Documents from UK
This useful paper explains how the cost of offshore wind has increased in the United Kingdom and how government accounting of the costs have failed to reveal this fact. The paper examines how the actual costs of both onshore and offshore wind generation have not fallen significantly. In fact, the authors report that the operating costs of new capacity have increased significantly for both onshore and offshore wind farms while the operating costs for existing wind farms have increased more rapidly as the turbines aged. The full paper can be accessed by clicking on the document links on this page.
This study examines changes in peat bogs resulting from peat extraction and grazing. The study also found that a far more significant impact to these land forms in the long term, with far greater and more rapid change has occurred as a result of windfarm construction. The authors write that "Although the installation of individual turbines over blanket bog often results in the extraction of peat in isolated locations, the associated infrastructure of tracks and electrical cable conduits has wider impact not only on the hydrology, but also on peatland geomorphology." According to the report "Windfarm installations have already significantly altered the functioning of some of these ecosystems, and without urgent protection some of the blanket bogs identified here may soon be lost. Action of a most urgent nature is needed from the governments of Cantabria and Castilla y León in order to retain what remains and restore these systems to important natural carbon sinks." The full report can be accessed by selecting the document links on this page.
The attached appeal upholds the prior judgement to revoke the planning permission for a single community scale 500kw wind turbine at Severndale Farm, Tidenham, Gloucestershire. Resilient Energy's granted planning permission was heavily influenced by their promise to provide an annual donation to a local community fund. The court determined that this donation did not qualify as material consideration, due to its intended purposes unrelated to the developer's land use, and, therefore, was unlawfully taken into account by the Forest of Dean District Council in making their decision.
In Finney v Welsh, the appeal court supported the decision to refuse an increase in wind turbine height after finding that a 10-meter increase in turbine height would be a material change that would be inconsistent with the description of the permitted development and thus would result in a different development. A section of the decision is provided below. The full decision can be accessed by selection the document links on this page.
The attached letter written by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds raises their concerns over Hornsea Project Three, an offshore wind project located in the North Sea. New information has arisen indicating that the project will adversely effect the breeding grounds of the gannet, kittiwake, and black-backed gull populations and negatively impact the integrity of the Flamborough and Filey Coast SPA. The Royal Society urges the Secretary of State to extend the deadline for the project's development order to consider this new information and recommends that alternative energy solutions be explored.
The Renewable Energy Foundation published this research paper by Dr Gordon Hughes, Professor of Economics at the University of Edinburgh, on the performance over time of wind farms in the United Kingdom and Denmark. The paper can be downloaded by clicking on the link(s) on this page. The UK and Danish data used in the analysis is also available below. The following summarises the results of the research.
The United Kingdom has has taken steps to reduce the financial burden of supporting renewable energy in the country. The Government introduced its new Low Carbon Levies (LCL) framework which was designed to control the cost of supporting low carbon electricity paid by consumers on their electric bills. The plan addresses the costs of the 'Contracts for Difference' (CFD), the 'Renewable Obligation' (RO) and the 'Feed in Tariff Scheme' (FiTs). The government asserted that it will monitor the total cost of these programs and, "Until the total burden of these costs is forecast to fall in real terms over a sustained period, the Control will not allow for new low carbon electricity levies to be introduced. Based on the current forecast, ...this will rule out new levy spend until 2025." The portion of the Government document is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
The new report prepared by economics professor Gordon Hughes, a former advisor to World Bank, Dr Capell Aris, a fellow of the IET, and Dr John Constable of the Global Warming Policy Forum, explains how the broad assumption that offshore wind prices are falling is not valid. Through a detailed statistical analysis of the data, covering 86 wind farms, the authors found that capital cost of offshore wind (£/MWh installed) is actually rising as a consequence of companies moving into deeper and deeper waters. The summary of the report is provided below. The full report can be downloaded from this page.
This paper argues that the methods and data used when estimating effects of offshore wind turbines on seabird population rates and the potential impacts on seabird populations are grossly inadequate. As a result, Environmental Impact Assessments cannot solely be relied on to report risks. The conclusions cited in the paper are provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This important paper appears to have identified a relationship between wind turbines and stress levels in badgers. The abstract and introduction of the paper are provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This decision letter issued by the United Kingdom energy secretary reports that the Mynydd y Gwynt wind energy proposal has been denied. Reasons for the denial include the secretary's inability to determine the project's impact on red kites resident at the Elenydd-Mallaen special protection area (SPA). A portion of the decision is provided below. The full document can be accessed by clicking the links on this page. The project would have sited 27 turbines of between 3 MW and 3.3 MW each in Powys.
This study was undertaken to understand the landscape, visual and historic environment effects of operational wind farms in Northumberland in the United Kingdom. The report and its findings can be viewed by clicking on the links on this page. A summary of the findings excerpted from the report is provided below.
RAF pilots have reported a catalogue of near misses with wind farms in the United Kingdom. Pilots are making over 1,000 manual corrections to their charts every month to try and keep up with the changes. This document presents the reports completed by the pilots. The Light Aircraft Association (LAA) also warns there is a potential for a mid-air disaster.
This study looked at whether the visual, shadow flicker and noise impacts predicted by wind farm developers in documentation submitted with their planning applications are consistent with the impacts experienced once the wind farm is operational. Through an examination of 10 wind energy facilities, the authors concluded that in some cases the impacts described in the planning applications did not match the actual impact. A summary of the study and findings is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
In this case, the claimant, Andrew Joicey, argued six grounds for overturning the planning approval of a 100kilowatt wind turbine. Primary among the complaints was that the planning council did not provide public access to the turbine noise assessment report until a day before the hearing where approval was granted. Complaints were also issued over whether the council properly considered the cumulative impact of noise from a neighboring wind project. The count agreed with Mr. Joicey and overturned the approval. This is the third time the court overturned a planning decision approving this turbine. The decision can be accessed by clicking the links on this page. The introduction of the decision is provided below.
The UK wind debate assumes that wind farms operate at roughly their average output most of the time. According to this new paper by Dr. Capell Aris’, this assumption is not true. Power comes only extremely intermittently and variably and there are long periods of negligible efficiency, particularly during the long winter months when power is most needed. A 10GW wind fleet would need approximately 9.5GW of fossil capacity to guarantee its output. A summary from the report of Dr. Aris' findings is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This study, undertaken to help understand the effects of onshore wind farms on tourism, involved four pieces of research: A desk-based study of published research that has been published on the impacts of wind farms on tourism in the UK; An online survey of potential tourists to Northumberland; An online survey of tourism-related businesses in Northumberland based on the impacts of wind farms on them; A focus group with representatives of groups or organizations that are interested in the impacts of wind farms on tourism in Northumberland. The report and its findings can be viewed by clicking on the links on this page. The executive summary is excerpted below.
The Scottish Natural heritage (SNH) has published ‘Visual Representation of Wind Farms, July 2014’. This guidance replaces the previous version (2006). The updated guidance sets a new standard for wind farm visualizations; and is prescriptive which means that applicants must comply with the key requirements set out in Annex B of the guidance. An explanation of the guidance is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on this page. While written for wind farm assessments in Scotland, the parameters for producing visualizations are applicable worldwide.
Abstract This study provides quantitative evidence on the local benefits and costs of wind farm developments in England and Wales, focussing on their visual environmental impacts. In the tradition of studies in environmental, public and urban economics, housing costs are used to reveal local preferences for views of wind farm developments. Estimation is based on quasiexperimental research designs that compare price changes occurring in places where wind farms become visible, with price changes in appropriate comparator groups. These comparator groups include places close to wind farms that became visible in the past, or where they will become operational in the future and places close to wind farms sites but where the turbines are hidden by the terrain. All these comparisons suggest that wind farm visibility reduces local house prices, and the implied visual environmental costs are substantial. The conclusions of the report are provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.