Articles filed under Energy Policy from UK

Gridlocked: Our future

"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.
24 Feb 2008

Tories ditch green taxes

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.
23 Feb 2008

Britain's 2020 wind vision: Is it 20-20 or a bit too blurry?

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.
21 Feb 2008

Why should Scotland pay the price of England's renewable-energy deficit?

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.
18 Feb 2008

Darkness looms

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.
18 Feb 2008

Windfarms one a massive scale: turbines nearly as big as Blackpool Tower

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."
16 Feb 2008

New planning guidance for wind energy development

The Minister invited comment on the guidance which is intended to assist developers to identify appropriate locations for wind turbine and wind farm developments. She said: "Energy from wind has an important role to play in helping reduce emissions of the harmful greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming. We in Northern Ireland are well placed to take advantage of this form of renewable energy, benefiting as we do from one of Europe's best wind resources. "However, it is vital to ensure that turbines and wind farms are located in the right places and that the landscape quality of our most scenic areas is maintained.
14 Feb 2008

Firm makes case for turbine plans

Developers behind proposals for a multi-million pound wind farm on the island of Lewis are due to meet government officials. The meeting comes after ministers said they were "minded" to turn down the application from Lewis Wind Power. It wants to site 181 massive wind turbines on Barvas Moor. Almost 10,000 objections went to ministers, many from local people, but the scheme has been backed by the local council. ...The final decision on the planning application rests with the Scottish Government.
12 Feb 2008

Green laws and regulation risk energy crisis, say Europe's power companies

Europe is facing an energy crisis because of green-influenced legislation and regulation, and difficulty in obtaining planning approval for key projects, energy companies warned yesterday. ...Teyssen urged the EU to avoid putting all its eggs into the renewables basket, arguing that they could cause more harm than good if national and cross-border grids were incapable of meeting the growth in their use. "You need a broader picture; you can't just say green is good," he said. However, the British government rejected the suggestion and said its energy market was the most competitive and liberalised in the EU and G7, encouraging investment from firms such as E.ON.
7 Feb 2008

Wind farms: millionaire playgrounds for Green fat cats

Energy policy in Great Britain has been a shambles for years. Cowardly governments have turned a blind eye to repeated warnings over prices and supply. Disaster has been avoided thanks only to lucky escapes rather than good stewardship. A case study in the stupidity of the British government’s attitude to energy – aided and abetted by the European Union – is its continuing obsession with wind farms, a so-called sustainable source of energy which is costly, inefficient, unreliable – and ultimately unsustainable. The official line from London and Brussels has always been that wind turbines produce energy more cleanly and cheaply than any conventional alternatives ever could. ...The facts are clear: the United Kingdom’s 165 wind farms have failed to deliver on their promises: they are not significantly cleaner; they are certainly not cheaper; and they are already draining the pockets of the consumer, hitting the poor and needy hardest of all.
6 Feb 2008

Wind farms ‘a threat to national security'

Ambitious plans to meet up to a third of Britain's energy needs from offshore wind farms are in jeopardy because the Ministry of Defence objects that the turbines interfere with its radar. The MoD has lodged last-minute objections to at least four onshore wind farms in the line of sight of its stations on the east coast because they make it impossible to spot aircraft, The Times has learnt. The same objections are likely to apply to wind turbines in the North Sea, part of the massive renewable energy project announced by John Hutton, the Energy Secretary, barely two months ago. They would be directly in line with the three principal radar defence stations, Brizlee Wood, Saxton Wold and Trimingham on the Northumberland, Yorkshire and Norfolk coasts. Giving evidence to a planning inquiry last October, a senior MoD expert said that the turbines create a hole in radar coverage so that aircraft flying overhead are not detectable. In written evidence, Squadron Leader Chris Breedon said: "This obscuration occurs regardless of the height of the aircraft, of the radar and of the turbine." He described the discovery as alarming.
3 Feb 2008

Go-ahead for wind farm as legal bid rejected

An attempt to block a major wind farm project on a Scottish island has been thrown out by the Court of Session. Campaigners claimed the granting of planning permission by Highland Council for 18 turbines on Skye was illegal and wanted it overturned. It was claimed the turbines would present a danger to rare birds, such as golden eagles. Amec Project Investments had applied for permission for the development at Edinbane on the island, which Highland Council granted last May. ...In a 30-page judgment, Lord Hodge found against the campaigners and dismissed their petition. He said: "While the documents which comprised Amec's environmental statement fell far short of the ideal statement, I am satisfied that the respondents did not act illegally in accepting them as an environmental statement in this case."
2 Feb 2008

Islands seek wind farm back-up project

Western Isles Council is seeking an urgent meeting with the Scottish Government to discuss "effective and alternative investment" for the islands if a controversial wind farm is rejected. The Government indicated last week it is "minded to refuse" Lewis Wind Power's (LWP) plans for a 181-turbine development, although a final decision has yet to be made. The news was welcomed by environmentalists, but disappointed Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, which sees the project bringing much-needed employment to the islands. In a letter to Alex Salmond, the First Minister, the council convener, Alex Macdonald, says rejection would be "the wrong decision for the Western Isles, for renewable energy and for Scotland". He says a negative decision would imply the Western Isles is "closed for renewable energy business in future, and that environmental considerations are the principal, and dominant, factor in considering applications for renewable energy developments in the Western Isles".
29 Jan 2008

Grid boss warns of energy challenges

The chief executive of National Grid last night spoke of the "extremely challenging times" facing the energy sector. ...Mr Holliday said the economic imperative to tackle climate change was clear, while all types of energy - from renewables to coal - were needed to meet the challenges facing the UK in the next 15 years. "Gas will remain a critical energy source for homes, business and manufacturing for many decades to come," he said. "It will also provide the lion's share of the electricity generation in the short to medium term." ...He said, "Do not read into this that I do not support significant increases in renewables. I am absolutely behind this but it's not clear to me whether the real aim is to reduce greenhouse gas or to increase renewables. "It does not follow that the quickest and cheapest way to reduce greenhouse gas by 2020 is only by renewables."
29 Jan 2008

Wind turbine row moves to Europe

Councillors from the Western Isles are to take their campaign backing the construction of a major wind farm on Lewis to the European Union. It is understood that the Scottish Government is "minded" to refuse the 181 turbine scheme. Angus Campbell, vice convener of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said a meeting with Enterprise Minister Jim Mather on Monday was "constructive". Mr Campbell said he would raise the project at a major event in Brussels. As one of the key speakers at the EU's Sustainable Energy Week, he will argue that European environmental designations were not supposed to stop all development in island communities.
28 Jan 2008

March of the wind farm in doubt on a divided island

Yesterday, the "naes" could scent victory in the air when the Scottish Government wrote to the developer, Ameco, saying it was "minded to refuse" planning permission. However, ministers gave the company 21 days to address the concerns listed in a 14-page letter. The fate of the Lewis wind farm is far from just a barrage of hot air among island folk. It goes to the heart of Scotland's attempt to generate 50 per cent of its electricity using renewables, such as hydro, wave or wind power, by 2020.
26 Jan 2008

EU plans to see our economy blown away

Few might guess, from the two-dimensional reporting of these plans in the media, just what a gamble with Europe's future we are undertaking - spending trillions of pounds for a highly dubious return, at a devastating cost to all our economies. The targets Britain will be legally committed to reach within 12 years fall under three main headings. Firstly, that 15 per cent of our energy should come from renewable sources such as wind (currently 1 per cent). Secondly, that 10 per cent of our transport fuel should be biofuels. Thirdly, that we accept a more draconian version of the "emissions trading scheme" that is already adding up to 12 per cent to our electricity bills. The most prominent proposal is that which will require Britain to build up to 20,000 more wind turbines, including the 7,000 offshore giants announced by the Government before Christmas. To build two turbines a day, nearly as high as the Eiffel Tower, is inconceivable. What is also never explained is their astronomic cost.
26 Jan 2008

Massive wind farm 'turned down'

The BBC's Gaelic news service, Radio nan Gaidheal, has learned that Scottish Government ministers are "minded to refuse" the 181 turbine scheme. More than 5,000 letters of objection to the proposals were received by the Scottish Government. It is believed environmental concerns are behind the decision. An official announcement from the Scottish Government is not expected for a further two or three weeks. A Scottish Government spokesman said: "No final decision has been taken and ministers are working towards finalising and announcing a decision in the near future." ...But the final decision on the planning application rested with the Scottish Government. The news was welcomed by local anti-wind farm campaigner Dinah Murray, who said the refusal would allow islanders' lives to return to normal.
25 Jan 2008

Fury at wind farm decision blunder

There was outrage last night after the Scottish Government issued a press release stating permission had been granted for a massive wind farm in rural Perthshire-only to claim 16 minutes later there had been an "administrative error." The astonishing blunder left campaigners both devastated and deeply suspicious. Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser last night called for a "full investigation." An application for the huge 68-turbine Griffin wind farm close to Aberfeldy was previously rejected by Perth and Kinross Council following massive public opposition. A public inquiry was then held and the final decision lies with ministers. The bizarre drama began when the Scottish Government distributed a press release headed "Green light for Scotland's third largest wind farm."
25 Jan 2008

Blowin' in the Wind

If you thought the 2008 presidential race was shattering all records for windy rhetoric, it's nothing compared to the political eco-rhetoric being spun to US taxpayers -- to get them to cough up billions of dollars to fuel a renewable wind power industry boom sensible investors won't touch with a turbine's rotor blade. ...Wind power sounds a great European success story -- one to be echoed in the US, it seems, as 2008 is set to see wind power developments shatter records for the fourth consecutive year. However, a closer look at the European "success" story reveals that all is not quite as it seems. Wind seems to be blowing in the mind of the politically correct and those on the recent environmentalist bandwagon but the cost is going to be huge, no companies will plunge into it without massive government subsidies and, if actually built, power reliability will take a nosedive. ...The bottom line is that the renewables debate, and investment in it, is as much about ideology and political belief as it is about economics and environmental issues. When the real cost of turbine power as a major player toward our future power needs is assessed, the answer just ain't "blowing in the wind".
23 Jan 2008
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