Renew On Line (UK) number73

Extracts from NATTA's journal
Renew, Issue 173 May-June 2008
   Welcome   Archives   Bulletin         

1. UK Needs to try harder 

2. Wave and Tidal-  ‘slow progress’

3. RO bands- no to REFIT  

4. Biofuel doubts grow 

5 Micro power- ups and down  

6. Reactions to Nuclear White paper 

7. Wind power developments  

8. Planning Changes 

9. Global developments  

10. EU News 

11. Nuclear News


7. Wind power developments  

£40m for Offshore wind  

The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) and the Carbon Trust have joined forces to announce plans for an ambitious £40m initiative to cut the costs of offshore wind power and accelerate its deployment around the UK.  The initiative will involve organisations from across the spectrum of offshore wind technology and project development, plus other organisations with relevant expertise, and is expected to include a range of projects involving research, development and demonstration activities.

The press release said that ‘While commercial interest is growing- particularly since the UK Government announced proposals to increase subsidies through banding the Renewables Obligation- costs are continuing to rise and this threatens to delay progress.  Cost reduction is essential to provide the necessary confidence for large-scale investments and to ensure the Government’s carbon reduction and renewables targets are met.  Consequently, our initiative will ensure a strong focus on cost reduction.’ 

To support increasing levels of deployment the initiative has the following goals for 2020:       

•        Reduced costs: cost of energy to be reduced to the prevailing least-cost wholesale price of electricity, or lower.       

•        Increased yields: annual farm availability to be increased to 97%-98% or better, equivalent to onshore wind today.       

•        Reduced risks: Reduction in technical uncertainties to allow farms to be financed in a manner, and at costs, equivalent to onshore wind today. Furthermore, the initiative will focus on the technical enablement of large-scale deployment.

Programme Details 

The announcement added ‘we expect the initiative will include a range of projects involving research, development and demonstration activities, generally funded at a level between £1m and £20m each, and overall, the initiative will comprise a small number of major activities’.

The exact technical scope of each project will be worked up later in a portfolio development process, however, they said they are interested in the following areas :       

•        Design & demonstration of novel offshore systems, including technologies that are fundamentally different to those currently being deployed e.g. offshore-specific wind turbine designs possibly integrated within alternative overall wind farm configurations (e.g. using centralised power conversion)- and systems for deep-water installation;       

•        Improvements to existing technologies, to facilitate deployment at large-scale and otherwise improve wind farm design, construction (e.g. foundation structures) and operation (e.g. access methods)- including reliability.  While perhaps less radical than the first category, such developments are vitally needed in the short-to-medium term for incorporation in wind farms to be built in the next 5 years; and       

•        Supporting studies on other issues critical to deployment, for instance, mapping offshore wind resources, improved environmental impact assessment methods and construction health and safety.

33GW offshore wind?  

DBERR’s new target of installing 33GW of offshore wind by 2020 attracted some criticism. The Royal Academy of Engineering said  ‘Laudable though the targets are, we urge Government to think about the practicalities of deploying these technologies- the engineering effort to build 7,000 large offshore turbines by 2020 would be enormous, unprecedented and  is probably underestimated’. 

Tories split? Tory Shadow energy minister Charles Hendry said the party was enthusiastic about offshore wind  but remained divided about wind farms in mainland UK.   Source: Public Servant Daily

Big Wind Direct 

Planning permission has been granted by Newport City Council to construct two 2MW wind turbines at the Solutia UK chemical manufacturing site in Newport, South Wales. The turbines will provide green energy directly into the Solutia chemical plant. When built, the turbines will be the first industrial on-site generation wind turbines in Wales. It’s one of the project developed by Wind Direct  who say they now have ‘a total of 23 customer sites that are in varying stages of development, from initial contractual agreement to full operation’.  Their first was a 2 MW turbine on an industrial estate in Cambridgeshire: generation commenced in March 2005.

* Sadly Tesco have had to abandon their proposed 35 metre wind project at their store in Greenock- it was deemed too invasive by the local Council 

* The board of the innovative Irish wind company Airtricity Holdings Limited has announced that an agreement has been reached to sell Airtricity to Scottish and Southern Energy Plc, for Euro 1.8bn.  

Wind still faces MoD problems 

The Ministry of Defence has been accused of trying to put a ‘blanket ban’ on onshore windfarm development in East Anglia. Following a series of high-profile MoD objections to turbines on the grounds of radar interference, leading developers Wind Power Renewables, Mellinsus Renewables, SLP Energy and Enertrag UK, warned they could be forced to scrap future windfarm plans in the region- at great cost to the local economy- unless the planning climate changes.  The issue could become serious: the Times (4/2/08) reported that NATO was also concerned about line of sight impacts on defence radar.

An MOD spokesman said: “We fully support the government’s renewable energy policies and targets, and treat each windfarm case on its merits. Objections are only raised when absolutely necessary, and we will always engage with landowners and developers to try to find solutions to any concerns we may have. However it is vital that we protect our air defence and air traffic control radar from interference from any development which would unacceptably jeopardise national security or the safe movement of aircraft.”

 * A ‘potentially disastrous situation’ was claimed to be the reason for the planning refusal for six new 120m high wind turbines  proposed  at Swaffam- following complaints from the MoD. Defence Estates had expressed concerns over the impact of the turbines on air traffic radar and air traffic management procedures at RAF Marham. Swaffam is of course already the home of one of Ecotricity’s first large windturbines.  

Offshore Protection Zones  

Almost 4,000 square miles of wildlife-rich sea off the coast of Britain could receive protection under plans unveiled by the Government. Seven areas beyond UK territorial waters have been earmarked to become Britain’s first offshore special areas of conservation (SAC), providing conservation of sea life and habitats such as sandbanks and cold water coral reefs. The sites are intended to form part of a network of marine protected areas which the Government says it wants to see in place by 2012- and which may eventually cover up to 40% of the UK’s sea. Activities such as bottom-trawling fishing, oil and gas exploration and construction of offshore windfarms could be controlled or even prevented if it is decided they would damage or degrade the sites.   

In addition, a new task force has been set up to consider proposals for legislation to protect Scotland’s marine and coastal environment.

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