then not too hard • they can't store energy, but only pass it on for immediate use, • they are sometimes opposed by local communities for sound environmental and economic reasons, and • they can only make a tiny contribution to achieving our renewables target .
In the UK, the parallel objective is to generate 10% of the UK’s electricity from renewable sources by 2010. Renewable electricity has become synonymous with CO2 reduction. However, the relationship between renewables and CO2 reduction in the power generation sector does not appear to have been examined in detail, and the likelihood, scale, and cost of emissions abatement from renewables is very poorly understood. The purpose of this report is to analyse a wide range of technical literature that questions whether the renewables policy can achieve its goals of emissions reduction and power generation. To some, renewable energy has the simple and unanalysed virtue of being “green”. However, the reality of this quality is dependent on practical issues relating to electricity supply. ......In conclusion, it seems reasonable to ask why wind-power is the beneficiary of such extensive support if it not only fails to achieve the CO2 reductions required, but also causes cost increases in back-up, maintenance and transmission, while at the same time discouraging investment in clean, firm generation.