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Planning difficulties hitting wind energy investor confidence

Britain has officially achieved planning consent for enough wind farms to meet its 2010 target of 10% renewable electricity, it was announced today. ...Some 25% of all wind energy applications go on to the appeal stage, with around half then being approved. ...The BWEA is therefore lobbying for measures to be added to the Bill to allow the Secretary of State to "call in" a planning application for a decision by the Infrastructure Planning Commission even if it is less than 50MW is size if it has taken too long to secure a local planning decision.

Britain has officially achieved planning consent for enough wind farms to meet its 2010 target of 10% renewable electricity, it was announced today.

As the annual wind energy industry gathering opened in London, the British Wind Energy Association revealed that after a record "summer of consents", 6GW of onshore and 2GW offshore wind projects have the green light.

The Association, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary at the BWEA30 event at London's ExCeL until Thursday, also revealed today that the UK has now overtaken Denmark to become the fifth largest installer of renewable energy capacity.

But, a major question hangs over the UK's prospects of meeting its 2020 target to generate 15% of all its energy from renewable sources, with the difficulty wind developers face regarding planning.

Publishing its annual "State of the Nation" report, the BWEA said since January 2006 only 54% of onshore wind farm applications have been consented at local level, while in England the figure was just 40%.

This compared to 71% for other major planning applications like housing, offices and general industrial development.

Some 25% of all wind energy... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Britain has officially achieved planning consent for enough wind farms to meet its 2010 target of 10% renewable electricity, it was announced today.

As the annual wind energy industry gathering opened in London, the British Wind Energy Association revealed that after a record "summer of consents", 6GW of onshore and 2GW offshore wind projects have the green light.

The Association, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary at the BWEA30 event at London's ExCeL until Thursday, also revealed today that the UK has now overtaken Denmark to become the fifth largest installer of renewable energy capacity.

But, a major question hangs over the UK's prospects of meeting its 2020 target to generate 15% of all its energy from renewable sources, with the difficulty wind developers face regarding planning.

Publishing its annual "State of the Nation" report, the BWEA said since January 2006 only 54% of onshore wind farm applications have been consented at local level, while in England the figure was just 40%.

This compared to 71% for other major planning applications like housing, offices and general industrial development.

Some 25% of all wind energy applications go on to the appeal stage, with around half then being approved.

Delays

This uncertainty surrounding projects is compounded by the long periods for which it takes to secure a planning decision for a wind farm. The BWEA report claimed that from April 2007 to March 2008 only 7% of applications achieved a decision within the statutory 16 week period. By comparison, 71% of other major developments had decisions made within 13 weeks.

Renewable energy does not go through a planning process in the UK, it goes through a lottery.
Dr Ian Mays, RES GroupThe impact of this planning performance is beginning to affect investor confidence, the Association warned.

"The industry feels a bit aggrieved at that," said Chris Tomlinson, the BWEA director of programme strategy ahead of the BWEA30 event. "The impact on investor confidence has been seen in 2007 where there were nearly 50% less planning submissions than in 2004."

Speaking today at the BWEA 30 event, the chief executive of the wind developer Renewable Energy Systems (RES) Group, Dr Ian Mays, said that "renewable energy does not go through a planning process in the UK, it goes through a lottery". Mr Hays, who has won the MBE for his services to renewable energy, revealed: "We have not constructed a single wind farm in the UK in 15 years, despite making many applications."

The RES chief executive went on to call on the government to step in to stop the "legal challenge after legal challenge" against wind farms. "I'm not suggesting that we move these rights," he said, "but that we address the balance."

Maria McCaffery, the BWEA chief executive said there was a danger that turbine manufacturers were being put off locating production facilities in the UK, including those interested in the Round Three offshore programme, because of the planning situation hitting demand. "The fact that half of all the planning capacity is turned down is causing those manufacturers to think twice," Ms McCaffery told journalists yesterday.

The government's Planning Bill, which was debated by the Lords last week and could pass its final Parliamentary hurdles later this year, does not have much relevance to onshore wind, according to the BWEA.

While the Bill seeks to speed up planning consents for major infrastructure projects including energy proposals of above 50MW in scale, most onshore developments are less than 50MW.

The BWEA is therefore lobbying for measures to be added to the Bill to allow the Secretary of State to "call in" a planning application for a decision by the Infrastructure Planning Commission even if it is less than 50MW is size if it has taken too long to secure a local planning decision.


Source: http://newenergyfocus.com/d...

OCT 20 2008
https://www.windaction.org/posts/17568-planning-difficulties-hitting-wind-energy-investor-confidence
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