Renew On Line (UK) 48

Extracts from NATTA's journal
, issue 148 March-April 2004

   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1. Even more offshore wind

2. BETTA , RO and Carbon trading

3. Wind - in the city and in the forests

4. Green Alliance : PSI report on Funding

5. Solar, Tidal, Hydro and biomass

6. Throwing caution at the wind

7. CHP gap confirmed

8. Long-life energy deal 

9. EU News

10. US News

11. World Renewables Roundup

12. Nuclear News

3. Wind - in the city and in the forests

Urban wind spreads

Urban wind projects are proliferating. We noted in Renew 145 that  there were plans to install three 1.5 MW Enercon turbines on the site of the old Ford motor works in Dagenham, east London and that there were plans for a projects in Dundee and Norwich.  Adding to the trend, the Guardian (Nov 20th) reported, Hammersmith council, which had earlier shelved a project to build an Enercon E66 turbine on a site adjoining Wormwood Scrubs, is looking to what could be a more significant idea- installing smaller wind turbines on the roofs of its tower blocks.

The first is planned for a 22-storey residential block near Shepherds Bush. The council thinks that in theory each tower block could support several turbines. They cost £30,000 each but advocates say they can pay for themselves in less than 10 years.  Meanwhile, the Guardian noted, BP is experimenting with two wind-powered petrol stations in central London, while Sainsbury’s powers its delivery depot in East Kilbride with wind turbines.

* Over the winter season, in an event run by Shell, trees lining London’s South Bank were illuminated and a mist spray system installed to imitate the Northern Lights,  with the power coming from a 43 meter wind turbine installed in a Southbank car park.  Shell said its ‘Electric Storm’aimed to illustrate its commitment to renewables.

Wind power and the Forestry Commission

The Forestry Commission is betraying its responsibilities to the landscape by allowing its mountains and hills to be used for windfarms, according to Prof. David Bellamy.  He told the Independent (Dec 1, 2003) ‘By allowing these windfarms, they are helping to spoil some of the most beautiful and recreational  landscapes in Britain. They are betraying their responsibilities to millions of people who want to escape from the urban sprawl. Windfarms are damaging to landscapes; they contain industrial structures the height of St Paul's  cathedral which destroy any sense of remoteness. This is our national forest, and they’re meant to be guardians of it.’

The Independent noted that Commission is Britain’s biggest landowner, with more than a million hectares (2.5m acres) of land and it was involved in 27 windfarms at various stages of development in England, Scotland and Wales, although the vast majority were in Scotland, where it said there was a ‘wind rush’ under way, with nearly 200 wind projects under consideration. and more than 400 windfarms having been proposed. However the Commissions involvement was somewhat more modest- with  three windpower developments on commission land at present, one under construction, 11 in the planning stage and 12 on the drawing board.

The Independent said that a ‘characteristic example’ was at Inverliever Forest in Argyll, where Scottish Power has proposed placing 22 turbines, each 93 metres (302ft)  high, on the ridge that runs between Loch Awe and Loch Avich.‘The ridge, which reaches 1,800ft, and offers vast panoramas out to the Inner Hebrides, is at the heart of the huge forest, but has been deliberately left free of trees by the commission.  Scottish Power claims the visual impact of the development will be limited, but so far more than 400 objections to the scheme have been received at the district planning office of Argyll and Bute council in Oban, including letters from America, Germany and France’.

Christine Metcalfe, who lives on the shores of Loch Avich told the Independent “The commission holds vast tracts of land of prime scenic, recreational, and ecological value. It is now inflicting a damaging form of industrial development upon the very landscapes and habitats  which it has a duty to conserve. Its officials have been unable to provide a convincing justification for this surrender of stewardship.”

The Commission however said that it has no statutory duty to protect the landscape; that the Forestry Commissioners are within their rights under the Forestry Act 1967, to dispose of land as they see fit; and that in seeking to promote renewables they were following government policy. It said that a decision not to plant trees on a mountain top is a decision for the commission; but a decision to site a windfarm there is one for the planning authority.

* The Council for the Protection of Rural England  joined in the latest round of wind bashing by claiming that  windfarms were seen by local people as the most unsightly intrusions on the rural landscape, worse than power stations like Didcot, and motorway services.

Wind and Renewable Planning

During the consultation period for the draft Planning Policy Guidance Note 22: Renewable Energy (see Renew 147 and the Reviews section of Renew 148), the various parties weighed in with their special cases. Parliamentary questions were one chosen vehicle. For example in Nov., Mr. Pickthall MP asked ‘if the Planning Policy Guidelines would be strengthened to create a presumption against the siting of wind farms in high value landscapes on the perimeter of  National Parks’.

Yvette Cooper, for the Government, said that in the draft ‘safeguards are included for areas of  important landscape and environmental sensitivity such as National Parks. However, local planning authorities should not create “buffer zones” around designated areas and apply blanket policies that prevent the development of renewable energy resources. Instead, planning  authorities should set criteria based policies in plans to cover all parts of their area, including high value landscapes on the outside of National Parks. These policies should then be used for assessing any planning applications for renewable energy projects that are brought forward by developers’.          Source: Hansard, 20 Nov.  Col 1307W

Juicy deal 

npower Juice renewable energy fund

At the official opening last year of the North Hoyle Offshore wind farm off the N. Wales coast, npower announced that it  will make a contribution of £10 p.a. for each customer that stays with npower’s Juice green power scheme, up to maximum of £500,000 p.a., to a fund to help other renewable energy projects. The Juice scheme is backed by Greenpeace.

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