Renew On Line (UK) 64

Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 164 Nov-Dec 2006
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Contents
1. Energy Review and the RO

2. Scotland Accelerates
3. Micro power doubts
4. UK’s first combined PV and wind system
5. Marine Power - wave and tidal ups & downs
6. Tyndall say 90% CO2 cut needed
7. Local Biofuel growth stalled
8. Ramblers fear wind farms
9. Carbon Rationing
10. Planning for Decentral Power
11. UK funding for sustainable energy
12. UK Roundup
13. Renewables in Europe
14. World Renewables
15. Nuclear News

8. Ramblers fear wind farms

The Ramblers Association, which has around 140,000 members, has come out strongly against the spread of large wind farms which it sees as invading sensitive areas. There have been some set piece battles in Scotland where they have successfully opposed a 24 turbine 66MW scheme near Crieff in Perthshire. They argue that, unless opposed, ‘there will be a necklace of these wind farm developments forming a strangle hold on the Scottish landcape’. They want the Renewables Obligation (RO) rescinded since they say that it promotes major wind schemes. Instead the want a ‘balanced package’, including community scale wind projects. (Observer 17/09/06).

It does seem that, as the National Audit Office has noted, that some wind projects may get excess funding over and above what they need, especially large projects in high wind speed locations. However, as far as small schemes go, it’s not just the RO that’s the problem. Indeed, as Dave Toke has argued, given that, if you can get in investment capital, the RO can provide quite generous payments for schemes regardless of size.

What really matters is the location- and the wind speed. And getting access to good sites is strongly influenced by the planning consents process. This takes a similar amount of effort/money for a small project as a large project, so the latter are often seen as more commercially viable. Dale Vince from Ecotricity, who have pioneered smaller projects, told Green Futures (Sept/Oct) ‘We have done great things with single turbines. The public loves them. If we are driven to bigger projects just because of the planning process, then isn’t the system letting the public down?’

*In its evidence to the Energy Review, the Ramblers argued strongly for improved energy efficiency. However, although they ‘strongly supported’ the increased development of a ‘diverse range’ of renewable energy, they claimed that ‘present Government policy is excessively focussed on supporting renewables through large scale, land based windfarms’. This, they said, ‘is leading to the industrialisation of the landscape in many parts of Britain and is eroding public support for the development of renewable energy systems. New incentives are needed to provide an entirely different basis for encouraging wind turbine development, with preference given to small scale developments on land, primarily designed for meeting local energy needs. They should be small in scale and in fields and on roofs, not in the hills, with large scale wind developments only favoured in locations that are well offshore.’

They wanted more investment in micropower, biomass & offshore/marine renewables- and CHP. They backed Carbon Capture & Storage but still had reservations about nuclear.

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