Archive for the ‘Wind’ Category

Onshore wind much more popular among public than nuclear or shale gas says DECC survey

August 25, 2014

nothanksOnshore wind much more popular among public than nuclear or shale gas says DECC survey

The latest ‘tracker’ polls issued by DECC show that support for onshore wind among the public is 67 per cent, with just 11 per cent opposed. Solar power is the most popular renewable fuel (82 per cent support) with offshore wind a bit ahead of onshore wind in popularity. By contrast support and opposition for shale gas is tied at 24 per cent and nuclear power is supported by 36 per cent compared to 24 per cent opposed.

Once again this demonstrates just how out of step the Conservatives are with public opinion. The Conservatives, fond of fulminating against onshore wind and solar, want to cut off all funding for onshore wind after 2020. Eric Pickles delights in cancelling planning consents for wind and solar farms even when the planners have agreed to them.

Of course the Tories feel they are on the run pursued by UKIP who claim to oppose the alleged green frippery liked by the ‘political classes’. The opinion surveys suggest things are the other way around. Right wing political classes are ignoring the voice of the people and subverting it in favour of what one columnist (in today’s Financial Times) calls ‘sour censorious provincialism’.

Hopefully the Conservatives will reap the rewards of their dash to the right at the polls next May, and lose political office. As the Conservatives tilt ever more towards the right, the future of civilisation as we know it is dependent on this outcome!

See
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/public-attitudes-tracking-survey-wave-10

By Dave Toke

Green energy co-ops blocked by government regulator

August 15, 2014

solar_powerThe future of community-owned green energy projects that ministers say are crucial to break the dominance of the ‘big six’ is being put at risk by the Financial Conduct Authority, according to co-operatives and the Labour party.

Thousands of towns and villages have clubbed together around the UK in recent years to set up energy co-ops to generate clean electricity from wind turbines and solar panels.

Ed Davey, the energy secretary, last year visited a community solar scheme on a tower block in south London and has said he “want[s] to see nothing short of a community energy revolution”, while the former climate minister, Greg Barker, said such projects were needed to “break the grip of the dominant big energy companies”.

But in the past six weeks the FCA, which registers new co-ops, has blocked several new energy co-op applications on the grounds that they would not have enough member participation, despite having authorised previous ones set up along the same lines.

Tom Greatrex, shadow energy minister, wrote a letter on Friday to Martin Wheatley, the FCA’s chief executive, warning that the shift in the FCA’s attitude put the future of co-operative energy in the UK at risk.

“David Cameron’s government talk a good game on community energy – but the reality is that future energy co-ops are being put at risk by a change of approach by the FCA. This sudden change threatens a model that combines the twin goods of decarbonisation and community involvement in energy,” said Greatrex.

“The FCA must urgently reconsider their approach – and Ed Davey needs to wake up and get a grip to prevent lasting damage to the prospects of more community energy projects in the UK,” he added.

Mike Smyth, chairman of Energy4All, which helps community groups set up energy co-ops, said that six weeks ago “completely out of the blue” the FCA stopped registering new energy co-ops, and had blocked six to eight applications that he was aware of.

“It has put a complete block on the development of this area of mutual activity, without any adequate explanation and showing a huge misunderstanding of what’s going on. The energy sector is completely appropriate for mutual involvement – there is huge amount of mistrust in energy companies – and they’ve [the FCA] put all that on hold.

“The government’s policy is that all new renewable energy generation from next year should be partially or more owned by a community energy organisation. And the FCA is actively undermining this policy by removing the most appropriate business for that. It makes things more difficult, stifles innovation, and precludes participation by people in the energy sector.”

At the heart of the issue is the question of whether energy co-operative members participate actively enough in the co-op. To register a co-op, FCA rules require a mutual to show participation which it lists as “buying from or selling to the society”, “using the services or amenities provided by it” and “supplying services to carry out its business”.

But unlike a co-op shop, which can sell direct to its members, energy co-ops are too small to apply for licenses that would mean they could sell electricity from a wind turbine directly to members – instead, they usually sell to the national grid via a broker, and divide the profits between members.

In the letter to Wheatley, signed by Greatrex, Mark Lazarowicz MP and Claudia Beamish MSP, it says: “We understand that there has been some ambiguity about the meaning of the word “participation” in ascertaining whether a project is a bona fide co-operative. Participation is clearly more than just a narrow question about whether the product of the co-operative is traded solely with members.

“There may be other forms of participation that the FCA has not considered. So long as this question remains open, we do not believe that the FCA can reasonably move to block future cooperative energy projects.”

Communities can apply for a separate mutual model, known as Community Benefit Societies, but Smyth said such societies were “less flexible” and “less appropriate”.

An FCA spokeswoman did not confirm whether there had been a shift in the authority’s stance towards energy co-ops, but said: “One of the conditions for registration is that the applicant must be a bona fide co-operative society where members participate in its business. When applicants cannot demonstrate this to the FCA, in accordance with the [Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies] act, we cannot register them.”

Source – The Guardian

THERE’S A TOXIC PLOT IN THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY

November 15, 2012

Greenpeace have uncovered explosive evidence of a plot in the Conservative party to sabotage progress on climate change.

As you might have seen on the front page of this morning’s Guardian, our undercover video investigation reveals how a faction of Tory MPs is going to extreme lengths to scupper our clean energy future. A senior Conservative reveals that George Osborne wants to undermine the Climate Change Act – one of the great victories of our movement that has created legally binding targets for the government to reduce emissions.

The ideological opposition to clean wind energy runs deep in Osborne and these other Tory MPs. So much so that one MP even secretly campaigned against his own party. Outrageous, I know. You have to watch it to believe it.

You, along with over 20,000 people, have already told David Cameron to stop Osborne sabotaging progress on climate change – thank you!

Now watch the astonishing undercover video.

If these Conservatives have their way, we’ll have more dirty, expensive gas power stations written into the Energy Bill. The bill is crucial in shaping the way our electricity is generated for the next 30 years.

Osborne wants to hand the Energy Bill – and our future – to the gas companies, allowing them to build dozens of new gas power stations. This dash for gas could lead to decades of unrestricted carbon emissions and increasingly volatile household bills, plunging more people into fuel poverty.

We need the opposite.

A clean Energy Bill would mean almost zero carbon emissions from electricity generation by 2030, a new wave of clean energy and a thriving green economy with tens of thousands of new jobs.

A majority of us – 64% of the British public – want renewable energy powering our lives.

Osborne knows he’s in the minority, but our investigation shows he’s positioning climate sceptics and anti-wind MPs in key government roles – like pieces on a chessboard – to undermine the progress we’ve made.

But Osborne still answers to the prime minister.

It now falls to David Cameron to respond to the scandal we’ve uncovered and decide where his party – and our country – is going.

At the last election when looking for our votes, Cameron rebranded the Conservative party with the environment at its heart. This undercover investigation shows he has a fundamental question to answer: will he side with the majority of the British public, or the dirty energy faction led by George Osborne?

Don’t forget to watch the incredible undercover report

Serious Questions About UK Energy and Climate Change Policy

February 9, 2012

With the global climate crisis growing ever more urgent, the sharp rise in the UK’s carbon emissions in 2010 is deeply worrying – and raises serious questions about the progress being made in our energy and climate change policy (‘Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions in shock 3.1% rise’, 8 February).

The increase in emissions from home heating is especially alarming when you consider that, by the Government’s own admission, loft lagging will fall by 93% when the Green Deal comes into force. If we are to stand any chance of improving the efficiency of our homes and tackling fuel poverty, the new energy and climate secretary Ed Davey must make it a personal priority to strengthen this weak and underfunded programme so that it actually delivers a good deal for households.

Furthermore, the fact that a six-month shutdown of the Sizewell nuclear reactor was partly to blame for the recorded rise in emissions is yet another reason for the Government to ditch its belief that nuclear can deliver the secure, reliable and low carbon energy we need for the future.

This week, the Bank of England is expected to announce a new batch of quantitative easing to the tune of £50bn or more. A new report from the Green New Deal Group and the Southampton University economics professor who coined the term ‘quantitative easing’, Richard Werner, is calling for such cash to be injected into a programme of green investment to support badly needed renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

Rather than handing the money over to the banks, who then sit on it and refuse to lend, green QE would put money into the wider economy – creating thousands of new jobs, improving energy security and tackling climate change at the same time.

Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion.  Green Party

Parishes assess M1 Wind Farm application

January 13, 2012

Following the submission of an application to build a wind farm on agricultural land close to the M1, east of Roade, Alastair Smith from renewable energy specialist Wind Prospect Developments Limited (WPDL) has visited several of the local parishes close to the proposed site in order to answer residents’ queries.

Discussions took place at parish council meetings during which councillors and members of the public were able to view the application and ask questions. Commenting on the meetings, Alastair said: “I am very grateful to the parishes for allowing me to speak and I was encouraged by the quality of the discussions. It was clear that many people have a range of concerns with the application and these meetings provided an ideal opportunity for me to address these concerns and to learn more about the needs of the local people.”

Ironically, high wind and rain may have deterred some local residents from attending their parish council meetings, but Alastair has said that he would be “very pleased to respond to any messages sent via the project website http://www.m1windfarm.com.”

The proposal has been submitted to South Northants Council (Ref. S/2011/1421/MAF) and comprises nine 1.3 megawatt wind turbines, with tower heights of approximately 60 metres and rotor diameters of approximately 60 metres. The maximum tip height (when a blade is vertical) will be no greater than 90 metres. Further details are available at http://www.m1windfarm.com.

Nun Wood Wind Farm at Bozeat Has Been Granted Planning Permission

November 16, 2011

The appeal to overturn the decision to block the Nun Wood Wind Farm Development has been successful. George Paton broke the news on our Yes to Nunn Wood Wind Farm Facebook page. The decision by the HM Planning Inspector means that NPower are now able to construct 12 wind turbines between Harrold Road Bozeat and London Road Lavendon.

The development at Nun Wood will lay across the three counties of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire; comprising of 3 turbines within the Milton Keynes area, 6 within Bedford Borough and 3 within the borough of Wellingborough. The planned operational period will be 25 years and the scheme would meet the average annual electricity needs of between 13,700 and 15,600 homes¹ and make a valuable contribution towards the Government’s commitment to ensure 20% of electricity is generated from renewable sources by the year 2020.

Nun Wood is a good site for a wind farm because of the following reasons. It is on a ridge and monitoring has proven that it is a windy site. The connection to the electricity grid is via an onsite line, so there is no need for any additional overhead pylons. There are no national landscape designations in the area. The site is a good distance from homes and villages.

The following has been posted on the Milton Keynes Planning website:

Reference: 11/00011/NONDET
Address: Nunn Wood Land Between London Road And Harrold Road Bozeat Wellingborough Northants
Nature: CONSTRUCT A WIND FARM DEVELOPMENT COMPRISING 3 WIND TURBINES UP TO 125M HEIGHT TO BLADE TIP AND ANCILLARY EQUIPMENT, ACCESS TRACKS AND ANEMOMETRY MAST, IN CONJUNCTION WITH PLANNING APPLICATIONS TO BEDFORD BOROUGH COUNCIL FOR 6 TURBINES AND ACCESS TRACKS AND THE BOROUGH OF WELLINGBOROUGH FOR 3 TURBINES, SUBSTATION, CONSTRUCTION COMPOUND, ACCESS TRACKS AND SITE ACCESS AS PART OF A SINGLE WIND FARM OF 12 TURBINES FOR AN OPERATIONAL PERIOD OF 25 YEARS
Status: Appeal Allowed
Appeal Type: Non-determination
Decision: Appeal Allowed
Parish: Lavendon Parish Council
Ward: Olney
Procedure: Public Inquiry
Decision Date: 15 Nov 2011

See also the Nun Wood Wind Farm website for more information.

Planning Committee to drop 2 of the 3 original reasons for refusal on the Airfield Wind Farm

May 19, 2011

After months of negotiations, Bedford Borough Council has recommended to its Planning Committee members to drop 2 of the 3 original reasons for refusal on the Airfield Wind Farm planning application.

It has also recommended that the members seriously reconsider backing the third reason for refusal due to the fact that the previous Planning Inspector ruled that the impact on the surrounding landscape was not harmful enough to refuse the project on.

Should the Planning Committee back the Planning Officers recommendation the pending appeal will hopefully be much shorter and less costly for the taxpayer and the Council as the parties involved would just be discussing issues raised by CLOWD.

A copy of the officer’s recommendation is available for download from nuon’s website at www.nuonrenewables.com/projects/sapd1

The Planning Committee will decide whether to follow the officers recommendation on Monday 23rd May at 1830 at the Harpur Suite. There will be no public speaking session, however public are allowed to attend.