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The cost of offshore wind farms has continued to soar, Centrica said, leading the company to review the economics of its £4bn wind power investment programme. The spiralling costs of offshore wind threaten to derail the government's renewable energy plans, which rely heavily on offshore turbines because of the difficulty and delays in obtaining planning permission for onshore wind farms.
Centrica, which is raising 2.2 billion pounds to help fund its proposed 25 percent stake in nuclear power generator British Energy, said it was "revisiting the economics of wind farms given rising raw material and credit costs." The company, which hopes to start full operation of its new Lynn & Inner Dowsing wind farms off the coast of eastern England by the end of the year, has yet to approve investment for three more farms that it plans to build in the North Sea.
Once a booming industry thanks to sky-high oil prices, the feel-good trend, carbon reduction and subsidies, the financial crisis has pushed investors to give up on green energies, and like the dot-com bubble of 2000, some analysts say it's about to burst. ..."I think economic reality will kill the green industry," said Mr. Buckee, who now lives in Britain and lectures on climate change. Solar energy isn't alone in its woes. Wind, biomass, biofuel and other "clean-tech" companies are getting pasted too as the financial crisis sends investors fleeing from technology names, dries up credit and freezes the IPO market.
Developers of a proposed Speyside wind farm have hit back at claims it will deter visitors and insist their plans will promote tourism in Moray. Dorenell Wind Farm on the Glenfiddich Estate will give local tourism a valuable boost and inject ongoing investment into the Moray economy, said Infinergy. And it accused a survey by a local accommodation provider, Tomintoul and Glenlivet Highland Holidays marketing group - which claimed a large number of tourists would be deterred from visiting the area because of the wind farm - of lacking objectivity and claimed it should be discounted because it asked leading questions.
A wind development in Moray will deter visitors from returning to the area, according to a tourism survey carried out by a local accommodation provider. A year long survey in the Dufftown-Glenlivet area suggests 17% of people, mainly walkers, would be put off coming back to the area if it had a wind farm. The survey, begun in March by Tomintoul and Glenlivet Highland Holidays marketing group, has had more than 200 forms returned by visitors staying in the Dufftown-Glenlivet area and expects to have 350 returned by March next year.
The massive planned expansion of renewable energy may produce far fewer jobs than the government has claimed, a study has found. Producing enough renewable energy to meet government targets would create about 36,000 jobs in the wind energy sector by 2020, according to a study by Bain & Company for the British Wind Energy Association, to be published today. ...In its renewable energy strategy, published over the summer, the government claimed it would create 160,000 new jobs by 2020.
The credit crunch and falling oil prices threaten to hold up some of Britain's renewable energy projects just as the UK has raised its commitment to green electricity, financiers said yesterday. While large projects backed by the bigger utilities are generally thought to be safe, smaller and more speculative developments are facing funding problems as backers adjust their lending criteria or, in some cases, consider withdrawing it altogether. "The debt is just not there," said John Dupont, head of renewable energy finance in the UK for Nordbank.
A proposed 120-metre wind turbine would knock 50 per cent off the value of thousands of nearby homes, an action group claims. Save Our Skyline (SOS) was formed in response to a planned turbine taller than Wakefield Cathedral at Coca Cola's warehouse at Wakefield 41 Industrial Park. SOS claims 3,800 homes within a mile radius would see 54 per cent knocked of their value by the turbine. The information comes from a recent study by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
A landmark court ruling has ordered that Jane Davis be given a discount on her council tax because her £170,000 home has been rendered worthless by a wind turbine 1,000 yards away. This is effectively an official admission that wind farms, which are accused of 'spoiling countryside views and producing a deafening roar', have a negative effect on house prices. ...One of these impacts is of course safety. In June this year a 16-foot wind turbine blade smashed through a farmhouse roof in Northern Ireland as the farmer and his family slept inside.
Giant wind generators planned in the centre of The Weaver Valley could cost the region's tourism trade millions in lost revenue - say objectors. The cluster of four 410ft high turbines, which are 100ft taller than Big Ben and would even dwarf the Fiddlers Ferry Cooling Tower, would be amongst the tallest in the UK. ... Mike Cooksley, chairman of tourism organisation Visit Chester and Cheshire ...said: "Regional parks should be protected, developed and enjoyed by both visitors and residents. "The countryside of Cheshire is epitomised by this site and is seen by many as the antidote to urbanisation and relief from city life."
More families will be driven into fuel poverty as a push to generate more electricity from "green" sources like wind, wave and solar power sharply increases household fuel bills, the Government has said. Electricity bills could rise by 13 per cent and gas prices could go up by as much as 37 per cent as consumers are made to pay more to subsidise green energy production, ministers said in a new Renewable Energy Strategy. ...The Renewable Energy Strategy says: "It is likely that the measures we need to use to increase renewable energy will add to the challenges we face in combating fuel poverty."
Consumers face years of rising gas and electricity bills as the UK heads towards an energy crunch, according to the chief executive of one of Britain's biggest power companies. Paul Golby, of E.ON UK, said it was time for the industry and Government to come clean about the extent of the UK's energy needs - and what it will mean for domestic prices. ...Mr Golby, who was launching E.ON's energy manifesto, said his call for an "honest debate" about Britain's energy future must include a recognition that new coal-fired generation "will play a significant role in restraining prices". He said: "Without coal, bridging the energy gap will mean allowing gas to dominate our energy mix and a second "dash for gas" is something we need to avoid." But new power stations must include carbon capture and storage technology.
A couple who have been forced out of their home by wind turbine noise have found out their house is unsaleable. Jane and Julian Davis moved out of their Deeping St Nicholas home in Christmas 2006 after months of sleepless nights due to what they believe is noise and vibration from wind turbines, which are around 900m from their property. They have long believed it has no value, and their fears have now been proved justified, after estate agents Munton and Russell refused to market the property at Grays Farm.
Offshore windfarms in Morecambe Bay may be producing green energy - but they are killing off traditional trawling fleets, experts say. And the problem could become more drastic for all inshore fishing unless the Government takes action, according to the North Western and North Wales Sea Fisheries Committee. The latest report of the committee highlights the plight of trawler fishing in the bay, and says that the local industry has been decimated by the proliferation of wind farms and gas storage facilities. When local vessels, mainly fishing out of Fleetwood, are sold on they are now very rarely replaced in the bay.
Offshore wind farms cost significantly more to build and maintain than their onshore equivalent. And because they involve new and untested technology they also suffer from "first of a kind" costs. But the industry is confident that those costs will fall over time. It is difficult to compare the cost of electricity obtained from a wind farm rather than a conventional energy source like gas. This is because it involves assumptions about future construction costs, the cost of carbon emissions, and the cost of gas. However, right now offshore wind farms are significantly more expensive than thermal generation and require a government subsidy to make them economic.
...global investment bank Lehman Brothers agreed to advise and finance the $700m Cape Wind project, the US’s first offshore wind farm located near Nantucket Island and a landmark cause for many environmentalists. This March, Goldman Sachs sold its investment – redubbed Horizon Wind Energy – to Portugal’s largest utility, EDP, for more than $2.1bn, making a profit of $900m. But Lehman Brothers’ project, despite early state-level approvals, has been stuck in bureaucratic purgatory from which it is unlikely to emerge soon. The problem: Nantucket’s millionaire residents oppose the wind farm, which they claim would ruin their ocean views. The contrast between the outcome of the Zilkha investment and the Cape Wind project illustrates the unpredictability of the clean technology sector. “There is no doubt in my mind that renewable energy is like other tech start-ups, where some will succeed and many will not.”
Paterson said although alternative energies would undoubtedly become very important in years to come, there was "little clarity" in the sector at the moment. Many fundamental questions remain about how to best capture and transmit energy from natural sources, making it difficult to assess the potential effectiveness of new innovations. However, Paterson said the biggest barrier was the fact that the sector is heavily regulated and influenced by government. Much of the current interest in alternative energies is being driven by strong support from Europe, the UK and the Scottish Government. "But from an investor's point of view, we have got to think about the long term," Paterson said. "What happens if the government changes, or priorities shift?"
One of Northumberland's longest-serving councillors has given his evidence to the Middlemoor inquiry, after years of being 'gagged' by local government rules. Political heavyweight John Taylor, who is county member for Longhoughton division and district representative for Hedgeley Ward of Alnwick District Council, was finally able to break his silence on Friday afternoon on the plans for 18 turbines near South Charlton. He said: ..."This is the first time that I have been able to comment from a personal point of view on the matter. "As I have said previously, I have lived and worked in Northumberland for most of my life and I feel very strongly that these proposals will have the most detrimental effect on the landscape.
The Norwegian fish industry fiercely fights goverment plans to build windmill parks at sea. The windmills will hinder fishing and shipping, a fish industry association argues. In its annual conference this weekend, the Norwegian Fishery Association unanimously supported a proposal to fight the development of windmill parks at sea.
ONE of the North-East's biggest visitor attractions is to lead the fight against plans for a wind farm in Northumberland. And the Duchess of Northumberland's Alnwick Garden will be backed by other tourism favourites, including the Chillingham Wild Cattle park and possibly Alnwick Castle - the home she shares with the Duke of Northumberland. ... "The garden is concerned that the sheer scale of the development may discourage visitors to the Alnwick area - these visitors freely express the pleasure they feel when enjoying the fantastic natural and historic landscapes of Northumberland together with the coastal area of natural beauty and the Northumberland National Park."