Documents filed under General from UK
This useful paper explains how the cost of offshore wind has increased in the United Kingdom and how government accounting of the costs have failed to reveal this fact. The paper examines how the actual costs of both onshore and offshore wind generation have not fallen significantly. In fact, the authors report that the operating costs of new capacity have increased significantly for both onshore and offshore wind farms while the operating costs for existing wind farms have increased more rapidly as the turbines aged. The full paper can be accessed by clicking on the document links on this page.
The Renewable Energy Foundation published this research paper by Dr Gordon Hughes, Professor of Economics at the University of Edinburgh, on the performance over time of wind farms in the United Kingdom and Denmark. The paper can be downloaded by clicking the link(s) on this page. The UK and Danish data used in the analysis is also available below. The following summarizes the results of the research.
Stuart Young Consulting, with support from the John Muir Trust, has released a report studying the ability of wind power to make a significant contribution to the UK's energy supply. It concludes that the average power output of wind turbines across Scotland is well below the rates often claimed by industry and government. The executive summary of the report is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking on the link(s) at the bottom of this page.
This document does not question whether we should be developing windfarms or should not be developing windfarms, or even whether they look good on a landscape or are a visual intrusion on the landscape. We are simply addressing the methodology used by the windfarm industry, who in our opinion, have been using misleading methods for the last 11 years whilst seeking to obtain planning permission. Having had more than 15 years experience in producing visualisations for planning applications, both here and in other parts of the world, what we see happening throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK is a method of visual presentation which brings our profession into disrepute. After many years of fighting for fairer standards, something has to be done because of the growing public perception that photomontage is unreliable.
Link to recent program aired in the UK
An indictment of the Scottish Executive and regulatory incompetence and indifference......‘One is left with a clear impression of inertia, bungling, duplicity, poor communication, procrastination, obfuscation and, quite frankly, shoddy and incorrect decision-taking both in temporal and technical terms'.
The important paper reviews research articles within the field of acoustics concerning the acoustic properties of wind turbines and noise and recommends a safe buffer zone of at least 2 km between turbines and residential dwellings. The abstract of this paper is provided below. The full document can be accessed by clicking the link(s) on this page.
Editor's Note: The following are selected excerpts from the Renewable Energy Foundation press release describing this research. The full press release is available via the link below. Using the new research it is now possible to assess how renewable generators up and down the country are performing. This data, published in five online files; Biomass, Hydro, Landfill Gas, Sewage Gas and Windpower, shows that firm generators are producing high load factors with carefully designed resource use and load following. However in the wind sector, far and away the most active of all the technologies at present, results vary enormously due to location. The capacities offshore are encouraging, whilst those onshore are generally only superior in locations very distant from the populations requiring the electrical energy. Although most sites were built on expected capacity factors of around 30%, results include; 19% (approx) capacity factor for the wind turbines at Dagenham, Essex. 9% (approx) capacity factor at the Barnard Castle plant, County Durham. The best performing wind sites are in the north of Scotland, and on Shetland the wind turbines are producing capacity factors of over 50%. Using this analysis of the Ofgem data, researchers have also calibrated a model predicting how a large installed capacity of wind power built across the UK would actually perform. The project used Meteorological Office data to model output for every hour of every January from 1994-2006. The startling results show that, even when distributed UK wide, the output is still highly volatile. The average January power variation over the last 12 years is 94% of installed capacity. It is an uncontrolled variation decided by the weather. The average minimum output is only 3.7% or 0.9GW in a 25GW system. Power swings of 70% in 30 hours are the norm in January. The governments’ expectation is that three quarters of the 2010 renewables target, and the lion’s share of the ‘20% by 2020’ target will be made up of windpower. However, the new research offers predictions which are in keeping with Danish and German empirical experience and demonstrate the need for a broader spread of investment in the renewable sector. The report was commissioned from Oswald Consultancy Limited and funded by donation from the green entrepreneur Vincent Tchenguiz. Campbell Dunford, CEO of REF, said: “This important modelling exercise shows that even with best efforts a large wind carpet in the UK would have a low capacity credit, and be a real handful to manage. This isn’t the best way to encourage China and India to move towards the low-carbon economy. As a matter of urgency, for the planet’s sake, we need to bring forward a much broader range of low carbon generating technologies, including the full sweep of renewables. Wind has a place, but it must not be allowed to squeeze out other technologies that have more to offer.”
This is the report submitted by the Planning Inspector appointed by the National Assembly for Wales that dismisses the appeal by the Awe Amman Tawe quango for a wind farm on Mynydd-y-Gwrhyd. Of particular interest are the Inspector's remarks on Landscape and Visual Impact (paragraphs 16-20 on pages 5-6) with respect to how 'developers photomontages' do not give the true visual impact of actual wind farm sites.
It is broadly accepted that wind turbines do not emit CO2 at the point of generation. However, in common with all types of power station, it is emitted during their construction and, through damage directly inflicted on the construction site, over a much longer period. The total debt will vary from site to site but will comprise some or all of the following; • Emissions arising from fabrication (steel smelting, forging of turbine columns, the manufacture of blades and the electrical and mechanical components); • Emissions arising from construction (transportation of components, quarrying, building foundations, access tracks and hard standings, commissioning); • The indirect loss of CO2 uptake (fixation) by plants originally on the surface of the site but obliterated by construction activity including the destruction of active bog plants on wet sites and deforestation; • Emissions due to the indirect, long-term liberation of CO2 from carbon stored in peat due to drying and oxidation processes caused by construction of the site. It is important to recognise that peat is a major store of carbon accumulated from dead plant remains over many millennia. It is held in perpetuity because the bog’s wetness and acid conditions prevent the access of oxygen and inhibit the growth of bacteria which would otherwise rot the vegetation. Draining peat for construction reverses both these long-term processes: the soil is exposed to the air, the carbon is converted to CO2 and released slowly to the atmosphere. Several papers from the wind industry in Denmark and the UK have addressed the first two points with estimates of payback time ranging from about six to 30 months. However, the industry rarely, if ever, considers the last two. This is a fundamental omission as their contribution to the overall CO2 debt, in particular the last, can be far greater than all the others put together. This paper outlines a procedure for quantifying it. The guide has been prepared to enable anyone with access to the Environmental Statement (ES) that forms part of a Planning Application (PA) for a wind farm to estimate its CO2 debt. (If some of the requisite information proves to be unavailable, this ought to provide grounds for postponing consideration of the application and the commissioning of further assessment.) The results of the calculations described should be submitted to planning authorities or Public Inquiries as part of the arguments used in assessing the merits and demerits of an application.
Noise - ‘unwanted sound’ – can ruin people’s well-being and environment “Peace and quiet is the single most important factor people have in mind when buying a home – with one in five prospective homebuyers rating it as the most important consideration when choosing where they will buy.” Alliance and Leicester Survey, 3/6/02 The Noise Association, which published this report, is the research arm of the UK Noise Association. Both organisations are based at 2nd Floor, Broken Wharf House, 2 Broken Wharf, London EC4V 3DT, tel 020 7329 0774, email firstname.lastname@example.org www.ukna.org.uk Editor's Note: The complete report is available in the attached pdf file 'Noise Association'. A smaller, edited version that excludes two pages of photos (pages 7 & 11) is also available. Selected Extracts from this report appear below.
..neither renewable energy nor greater energy efficiency can provide the complete solution to the shortfall we face. This will depend on securing energy supplies from abroad, in new nuclear power stations to replace those becoming obsolete and replacing older coal-fired stations with cleaner, more efficient technology.
Neither aviation nor the wind energy industry is at a steady state and both can be expected to evolve in ways which may impact the other. Therefore, it is expected that this CAP will be a living document, which will be updated to reflect the outcome of any further research into the interaction between wind turbine developments and aviation. It will also be revised at intervals to take account of changes in regulations, feedback from industry, and recognised best practice.
Editor's Note: Recently updated, Elizabeth Mann's extensive research on the deceptive measures employed by proponents of industrial wind energy in the UK at both the national and local level should prove quite useful to opponents of wind energy in the UK.
A7 Energy's appeal against the Easington District Council for refusing to grant planning permission with respect to a wind plant consisting of 2 x 2.3MW turbines was dismissed by D. L. Burrows, an inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The principal reason for dismissal was adverse impact the turbines would have on the activities of Shotten airfield.
Comments from the CLOWD website: The Government has been misled in the past by the wind energy industry into believing that wind turbines offer a viable method of producing energy. The variability and intermittency of wind energy has been underestimated because the wind statistics used have been unscientifically and misleadingly presented. The paper ‘UK Wind Energy Resources (Variability, Intermittency, Dispersal)’ shows the more realistic situation for mainland UK and in particular the situation that is likely to occur should wind farms be built inland far from the coast and at relatively low elevation.
The Secretary of State accepts the Inspector’s [David M H Rose] findings on the section 36 application. He agrees with the Inspector’s conclusions that the Whinash site is an important and integral part of a far reaching landscape which is highly sensitive to change and that the adverse environmental impacts of the Development would conflict with the aims of Planning Policy Statement 22 which is, in part, to minimise the impacts of wind generation and to achieve environmental safeguards. He also agrees with the Inspector’s conclusion that the environmental harm to this particular landscape outweighs the benefits of securing renewable energy at the Whinash site. The Secretary of State therefore accepts, taking account of the further comments below, the Inspector’s recommendation that consent be refused. Editor's Note: The pdf file contains the complete report.
This report has focused on the cost of generating electricity. While this is an important consideration in the choice of power generation technology it should be recognised that wider issues also contribute to the technology employed. This may, for example, include technology complementation, security of fuel supplies, and social and environmental factors.