Library filed under Energy Policy from UK
A Campaign to halt a proposed wind farm on Sheffield parkland is picking up speed. Protesters this week lobbied leading councillors in their attempts to blow away the plans for Westwood Country Park at High Green. And they pointed to opposition from their local MP, Angela Smith, who says the park is "totally unsuitable" for a wind farm, partly because it would be near hundreds of homes. Andy Redfern, who chairs the action group, Save Westwood Country Park, said: "The storm that this has elicited in local people is quite tangible. ...Mr Redfern asked councillors: "Given this is a piece of green belt land and Hillsborough MP Angela Smith opposes these plans, as do local residents, will you abandon the plans? No other windfarms are near so many homes. Please stop this madness."
If you have a hankering to see Britain's green and pleasant countryside or its rugged coastline, you shouldn't wait too long. They are both likely to disappear soon under thousands of massive, swirling, 400-foot wind turbines. Recently, U.K. Industry Secretary John Hutton announced that the British government is planning 25 gigawatts of offshore wind power capacity, adding to the 8 GW already in development. A grand plan that could, in theory anyway, power all of Britain's 25 million homes by as early as 2020. Wind seems to be blowing in the minds of the politically correct and those on the environmentalist bandwagon. But the cost is going to be huge, no companies will plunge into it without massive government subsidies, and should the turbines actually be built, power reliability will almost certainly take a nosedive. ...The bottom line is that the debate about renewables, and investment in them, is as much about ideology and political belief as about economics and environmental issues. When the real cost of wind power as a major player in our future power needs is assessed, the answer won't be found just "blowin' in the wind."
The SNP Government intends to do nothing about the number of speculative planning applications for onshore wind farms being made in Perthshire, it was revealed in a parliamentary answer to MSP Murdo Fraser. In a parliamentary question, Murdo asked the SNP Government how it intends to reduce the number of speculative planning applications for onshore wind farms. In response, the Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Stewart Stevenson stated: "Under planning legislation there are no powers to prevent planning applications being made. ..."It is disappointing that the SNP Government is not prepared to create ‘no go' areas for applications. I believe that large parts of Perthshire should be automatically ruled out for a wind farm application due to their natural beauty and importance to the local tourism industry."
Scottish & Southern Energy is advocating more hydro-electricity projects because wind farms need instant back-up when the wind abates (Scrutineer, 27 March). This is most interesting to those of us endowed with memory, for we've come around a full circle ...
It will cost every household in the UK at least £2,000 to comply with the new European Union target of producing 15 per cent of all energy from renewable sources by 2020, according to a report commissioned by the government. ...According to energy consultancy Pöyry, the bill for the UK to meet the target would be at least €5bn a year for more than a decade, compared with just over €3bn a year for France and Germany, and well under €500m for most other countries.
Another area where the French have emphatically got it right is in power generation. After the oil shocks of 1973, France, with no significant oil or gas reserves of its own, embarked on a massive expansion of nuclear power, completely ignoring the doom-mongerers such as Greenpeace. The result has been an unqualified success story. Today, France has 59 nuclear power plants producing 78 per cent of its electricity needs. Electricity is so cheap and abundant that much of it is exported to the UK and Germany, earning the French economy about three billion euros a year. ...And because nuclear emits no carbon or pollutants, France is also one of the "greenest" countries in the industrialised world.
More wind turbines may need to be built off the Lincolnshire coast if the UK is to meet tough targets on renewable energy. Experts have claimed there is little chance of Britain meeting its goal of getting 15 per cent of all its energy from green sources by 2020. To do so, it is thought up to 12,500 new off-shore wind turbines will be needed over the next decade.
Centrica is considering plans for several wind farms, to be built by 2015, at a current estimated cost of £3bn. But it is worried about how it can plan for long-term investments that could spiral out of control. The Government has laid down targets for energy companies to build 33 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2020. Three years ago, the industry estimated meeting this figure would mean investment of about £40bn. Mr Sambhi said the cost today is put at £80bn, adding: "If manufacturers cannot meet the product delivery cycle it threatens the Government's wind dream."
Developers of the controversial Lewis Wind Farm on the Western Isles of Scotland today received a boost from the Scottish energy minister who said the Western Isles' renewable energy resources must be tapped into. The announcement signals a potential turnaround in the government's stance on the project, having before said it was 'minded to refuse' development on environmental grounds. Energy minister Jim Mather said: 'The Western Isles have a vast and enviable resource to develop renewable energy -- from onshore wind to energy from wave and tide.
A major conference on renewable energy opens in Stornoway today while the Western Isles wait for news on whether Lewis is to host Europe's largest wind farm. The event is being held by Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, the Western Isles Council, which has backed Lewis Wind Power's bid for a 176-turbine development. The Scottish Government has said it is "minded to refuse" the project but has yet to make a final decision. Jim Mather, the minister for enterprise, energy and tourism, will address the conference but he is not expected to announce a decision on the wind farm.
Ireland on Wednesday awarded four offshore oil and gas exploration licences to three groups, which included Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM.N: Quote, Profile, Research), in a bid to reduce the country's dependence on imported fuels. The licences cover block areas totalling 4,963 square km in the Porcupine Basin, off the west coast, the energy ministry said. ...The country has tried to boost the development of renewable energy by introducing government-backed guaranteed prices for offshore and onshore wind farm generation.
Wales is in danger of being smothered "in a blanket of wind turbines," says the Conservatives assembly environment spokesman. Darren Millar AM told delegates at the Welsh party's conference in Llandudno that the assembly government had a "blind obsession" with wind power. Mr Millar said the Conservatives were not against wind energy, only large scale windfarms. He said the current policy was leading to a "massive democratic deficit". Mr Millar said the decisions of local councillors were being ignored and the views of local communities disregarded.
British energy minister Malcolm Wicks has given the all clear to three wind farms in England as the government tries to clear a backlog of clean energy projects and hit ambitious renewable energy targets. Two of the projects are onshore wind farms in North Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire, while the third is an offshore project planned for the Thames Estuary. "These three new wind farms will add a further 215 megawatts of green energy to the renewables revolution that is sweeping through the UK," Wicks said in a statement.
A record number of wind farm projects were refused planning permission in Britain last year, according to new figures seen by The Observer. The average amount of time taken to decide whether to approve a project - 24 months - is also at a record high. The figures will be published by the British Wind Energy Association later this month. ...These difficulties, as well as soaring costs, seem to be putting developers off submitting new applications.
"Developers interested only in a quick buck are making different offers in different bits of the country, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are at the throats of councils, quangos at the throats of everybody, communities disquieted, and the national strategic interest forgotten about." The lack of leadership and the absence of a national energy plan had made some developers "unscrupulous", Smith claimed. "Irresponsible mischief" had been made by environmental groups and politicians, while Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency had been "curiously inflexible" he said.
David Cameron is to abandon plans for "green" taxes amid fears of a backlash from voters unhappy about having to pay for climate change. A leaked policy paper commissioned by the Tory leader warns that action on the environment is too often seen in terms of "consumer sacrifice". Instead the document urges Cameron to copy the more positive "can do" strategy of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the California governor, who has invested huge sums in businesses developing green technologies.
UK Energy Minister John Hutton in December set out a grandiose vision of how this vast potential resource would be tapped. ...In breaking down exactly what Hutton proposed, Britain has to achieve a 60-fold increase in wind power in just 12 years. So far, the UK government has poured US$1 billion into wind power and has yet to see it deliver even a half-percent of the country's electricity needs. ... Whether these resources are enough remains to be seen. With the current international drive for a dramatic slashing of greenhouse gas emissions, Hutton will have had no problem making his 2020 announcement. Only time will tell if it was more about generating headlines than electricity.
What other country has politicians so gullible that they end up making their electorate pay to produce energy needed in another country? What other country would set a renewable-energy obligation that taxes its consumers to produce 18 per cent of electricity to compensate for the failure of England to reach its 10 per cent obligation? ...If England needs Scottish wind to fulfil its renewable energy target, surely English consumers should pay Scottish wind energy producers.
Discussion of energy in Europe today tends to be dominated by what are described as environmental issues, chiefly the question of carbon emissions and global warming. So much so, in fact, that the rather more urgent matter of security of supply is all too often overlooked. But it is now becoming acute. ...the greater threat to Europe's energy supply lies at home, in the looming prospect of a growing gap between demand for electricity and the capacity of power stations to supply it. The problem is probably most acute in Germany, which is committed - on politically compelling but rationally inexplicable grounds - not only to building no more nuclear power stations, but to closing down those it already has.
The Dyfnant Forest is to be developed into one of the largest wind farms in the country it has been revealed - just weeks after Rhodri Morgan told the County Times how Powys has got off scot free. During his recent visit to Welshpool, First Minister for Wales Rhodri Morgan dismissed suggestions that Mid Wales is a dumping ground for wind turbines by claiming none of the plans to lease Forestry Commission managed land for the construction of wind farms fell inside Powys. However, while claiming Powys had got off scot free, he failed to mention four sections of freehold Forestry Commission land earmarked for development ...These claims have left a sour taste among residents and organisations in the Dyfnant Forest, who are now labelling Rhodri Morgan as either 'ignorant or a liar.' ..."Thousands of pounds of European money has been invested here, but if this plan for turbines goes ahead it will become a wind farm ghetto and a place no tourists will want to visit."