Renew On Line (UK) 50

Extracts from NATTA's journal
, issue 150 July-Aug 2004

   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         


1.  Mind the  Funding Gap

2.  1 GW of Wind - RSPB fears

3.  Marine Renewables

4. Still no to Tidal Barrage/Lagoon

5. Biofuels Push

6. 2000 solar  roofs

7. Transmission Debate

8. Mine Methane shafted

9. Lords on Climate Change

10. RO price rises

11. New Renewable projects around the UK

12. Wind power costs

13. Scotland invests  to save energy

14. SEPN charts progress …but SDC wants

15 Renewables around the World

16. EU new : wind at 30GW

17. Nuclear News: Bush bans reprocessing

2.  1 GW of Wind - RSPB fears

The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) says that over 1,000 megawatts of new wind energy capacity, representing an investment of some £1 billion, will be built over the next two years. This will take the total installed capacity in the UK to well over 1,500 MW by the end of 2005, generating enough electricity to meet the needs of almost one million UK homes.  A survey carried out by BWEA shows that 22 new wind projects are due to be built this year, representing 474 MW of new capacity, over four times the total installed last year. The list of new build includes 21 developments onshore and a new offshore wind farm at Scroby Sands, the UK’s second large-scale development at sea, off the coast of Great Yarmouth in Norfolk. BWEA also undertook a survey of five major developers establishing their predictions for build in 2005. The results indicate further growth of the industry next year with a predicted 560 MW of projects being built onshore and offshore in 2005, taking new build over the next two years to over 1GW with the wind industry supplying 1.3% of total UK electricity needs. Marcus Rand, Chief Executive of BWEA, said: ‘2003 was the year of consents: 2004 will be the year of build’.

However it’s not all going to be plain sailing.  The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), which has supported wind power so far, is worried about the scale of the programme and about the impacts of some of the offshore sites. RSPB Director of Conservation, Dr Mark Avery, told the BWEA  conference in  March: 

‘Government aspirations for more wind farms must be supported by clearer strategic guidance, based on a better understanding of the cumulative impacts of more and more wind farms. The RSPB supports increased renewable energy generation as part of a balanced approach towards tackling climate change, which we see as the greatest threat to the world’s wildlife. However, we will object to any wind farms that seriously threaten important populations of birds and their habitats. Urgent research is needed into the locations, numbers and movements of birds around our coasts to help us understand the potential impacts. If we are to avoid expensive and time-consuming legal battles, the government needs to do more to understand where there might be problems and to steer wind farm developments away from such areas.’ 

He concluded ‘The RSPB wants to work constructively with government and the energy industry to help ensure positive progress on renewable generation without negative impacts upon birds’.

The RSPB has serious concerns about a number of wind farm proposals including the 90 machine farm proposed by Shell and Scottish Power for Shell Flat, 8km off Blackpool.  The RSPB has objected to this Round 1 site because it supports very large numbers of wintering common scoters, a sea duck that is on the UK ‘red list’ of species of conservation concern.  Ornothologists have recently calculated that up to 20,000 common scoter- far more than previously thought- spend the winter there, making it the second largest home for the bird in the British Isles.  English Nature and the RSPB have formally warned ministers that they believe Shell Flats threaten the area’s scoter flocks, and are pressing for a public inquiry into the proposals.   Worse still, nearly all the sites licensed for the second round of offshore wind farms are in areas identified by English Nature as potentially being of international importance for birds. The RSPB is calling for detailed ecological surveys of these areas and for legal protection for those that qualify under European law. Round 2 projects include developments in the outer Thames- an area that supports large numbers of wintering red-throated divers.

 And to add to the wind developers problems, the House of Commons Transport Select Committee has claimed that, in the rush to get offshore wind going, the government has not paid sufficient attention to potential problems with shipping- it says ‘every one of the strategic areas is on the approach to a major port or ports,’  and there is a risk of collision.  More on this issue in Renew 151

Meanwhile, pro-wind campaigners are concerned that the Renewables Obligation, with its short term contracts, is not turning out to be well suited to supporting wind project- like many in the wave and tidal community (see left), they would prefer the German guaranteed price REFIT approach.  See Dave Tokes comments in the Forum section of Renew 150 - he sees this funding shortfall as more than a problem than the planning issues: projects with planning permission may still not happen.

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