Renew On Line (UK) 54
Extracts from NATTA's journal
|Welcome Archives Bulletin|
4. Wind rush- and wind problems
Construction of wind
farms hit a record last year. According to the British Wind Energy
Association, 253 megawatts of new capacity
started generating- five times the average annual capacity
built in the 1990s and more than double the figure in 2003. And a survey
of six of the largest wind farm developers, including some of
However, the BWEA stressed that meeting the government’s targets would depend upon offshore schemes going ahead as planned- and developers remain concerned about possible planning delays, opposition from military and civil aviation authorities over radar interference (see below), as well as the cost and availability of grid connections that could undermine the economics of offshore schemes.
Nevertheless, the pace of deployment was increasing. Another 18 developments providing a further 617MW are likely to be completed next year. Work has yet to start on a further 68 schemes totalling 2,000MW, half of it offshore, which have received planning permission. Another 96 schemes, mostly onshore, totalling 5,000 MW, equivalent to 5 per cent of the country’s electricity needs, have been submitted for planning approval.
Marcus Rand, BWEA chief executive, said: “Onshore construction at this rate should run at about 600 to 700MW a year through to 2010 which would be enough to meet its share of the renewables’ targets. We now need to speed the development process for offshore projects.”
Wind on the radar
The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) and NPower Renewables (NRL) have published the results of trials undertaken last year to assess the impact of offshore wind farms on marine radar, communications and positioning systems. The trials took place at the UK’s first major offshore wind farm at North Hoyle, off the coastline of North Wales, which covers an area of 6 square kilometres and comprises 30 turbines, each with an approximate maximum height of 110 metres above mean sea level and rotors of 78 metres diameter.
The report concludes that there is minimal impact by offshore wind farms on communications systems (VHF radios and, indeed, cellphones- where there is coverage), or on ships’ Automatic Identification System (AIS), or on the reception of Global Positioning System (GPS) data- the satellite navigation system. In addition there were few problems with magnetic compasses other than that that could be reasonably expected (i.e. close up to the metal structures). It also concludes that although the wind farm may be clearly and readily identified at distance by radar, erroneous and spurious radar returns may be generated in closer proximity to the turbines. It also found that similar effects can occur with land-based marine radars and suggested that mitigation measures may be needed.
The North Hoyle Trials Report is available at: www.mcga.gov.uk/c4mca/mcga-safety_information/mcga-nav-com/dqs-navcomms-nav.htm
However there were still some problems. There have
been objections to plans to erect 50 metre tall grid pylons across the
The pylons are tied in with plans to build three large
wind farms on Lewis. The largest is the 234 turbine project on Stornoway.
The National Trust for
The Trust feels that consideration should be given
to laying a cable under the sea from the Western Isles to
There are plans for undersea connections from the Shetlands
News Agency; Sunday Herald
Welsh wind plan
The Welsh Assembly has issued ‘Technical Advice Note 8’ (TAN 8) which is part of its new framework for a range of renewable energy technologies (see Renew 152). It includes a target of an additional 800 MW of onshore wind by 2010 and identifies 7 strategic areas for wind development.
Although evidently it was not consulted on TAN 8, the
British Wind Energy Association has supported the plan and said it believes
that, although there could be problems in some of the areas, the target
can be met subject to ‘extensions
of the proposed strategic areas of development and creation of additional
strategic areas.’ It added
“Attention should also be paid to the many millions of pounds of investment
which have already been made in projects in
What would be