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Feb 12 2005 - news roundup - windfarms

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 ARTISTS URGE PEOPLE TO PAINT LANDSCAPE BEFORE IT CHANGES


09:00 - 12 February 2005

Highland artists have added their voices to a campaign aimed at permanently air-brushing windfarms off the landscape.

In an ironic protest, a pressure group launched today in south-west Scotland will urge people to "paint it, while it's there" - a reference to all regions facing the prospect of wind turbines.

Botanist and TV personality David Bellamy last night reiterated his position at a public meeting at Dumfries, telling protesters he supports their battle against "the industrialisation of beautiful areas for a mess of wattage."

The meeting united a number of regional protest groups which have gradually formed throughout Britain. Its organisers were expected to call for a moratorium on all applications for windfarms pending a review of renewables policy at Westminster and Holyrood, and revised planning guidelines for local councils.

Artists Against Windfarms (AAW) has been formed by Christine Lovelock, the daughter of the recognised founder of the green movement, Dr James Lovelock.

Anne Campbell, 43, an oil painter at Bragar on the west coast of Lewis, is supporting AAW. She and her partner Jon MacLeod, also a painter, are currently fighting to save the Lewis peatlands from a plan to erect 234 wind turbines - each 460ft high - on the island.

She said: "I paint the landscape here and sell mainly to tourists so my livelihood is likely to be destroyed. My family have always lived here and so if they put turbines all over our place they will have taken away our village. I'm not against all windfarms, just these totally inappropriate windfarms.
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 ARTISTIC OPPOSITION TO WINDFARM PLANS Next Story | Previous Story | Back to list
11:00 - 12 February 2005
The daughter of the man described as the founder of the Green movement has launched a campaign opposing windfarms. North Devon artist Christine Lovelock - whose environmentalist father James opened the first windfarm in Cornwall but now condemns the technology - aims to get over her opposition to windfarms through art.

Christine, of Barnstaple, has launched a website on which artists will be able to express what they feel about the landscapes under threat from onshore wind turbines.

She said: "Featured artists will talk about their work and the reasons why they are fighting against wind turbine proposals, but most of all I hope that their paintings will speak for themselves and show why it matters to them that the hills and mountains of our country stay as they are - unspoilt."

The website - www.artistsagainstwindfarms.com - already features paintings by Christine of areas in North Devon which have been earmarked for windfarm development.

The pictures include scenes around Fullabrook Down, where 20 360ft-high turbines are proposed, and the area round Torrington, where three 266ft-turbines have been given planning permission.
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 POLICIES FOR WINDFARMS WILL SUFFICE, SAY EXECUTIVE

TIM PAULING

09:00 - 12 February 2005

The Scottish Executive came under renewed pressure to draw up a national policy to control windfarms after the revelation it is taking longer than ever for ministers to approve applications.

Local authorities, some politicians and organisations such as Scottish Natural Heritage and the Macaulay Land Research Institute have been calling for a national framework because of the controversy surrounding the number of applications and their impact on the landscape.

The executive and the windfarm industry insist that current planning guidelines suffice.

There is also opposition to section 36 of the Electricity Act, which allows ministers to have the final say when an application is for a generating capacity of 50MW or over onshore and 1MW and over offshore.

Deputy Enterprise Minister Allan Wilson revealed in a parliamentary answer that the average time to determine an application under section 36 went up from 13 months in 2003 to 17 months last year.

There are currently 31 applications outstanding and only 13 have been determined in the last three years.

Mr Wilson said planning guidelines ensure that decisions are made locally and in the best interests of the environment.

"Planning guidelines set out by the executive are robust and ensure factors such as community opinion, environmental impact and the consequences for wildlife and natural habitats are always taken into consideration," he said.

"This can sometimes take time, but ensures that only environmentally acceptable proposals are approved.

"Local planning authorities are looking at applications in their area."

The question was asked by SNP environment spokesman Richard Lochhead, who accused the executive of being like a "rabbit stuck in the headlights" when it came to the development of wind energy.

"Wind energy has a role to play but there has to be a national strategy to identify the best locations for windfarms, the environmental factors that need to be taken into account and the benefits for local communities that can be expected," he said.

"More importantly, ministers must state the extent of the contribution they envisage making - both onshore and offshore windfarms - towards achieving their renewable-energy targets.

"Developers, communities, and even public agencies, are clamouring for political leadership but, so far, their calls have gone unheeded."

Maf Smith, chief executive of the green-energy forum Scottish Renewables, said current planning guidelines were enough because applications were best made at a local level.

"We want to avoid creating a situation where windfarms are decided by civil servants sticking pins in a map in Glasgow."

It was right that complicated decisions were looked at "vigorously", he said, but there was concern about the number of undecided applications.

"A lack of decision-making doesn't help anyone. It doesn't help developers, good practice, or communities which have applications in their areas."
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http://www.thisisthelakedistrict.co.uk/news/edenlune/display.var.569803.0.windfarm_inquiry_delay_refused.php
 
 

Windfarm inquiry delay refused

By Luke Dicicco

CONTROVERSIAL proposals to build the biggest windfarm in England on fells near Tebay will go to a public inquiry in April after the Department of Trade and Industry refused to adjourn the hearing following a request from a consortium of opposing local authorities.

The much-anticipated inquiry into the Whinash Windfarm will go ahead on April 19 on the proviso that applicants Chalmerston Wind Power Ltd supply extra information on the environmental issues surrounding the 27-turbine development over the next week.

A consortium of opposing local councils - which includes Cumbria County Council, Eden District Council, South Lakeland District Council, the Lake District National Park Authority and Yorkshire Dales National Park - had requested that the inquiry be delayed by a one-month or until the autumn to allow them to sufficient time to scour the highly technical environmental documents.

They complained at the second pre-inquiry meeting held last month that they would have a little over a month to digest and respond to the information before all evidence for the inquiry has to be submitted to planning inspector David Rose by March 18.

But the request was refused by the DTI, who in a letter to Mr Rose said that nothing would be gained from adjourning the inquiry.

The DTI has however agreed to consider a request for an adjournment if the extra information, which has been supplied voluntarily by CWP Ltd, is not submitted in the next week.

The consortium of councils is one of a number of "umbrella" groups fighting the 55 million project that will see 27 turbines taller than each standing taller than St Pauls Cathedral erected on land between the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales national parks and alongside the M6 and the West Coast Mainline.

Other objectors - including local residents, Friends of the Lake District and Cumbria Tourist Board - are currently preparing to battle a project they believe will scar the landscape and damage the local economy, and are confident of victory.

But CWP Ltd, who are spending around 500,000 on the inquiry, is also confident that it will be granted permission for a windfarm, which will they say generate enough energy to power tens of thousands of homes and will actually boost the county's 1 billion-a-year tourism industry.

The inquiry will be held at Shap Wells Hotel and is expected to take between four and 16 weeks.

11:34am today

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http://www.thisisscunthorpe.co.uk/displayNode.jsp?nodeId=152576&command=displayContent&sourceNode=152559&contentPK=11815776&moduleName=InternalSearch&keyword=turbine&formname=sidebarsearch

 NOEL SAYS 'NO' TO RISING NUMBER OF WINDFARM PLANS


12:30 - 11 February 2005

Former Tv presenter Noel Edmonds has lent his support to a growing anti-windfarm lobby who say the region could be pointlessly swamped by turbines.

In an interview with the Telegraph, Mr Edmonds said he felt over-developing North Lincolnshire with windfarms would be harmful to the region and would still not guarantee its electricity supply. The former host of Noel's House Party was speaking following the publication of a new report on wind power by environmental group the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), an organisation he was involved with founding.

The group has warned the Government is focusing too heavily on wind power and ignoring other green technologies which hold far more potential.

He is the latest 'big name' to lend his backing to the backlash against windfarms after Prince Charles and Dr David Bellamy said they opposed turbine development.

There are currently applications in place to build 167 wind turbines in North, northern Lincolnshire and the neighbouring East Riding.

Potential sites include Keadby, Eastoft and Crowle, Elsham, Barnetby Top and Goole Fields.

If all of the windfarms proposed for North Lincolnshire were built, the region would generate around 130 megawatts (MWs) of wind power by 2010.

This would be 90MWs above the minimum target set for the region by the Government, which is just 40MWs.

Last August in a national newspaper interview, Prince Charles said he believed windfarms were 'horrendous' and described them as a 'blot on the landscape'.

In May last year, ecologist Dr David Bellamy also said it was a 'planning fiasco' so many applications to build windfarms had been lodged in the region.

Brigg and Goole MP Ian Cawsey said he feared North Lincolnshire could be swamped by turbines and has been campaigning in Parliament to address the issue.

The MP fears under current planning rules all of the planning applications for windfarms would have to be considered individually.

This could mean many could be passed without anyone considering what the impact of building others near-by would be.

Mr Cawsey has since held a series of meetings with energy minister Mike O'Brien and has won a pledge from the minister to look at the overall impact of building so many turbines.

Mr Edmonds, meanwhile, said he believed building such a large number of wind turbines in and around North Lincolnshire would not benefit the area.

He said: "I'm sorry but covering North Lincolnshire with wind turbines is not going to do anything for your region at all.

"It would be a token gesture which would have no effect at all on reducing CO2 emissions or giving you, or the wider UK, a secure power supply."

Mr Edmonds said he had helped form the Renewable Energy Foundation due to personal concerns about the environment and renewable power.

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'BEST WAY FORWARD' FOR PROSPEROUS NORTH LINCS


12:30 - 11 February 2005

Windfarms are 'good for the environment' and are one of the 'best ways forward' for creating a green and prosperous North Lincs according to the Government.

Energy minister Mike O'Brien said windfarms had a role to play in making sure the region had access to cheap and renewable power. A group of seven trade associations, including the British Wind Energy Association, also said wind power was a vital part of the region's future. Wind turbines across the UK already generate enough power to supply every Scunthorpe home 20 times over according to the Government, which said the technology was the best short-term solution to excessive CO2 emissions from power stations.

It is to invest around 42-million in renewable energy over the next three years and said it wanted to see a wide range of renewable technologies come into use.

Mr O'Brien said he felt it was unrealistic to say windfarms could not provide enough power for the country. He said: "The wide distribution of windfarms throughout the UK ensures when the wind stops turning turbines in one direction, it will almost certainly turn them in others. Any shortfall is almost completely covered by back-up generation already in place to cover shut-downs of non-renewable power stations."

The energy minister said he was aware of the number of applications to build turbines in this area but said they would be considered fairly under the planning system. Adding the Government was committed to developing renewable power, Mr O' Brien said: "Just this month I announced a 42-million fund to bring forward the first wave and tidal farms, which could be contributing power to the grid within three years."

A group of seven trade associations, including the National Energy Foundation and the British Wind Energy Association, said wind turbines did work.

In a letter shown to the Telegraph, they said: "We strongly refute the Renewable Energy Foundation's (REF's) belief wind power is ineffective in the fight against climate change.

"We believe renewables must lie at the heart of a sustainable, secure energy policy for Britain and wind, both on and off shore, must be central to delivering that transformation."

The group said it was only right wind power was exploited first.

"REF's aversion to wind makes no environmental economic or business sense and should be seen for what it is, a distraction from fighting climate change," it added.

 

 

 

 
 http://icnorthwales.icnetwork.co.uk/news/regionalnews/tm_objectid=15180535%26method=full%26siteid=50142-name_page.html

 Turbines not the answer
Feb 11 2005
by Paul Cook, Chester Chronicle Newspapers

 
NORTH Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood says wind turbines are not helping to reduce greenhouse gases.

'Wind turbines are part of the problem, not the solution - based on a policy of hot air, not clean air,' he said.

Speaking during the debate on climate change, Isherwood highlighted a damning independent report for the German Government which has now been shelved.

It warned that windfarm programmes will greatly increase energy costs and that greenhouse gases can be easily reduced by alternative methods. Germany already has more than 15,000 turbines and the report warns that if it presses ahead with its plan to double that number, annual energy costs for consumers will rise nearly four-fold to 3.7billion.

Mr Isherwood, who was challenged on his figures by the Environment Minister and by the Plaid Cymru spokesperson, said: 'This was a report commissioned by the German Government and produced by three agencies.

'I was disappointed that the Minister was not interested in research carried out elsewhere so that he could learn from mistakes made in other countries who have gone down the route of Wind Power.'

 
 
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MISLED - ONCE AGAIN
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14:00 - 10 February 2005
It seems that Mike German's Welsh Liberal Democrats have again allowed themselves to be misled (or bamboozled) by their environmental advisers. In their latest letter to David Bellamy (Have Your Say, January 25) Kirsty Williams, AM for Brecon and Radnorshire, claims that wind power can be used to supply existing and future energy storage facilities, and then goes on to list the virtues of such storage facilities without, it seems, an understanding of their objectives and their capabilities.

Endeavouring to store energy, whether by creating a head of water (by pumping water uphill and then releasing when necessary) or by one of the various chemical reaction schemes - is an extremely inefficient way of converting electrical energy and then reconverting again.

But because they have a short duty cycle and very long recovery cycle they should be considered as one shot emergency back-up in case of a catastrophic system breakdown or an equally catastrophic human error.

The Lib Dems should also realise that there is no shortage of electrical power to charge such storage systems - after all 60, per cent of the electrical power we convert energy to produce, each day, is never actually used. It is often referred to as off-peak power, it is the power we don't use when we decide not to switch on our kettle.

So suggesting that we erect wind turbines to create even more off-peak power is again using wind to duplicate power we have already burned fossil fuel to produce.

Brian Christley

Bryn Gwyn

Abergele, Conwy
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http://www.northern-times.co.uk/article.tvt?_ticket=9NTHLXD4YGSGX4SHJNNADY7BZKLAFUUGUWRHJQNDDVWK9LLDNBATTRRIVQMAAQ48X7KACK5FURYFHONHFMTEGNKACN4FURXOHONGDMTEDW32RRA7BFMT&_scope=Flow/Northern%20Times/News&id=26121&ARTICLECAT=News <http://www.northern-times.co.uk/article.tvt?_ticket=9NTHLXD4YGSGX4SHJNNADY7BZKLAFUUGUWRHJQNDDVWK9LLDNBATTRRIVQMAAQ48X7KACK5FURYFHONHFMTEGNKACN4FURXOHONGDMTEDW32RRA7BFMT&amp;_scope=Flow/Northern%20Times/News&amp;id=26121&amp;ARTICLECAT=News>
 
 

Wind farm plans scrapped   

Plans to build a wind farm in the Cape Wrath area have been scrapped because of the likely impact it would have on birdlife and the cost of connecting it to the national grid.

Power company AMEC Wind Farm Energy has been looking at sites around Cape Wrath near Durness since early last year and recently received the results of a feasibility study.

The firm, which has its corporate headquarters in London, was understood to be concentrating on 27,260 acres of land owned by the Scottish Executive and grazed by Keoldale Sheep Stock Club.

Club secretary Martin Mackay, Durness, last week informed the 40 or so shareholders by letter that AMEC did not now feel they could go ahead with a wind farm development.

He stated that the company had been put off by the prohibitive 65 million cost of an underwater link needed to connect the wind farm to the national grid further along the north coast at Dounreay.

They were also concerned that the proposed site would be severely constrained by the presence of protected bird species, particularly eagles.

Mr Mackay wrote:

"AMEC are in no doubt that a wind farm development, especially a community-based project such as at Durness, would succeed. However, they do not believe that such a project would be large enough to support the large grid cost."

Mr Mackay said the Keoldale Sheep Stock Club management committee now intended to ask local councillor and Sutherland County Committee chairman Francis Keith, Durness, and constituency MP John Thurso if pressure could be put on the Government to make a financial contribution towards the cost of a grid connection.

Councillor Keith told The Northern Times this week that he felt the grid link-up from any potential wind farm in the Cape Wrath area could possibly be substantially cheaper than the price quoted.

"Scottish and Southern Energy are shortly to declare which route they are going to take to connect wind farm developments in Lewis to the national grid on the mainland. Their preferred route is for a subsea connection cable to come ashore at Ullapool.

"However, the Highland Council has recommended that the subsea cable should be taken ashore at Dounreay and then follow the line of pylons down from there, which would be the most environmentally friendly option. If that were the case, then AMEC could take a spur off at Cape Wrath and, instead of paying 65 million for a connection, it would probably cost less than 1 million."

Councillor Keith said he found it very strange that this option had apparently not been discussed by the two companies involved, even though AMEC was working in conjunction with Scottish and Southern Energy on projects in the Western Isles.

"It looks to me like they are up to their ears in difficulties over wind farm developments in other places and just do not want any more hassle, " he said.

Secretary of Durness Development Group, Ronnie Lansley, said the collapse of the wind farm project was disappointing.

"It is certainly disappointing for Keoldale Sheep Stock Club because they stood to make a fair bit of money out of it. There was also an opportunity for the community to negotiate a bit of income from it to pump-prime other things, so on that level there is also some disappointment locally, " he said.

11/02/2005

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http://news.independent.co.uk/business/news/story.jsp?story=609927

 

Exchequer 'netting a 1bn windfall from green energy'
By Michael Harrison, Business Editor
11 February 2005

Consumers are being overcharged for green energy such as wind power by as much as 1bn - money which is going into the Exchequer's coffers, Parliament's spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, discloses today.

The NAO says that this back-door tax arises from the way that the Government is administering the renewables obligation, the scheme which requires electricity suppliers to buy a set amount of green energy, which is more expensive than other forms of generation such as gas and coal. The extra costs are then passed on in the form of higher domestic bills.

Some sites, such as onshore wind farms and landfill gas plants, are receiving more financial support than is needed to make them commercially viable, the NAO says.

The surplus payments, which the NAO estimates will reach between 550m and 1bn by 2010, are being held in a fund administered by the energy regulator Ofgem, the bulk of which is likely to be paid into the Government's consolidated fund. Sir John Bourn, the head of the NAO, calls in the report on the Department of Trade and Industry and the Treasury to explain to Parliament how the surplus has arisen and how it will be treated.

The NAO says that the Government's planned review this year of the renewables obligation would be a good opportunity to assess the cost-effectiveness of the scheme. However, the DTI has already decided that the review will not cover the price of renewable certificates or annual obligations on suppliers.

The NAO's own consultants estimated that, at present levels of funding, the amounts being generated through the renewables obligation would be one-third more than is needed to make green energy economic over the next 20 years.

The report says that the Government's target of generating 10 per cent of all electricity from renewable sources by 2010 will cost taxpayers and consumers an extra 1bn a year by the end of the decade, adding about 5 per cent to bills. The UK is on track to hit the target but only if wholesale electricity prices remain at or around their current high levels, it adds.
 

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WINDFARM OPERATORS PROFIT FROM SUBSIDIES

11:00 - 11 February 2005
Lavish subsidies for renewable energy are generating massive excess profits for windfarm operators, the Parliamentary spending watchdog said last night.

In a report on the Government's renewable energy policy, the National Audit Office said public subsidies for onshore windfarms were at least twice the level needed - meaning that windfarm operators are on course to reap excess profits running into hundreds of millions of pounds over the next few years.

The NAO, which oversees Government spending on behalf of Parliament, made no comment on the rights and wrongs of wind power.

But it did raise concerns about the level of public subsidy being poured in to encourage what critics have dubbed the Government's "dash for wind".

The report found that the typical subsidy of 30 per megawatt hour was at least twice the level needed for windfarm operators to make a profit. With renewable energy subsidies on course to top 1 billion a year before the end of the decade, owners of cheap onshore windfarms are set to enjoy substantial profits. The scale of the subsidy will force up average electricity bills by at least 5.7 per cent, although this figure is likely to be higher once the costs of connecting hundreds of new windfarms to the National Grid has been factored in.

At the same time, the NAO found that public support for other forms of renewable energy, such as tidal power, was not enough to allow them to break even.

The report's findings led to renewed calls last night for the Government to reduce the level of subsidy to windfarms.

Campbell Dunford, chief executive of the Renewable Energy Foundation, said there was now clear evidence that the Government's policy was encouraging the development of "randomly intermittent" generation like wind at the expense of more stable and reliable power sources like tidal energy and biofuels.

In its pre-election manifesto, the foundation called for the introduction of a "banded" level of support for renewable energy, with onshore wind receiving far less than at present. Mr Dunford said: "There is a huge amount of money to be made out of onshore wind despite the fact that there is no real worthwhile power to come out of it. At the same time, the things we should be doing are getting virtually no support whatsoever."

The NAO also questioned the overall cost of reducing carbon emissions through energy policy. Ministers have set a target of meeting 10 per cent of the nation's energy needs from renewable sources by 2010 - mostly through onshore windfarms.

The report noted that the Government's policy cost an estimated 70 to 140 per tonne of carbon dioxide saved. The NAO said this was "high" compared to the value to society of reducing carbon emissions, which is estimated as being in the 10 to 40 per tonne range.

The Department of Trade and Industry last night defended the policy. A spokesman said: "Energy efficiency alone will not be enough to meet UK emission targets in the timescale required. Renewable energy may be more expensive, but its development is essential."

He said the DTI was reviewing the Renewables Obligation, which requires electricity firms to buy costly renewable energy, to see if there was scope for reducing subsidies in some areas.

But he added that it was essential that "investor confidence" was maintained. The British Wind Energy Association said that "stable" Government policy was "key to ensuring the momentum built up over the past few years".

It said that other forms of renewable energy would almost certainly require short-term additional support if they were to become commercial.
 

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;sessionid=GTOXXD4LICFQPQFIQMFSNAGAVCBQ0JVC?xml=/news/2005/02/11/nwind11.xml&sSheet=/news/2005/02/11/ixhome.html <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;sessionid=GTOXXD4LICFQPQFIQMFSNAGAVCBQ0JVC?xml=/news/2005/02/11/nwind11.xml&amp;sSheet=/news/2005/02/11/ixhome.html>

 

Wind farms 'pushing up price of electricity'
By Brendan Carlin, Political Correspondent
(Filed: 11/02/2005)

Many wind farm operators are getting huge profits as part of a Government environmental policy that is also pushing up electricity prices, financial watchdogs say today.

A report from the National Audit Office suggests that most onshore wind farms could operate on half the level of available subsidies.

The NAO, Parliament's financial watchdog, also says that the overall cost of renewable energy, such as wind farms and tidal barrages, could add more than a 1 billion a year to electricity prices by the end of the decade. That amounts to an additional rise in bills of 5.7 per cent.

The report is likely to increase concerns over the growth of onshore wind farms, especially in areas of natural beauty. But the NAO conclusions also cast doubts on the cost of the Government's policy of reducing harmful emissions through encouraging electricity producers to use more and more renewable energy.

The cost per ton of carbon dioxide saved can be more than double the financial benefit to society, the report says. The Government has a target of 10 per cent of electricity being generated by renewable sources by 2010, a target which the NAO says it is on course to reach.

But the watchdog's Renewable Energy report says that reaching the target will involve significant extra costs for consumers and taxpayers.

30 January 2005: Britain's finest piece of wet moorland is under threat from a Government scheme <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;sessionid=CGTVYKEMO3OFXQFIQMFSNAGAVCBQ0JVC?xml=/news/2005/01/30/nwind30.xml>
30 January 2005: Germany shelves report on high cost of wind farm-produced energy <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;sessionid=CGTVYKEMO3OFXQFIQMFSNAGAVCBQ0JVC?xml=/news/2005/01/30/nwind130.xml>

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4256011.stm

 
Green energy to 'cost consumers'

Wind passes over blades of a wind turbine and rotates a hub to create wind power
Consumers face a 5% rise in electricity bills by the end of the decade to help meet government targets on renewable energy, an official report says.

The National Audit Office (NAO) report says that renewable energy is a relatively expensive way for Britain to cut emissions of greenhouse gases.

The government hopes to generate 10% of the country's energy by renewable sources within five years.

The NAO says this target is achievable but at a cost of more than 1bn a year.

The Kyoto Protocol on global warming comes into force on 16 February.

It is backed by 141 nations - though not the US, the world's top polluter - and commits industrial nations to slash emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide to 5.2% below 1990 levels by 2012.

'On track'

The NAO report found that the UK government was on track to hit its goal of 10% of electricity from renewable sources by 2010.

But BBC environment correspondent Richard Black said its progress on renewable energy was "lagging" and some previous reports had suggested the government would not meet its target.

Renewable energy may be more expensive but its development is essential
Department of Trade and Industry
The NAO report's author, Nick Sloan, acknowledged these concerns, telling BBC Radio 4 the many plans needed to be co-ordinated "into a critical path".

During the 2003/4 financial year, the amount of electricity generated from inexhaustible natural resources was 2.4%, just over half the target of 4.3%.

The government hopes to double the amount of electricity from renewables to 20% of the UK's needs by 2020, cutting carbon dioxide emissions by between 20 million and 27 million tonnes.

The policy's centrepiece is a commitment to stimulate green energy by making sure those who produce it receive more than the market rate for electricity - known as the Renewables Obligation.

In addition, the government is providing capital grants to offshore windfarms, and to power stations that generate electricity from biomass and energy crops.

'Profit matters'

Altogether it intends to spend 5.5bn by 2010, or 3m a day, on creating enough generating capacity to supply seven cities the size of Liverpool.


Climate change is bringing problems such as more frequent floods
To achieve this, the government must pay close attention to profit margins in renewable energy and "make sure investors are willing to put their money in", said Robin Smale of the Oxera economic consultancy. It has advised the NAO on implementation costs.

He said profit margins varied widely, from a healthy 20% in onshore wind farms in Scotland, to 12% for offshore windfarms - a level investors might consider "quite marginal" - and below for technologies like energy crops.

The Renewable Power Association has said the government is not doing enough to promote investment, the BBC's Richard Black reported.

More efficiency?

The NAO report also claimed there are cheaper ways to reduce production of greenhouse gases, such as promoting energy efficiency, but stops short of recommending a wholesale policy change.

The government argues a range of measures including renewables will be needed.

Carbon dioxide levels have not fallen since Labour came to power
Neil Crumpton
Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Earth's climate campaigner Neil Crumpton said the group was "encouraged" the UK appeared on course to hit its target, but that the government was still not doing enough to combat climate change.

"Carbon dioxide levels have not fallen since Labour came to power, and unless it takes tough and urgent action on transport, coal-fired power stations and energy efficiency it will not meet its promise of cutting emissions by 20% by 2010."

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http://www.thisisthenortheast.co.uk/the_north_east/news/NEWS23.html

 
Study to begin on renewable energy
A study is to start next week into the prospects of turning a former colliery village into one of the greenest communities in the region.

The study will determine how much energy in the village of Edmondsley, near Chester-le-Street, County Durham, can be provided through renewable sources.

Chester-le-Street District Council has received a 10,000 grant from the Government's Energy Saving Trust Innovation Programme to pay for the study.

All the village's residents are to be questioned about home insulation and the option of renewable energy use.

The study will then debate the use of alternative energy sources, such as solar panels, small-scale wind power, straw and wood burning, and heat pumps.

The possibility is also being considered of using waste from the village to produce gas as a source of renewable energy.

The project is being linked with other environmental issues such as sewage treatment and local nature reserve areas such as Waldridge Fell.

Councillor Alan Holden, the district's member for the environment, said: "The feasibility study in Edmondsley is an excellent opportunity for the local community to potentially develop an energy and money-saving scheme that will benefit them, while improving the local environment at the same time.

"If there is wide-ranging support for the scheme, then I would be delighted. So, within the next week or so, householders in Edmondsley can expect a council representative to contact them on the proposed scheme."

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http://www.industrywatch.com/pages/iw/customer/Story.nsp?story_id=64926375&ID=iw&scategory=Energy%3AAlternative <http://www.industrywatch.com/pages/iw/customer/Story.nsp?story_id=64926375&amp;ID=iw&amp;scategory=Energy%3AAlternative> &

 Ill Wind Blows for Turbines
Source: South Wales Echo
Publication date: 2005-02-10
Arrival time: 2005-02-11


Families living near a site above Merthyr Tydfil being earmarked for a wind farm say they will not budge in their opposition to nine 100-metre tall wind turbines in their town.

More than 150 residents turned up at a meeting in Dowlais Community Centre, attended by potential developer Bheara, local councillors and representatives of the Merthyr Tydfil Borough Council Planning Department.

Although Bheara produced revised plans which would see three of the turbines moved back, for people living nearby the answer is still no.

Nicola Davies, spokeswoman for Pant Residents Association, said: 'The turbines will have a massive impact what with the noise, the pollution and the destruction of the landscape of Merthyr Tydfil.'

Residents now await the outcome of a formal council meeting in May.

Publication date: 2005-02-10