Monthly Archives: October 2014

//October

Wherever the wind may take us

A question which is is being asked more and more frequently is ‘are we going to run out of sites at which to install wind turbines?’ and this is a question we ask ourselves on a  regular basis.

The planning process for a potential wind site is fairly complex and combines the need for an acceptable wind speed, with adherence to specific planning guidelines. For example, an area may have an average wind speed of 8m/s (which is ideal) but it is situated in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), therefore meaning it is highly unlikely that this site will be given planning permission.

Sure enough there will come a time when the windiest spots are all hosting wind turbines. With this in mind, we have considered the development of demand management systems, as well as owning and operating medium size turbines and we have looked into other types of renewable energy technology. However, one thing we have also considered is placing wind turbines in areas of lower average wind speed and it looks like we are not the only ones.

Siemens has developed a portfolio of low-wind option turbines which offer an attractive solution for sites with low wind speeds. In fact, there is a wide range of turbine models which operate at a lower wind speed and this is of crucial significance if we want to continue harvesting the readily available source of wind energy in the UK. This is an exciting time for wind technology and we look forward to seeing how we can play our part in the site development process.

 

Wind developers in a pickle

Eric Pickles wanted local communities to have a say in whether or not a wind turbine project would receive planning approval. However, it seems that the power has not successfully been transferred as Pickles is still making the majority of decisions himself.

Is Pickles being unfair? Well, he believes that local communities should have more say in whether a turbine is given consent, yet he has awarded himself power to veto projects and has done so on a mass scale, rejecting 17 of 19 proposals, despite 5 being approved by the Planning Inspectorate. Whilst Pickles wants to retain support of Conservative voters in rural areas, it can be argued that he is not considering the long term effects of his actions.

RenewableUK is voicing concerns over the continued and uncontrolled intervention, stating simply that the 50 projects – which Pickles has either rejected or delayed – would have added 520 megawatts of energy capacity to the UK – enough to power more than 275,000 homes – and would have been worth £581 million to local economies. Why is it that these figures are not important to the  Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government?

Maf Smith, deputy chief executive of RenewableUK, commented, “These sites would have meant half a billion pounds in local investment creating over 2,000 jobs.”

Renewable energy sources are essential if the UK wants a secure and balanced energy supply. In the developments that Fine Energy are involved in, the turbines provide a source of clean, renewable energy which can be used by local residents as a supplement to their traditional energy supply, at no extra cost. So if wind is not acceptable, what is the answer?