Documents from UK
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.
Developers should also be aware that the case clarifies the way in which the planning balance must be struck by decision makers. They are not free to give harm to heritage assets such weight as they may choose when carrying out the balancing exercise. Instead, they must give particular weight the desirability of avoiding such harm when assessing whether the advantages of the proposal outweigh that harm. The rejection of the "reasonable observer" test will also be a significant constraint on the ability to construct wind farms and other new development in sensitive locations.
This paper provides a useful explanation of how wind farms in the U.K. are compensated for not operating. Wind projects operating in areas of limited transmission capacity are straining the system and require that they be turned off during periods of low demand but high wind output. £981 was the highest payment for £50 worth of loss. Last fall (2013) the rules were changed to supposedly prevent “excess profit” being made, but even then the average payment for one day was £84/MWh, with the highest being £149/MWh.
This research provides quantitative evidence of the local benefits and costs of wind farm developments in the United Kingdom. In the tradition of studies in environmental, public and urban economics, housing costs are used to reveal local preferences for wind farm development in England and Wales. The authors compared housing price changes in places close to wind farms when wind farms become operational with various comparator groups. These comparator groups include: places close to wind farms that became operational in the past, or where they will become operational in the future; places close to wind farms sites that were refused planning permission; places close to wind farms that are planned or proposed but are not yet operational; and places close to where wind farms became operational but where the turbines are hidden by the terrain. All these comparisons suggest that wind farm developments reduce local house prices. The findings of the paper are provided below. The full paper can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
This count ruling issued by Lady Clark of Calton overturns the April 4, 2012 decision by the Scottish Ministers to grant consent for the construction and operation of a 103 turbine (maximum generating capacity of 457 megawatts) Viking Wind facility. The Judge found that the Ministers failed to properly interpret and followe the Wild Birds Directive 2009. An excerpt of comprehensive ruling explaining the court's interpetation of the Directive is provided below. The full decision by the court can be accessed by clicking on the link(s) at the bottom of this page.
NHS Shetland’s director of public health Dr Sarah Taylor conducted a literature review of studies produced over the past 10 years on the effects of wind turbines have on people’s health. The summary of Dr. Taylor's report is provided below. The full document can be accessed by clicking on the links at the bottom of this page.
Stuart Young Consulting has reviewed The Highland Council's risk assessment and mitigation measures in siting a wind turbine at the Castletown Primary School as a representative sample of the installations at school playgrounds. The introduction of the review is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.