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UN-climate-changeRenewableUK says comments by Prince Charles to be aired at tomorrow’s UN Climate Summit in New York, following massive turnouts at this weekend’s People’s Climate Marches in cities around the world, demonstrate comprehensive global support for renewable energy.

In a video to be shown at the UN summit on Tuesday, Prince Charles will call for a “vast scaling up” of renewable energy because “the battle against climate change is surely the most defining and pivotal challenge of our times”.

Tellingly, the Prince of Wales will warn specifically that “we cannot meet the climate change challenge unless business and government actively work together. More and more businesses are supporting the transformative goal of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions well before the end of the century. Taking action on climate change is neither inherently bad for business nor against economic interests – in fact it is the only rational choice”.

About 40,000 people took part in the People’s Climate March in London, including many holding placards calling for “100% clean energy”. Clean electricity generated by onshore and offshore wind in the UK currently offsets more than eleven and a half million tonnes of carbon emissions every year. In New York, turnout for the march exceeded 300,000.

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive, Maria McCaffery, said “People power is creating an unstoppable momentum for us to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to renewables.  The massive level of support at the People’s Climate Marches proves this.

“Politicians in Westminster would do well to take notice with just eight months to go before the next General Election. Anti-renewable energy policies are way out of step with public opinion.

“This is a message which has royal endorsement too. Prince Charles’s comments to the UN Climate Summit amount to a trenchant riposte to those who are still trying to spin yarns about the cost of supporting clean energy, as the business case for renewables is proven.  

“Prince Charles gets it. The people get it. When will all of our elected representatives at Westminster start to get it too?”

“Wind is making a substantial contribution to the UK’s energy mix, providing more than half of our renewable generation, leading to a corresponding drop in the use of coal and gas. The UK’s carbon dioxide emissions fell between 2012 and 2013 – and the key factor driving the change was the switch away from fossil fuels”.

Notes-

  1. RenewableUK is the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries. Formed in 1978, and with more than 575 corporate members, RenewableUK is the leading renewable energy trade association in the UK.
  2. Details on the UN Climate Summit 2014 can be found here: http://www.un.org/climatechange/summit/
  3. Generation statistics from the annual Digest of UK Energy Statistics published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change:  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/342760/Press_Notice_2014_v2.pdf

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wind3Good news – Infinergy’s 7-turbine New Albion Wind Farm between Kettering and Corby will now be taken forward by infrastructure investor John Laing, who will construct and operate the wind farm as 100% owners, taking over all responsibilities and commitments associated with the project. Finance for the project is currently being arranged and financial close is expected to be achieved later this year. Apart from that, selection of the turbine model to be used for the site is in full swing. Infinergy will stay involved in order to arrange for the discharge of all planning conditions and other requirements. Until a full handover with John Laing has taken place, Infinergy will remain the first point of contact for any third parties. We are delighted that this important project is finally going ahead and are looking forward to see the project fully operational by spring 2016.

offshore-turbinesThe offshore wind capacity in the UK could hit 11GW by the end of the decade, according to a new report.

That’s an increase from around 0.3GW in 2006 and 3.7GW in 2013, analysts at GlobalData said. Investment is also expected to jump from $3.3 billion (£2bn) last year to $7.53 billion (£4.6bn) by the end of the decade.

The rise is supported by the nation’s “aggressive” renewable targets, policy backing and a shift towards a greener climate, the report added.

Swati Singh, GlobalData’s Analyst covering Power said: “The UK’s growing concerns over climate change and the security of its energy system will provide sufficient impetus for the country’s offshore wind industry to continue its growth trajectory.”

The UK Government has set a target of generating 15% of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Siemens is said to dominate the global offshore wind turbine market, accounting for more than 56% of the world’s installed capacity last year.

Source – Energy Live News

arguments againstRenewableUK says new data shows that August was an exceptional month for wind energy, with new records set and generation levels exceeding both nuclear and coal, according to official National Grid statistics.

On five separate occasions, wind overtook coal-fired plants for generation over a single day, the first time this has ever happened. Wind exceeded coal on the 3rd, 9th, 11th, 12th and 17th August. This strong performance continued towards the end of the month when onshore and offshore wind generated more than the nuclear fleet on the 29th August (5,805MW from wind compared to 5,379MW for nuclear).

On 11th August, wind also set a new daily record when it provided 21% of the UK’s electricity needs. This was exceeded on 17th August when wind broke its own record, setting a new figure of 22%. Before August, the daily record stood at 20% set on 20th December 2013.

This is also the best-performing August to date with total wind generation at 10%, which is close behind the 13% record set during December 2013.

RenewableUK’s Director of External Affairs, Jennifer Webber said: “Wind energy is taking its place as the UK’s new powerhouse, overtaking coal and nuclear as one of the most important resources we have to keep Britain’s lights on. It continues to surpass its own records, and these figures prove that can happen at any time of year. As we approach autumn and winter, we can expect wind to maintain this strong August’s performance and provide electricity when demand is especially high”.

Notes:

  1. RenewableUK is the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries. Formed in 1978, and with more than 560 corporate members, RenewableUK is the leading renewable energy trade association in the UK.
  2. In August, wind generated an average of 3,108MW compared with 5,426MW for coal, 6,534MW for nuclear and 11,443MW for CCGT.
  3. National Grid statistics provided by independent data analysts EnAppSys http://www.enappsys.com/ This includes National Grid estimates for embedded wind (turbines feeding into local networks)
  4. Prior to August, there were four days when wind had generated more than nuclear, including embedded generation. These were on 8th February 2014, 15th March 2014, 19th March 2014 and 20th March 2014.

wind v nuke 29thAug14

Wind Turbine TopHighest Amount of Green Electricity Ever Generated By Wind – More Than 6 Gigawatts

National Grid has confirmed that a record-breaking amount of clean electricity was generated by wind power in the UK today – achieving more than 6 gigawatts (over 6,000 megawatts) for the first time.

From 2.30 till 3pm, wind power produced an average of 6,004 megawatts (MW), which accounted for 13.5% of the UK’s total electricity demand at that time – enough to power more than 3,410,000 British homes. National Grid measures electricity generation in half-hour periods.

The previous record, set on 15th September this year, was 5,739MW. That particular record for a half-hour period was shattered several times today (see Notes below), with wind regularly generating more than 13% of the UK’s total electricity demand, demonstrating a high consistency of supply.

RenewableUK’s Director of External Affairs, Jennifer Webber said: “Wind energy is consistently setting new records and providing an ever-increasing amount of clean electricity for British homes and businesses. We’re generating from a home-grown source which gives us a secure supply of power at cost we can control, rather than leaving ourselves exposed to the global fluctuation in fossil fuel prices which have driven bills up. Wind gives us a way to make a smooth transition from old-fashioned fuels to a new low-carbon economy.
We’re also generating tens of thousands of green-collar jobs for people now working in the fast-growing British wind energy industry”.

Source – RenewableUK, the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries. Formed in 1978, and with nearly 600 corporate members, RenewableUK is the leading renewable energy trade association in the UK. http://www.renewableuk.com/

DSCF1195_editedThe judge decided that a council’s attempt to impose a minimum distance of 1.2km (three quarters of a mile) between wind farms and people’s homes was unlawful, in a test case that could have far-reaching consequences for national planning laws.

Milton Keynes Borough Council in Buckinghamshire tried to prevent the wind energy firm RWE Npower Renewables Ltd from erecting 125 metre high turbines less than 1,217 metres from homes after it put in planning applications for two wind farms in the borough.

The firm took the council to court, arguing that the “emerging policy” of imposing a sliding scale of minimum distances, based on the height of turbines, contradicted its existing local development plan, which recommends a minimum distance of 350m.

The company argued that the new policy would “sterilise” the borough for wind farms because so few sites would comply with it, and feared that the policy would set a national precedent.

Judge John Howells QC agreed with RWE today in a High Court judgement which is likely to be used as a trump card by energy firms whenever councils object to wind farms being built too close to homes.

Acknowledging that “wind turbines generate passionate argument as well as energy”, the judge said there was “no objective justification” for the proximity restrictions, regardless of actual noise or visual impact.

Judge Howells emphasised that it was not his task to consider the benefits, or otherwise, of wind turbines but went on to uphold RWE’s judicial review challenge to the changes the council had sought to introduce via a “supplementary planning document”.

He ruled that the council’s stance was “plainly in conflict” with established local policy and gave rise to a situation where the same proposal would be granted planning consent under the adopted development plan for the area but refused it under the emerging policy.

Other arguments put forward by RWE – including that the council’s stance conflicted with national renewable energy policies – were dismissed by the judge, but Milton Keynes will now nevertheless be forced to make crucial amendments to its policy.

The policy sought to give residents a potentially crucial say in wind farm proposals close to their homes and also laid down minimum distances between turbines and bridleways, public footpaths and high pressure fuel lines.

RWE had earlier argued that the council’s policy shift had effectively left only tiny portions of the Milton Keynes area available for wind farm developments that are needed to meet national and regional renewable energy targets. It expressed concern that, if approved by the court, the emerging policy would be adopted by other local authorities across the country.

The company has two turbine projects in the council’s area in the pipeline – at Nun Wood and Orchard Way – but the council has opposed both on residential amenity grounds.

RWE argued that the emerging policy directly contradicted the local development plan which is “permissive” of wind farms, in line with government policy.

The emerging policy laid down a minimum distance of 1,217metres between a typical 125-metre-high wind turbine and the nearest home, whereas the local development plan recommends a minimum gap of only 350 metres and advises that permission will be granted unless it would cause significant harm to residential areas, wildlife or the landscape.

RWE argued that the emerging policy set rigid minimum distances, calculated according to turbine height, regardless of whether the operation of turbines would in fact cause unacceptable noise or visual impacts on local residents.

Cllr Andrew Geary, Leader of Milton Keynes Borough Council said: “It is rather ironic that the council already had separation distances in place within policy and the supplementary planning document was quashed as a result of this point alone. Had we had no policy we would have won.

“Any authority that doesn’t have a separation distance in policy should sit up and take notice of today’s judgement.

“I have no doubt the action the council has taken is in the best interest of the residents of Milton Keynes and we will be looking at how we move forward.”

The siting of wind farms has become a key source of tension between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats in the Coalition.

The Lib Dems are in favour of more onshore wind farms to meet green energy targets, but Tory ministers including Nick Boles, the planning minister, have argued that residents’ objections should be taken into account. Mr Boles has suggested in the past that a minimum distance of 1.4 miles between turbines and housing – suggested by Lincolnshire County Council – might be appropriate in some areas.

SOURCE – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/greenpolitics/planning/9994739/Judge-gives-energy-firms-the-right-to-build-wind-farms-350-metres-from-homes.html

RWE npower renewables today welcomed the judgement in the High Court regarding its challenge to the Milton Keynes Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) on Wind Turbines.

The judge ruled that the separation distance policy in the SPD breached Regulation 8(3) of the Town and Country Planning Regulations 2012.

Dr Wayne Cranstone, RWE npower renewables onshore development and projects director said:

“We are pleased the Judge has quashed the Milton Keynes SPD and its buffer zone policy.”

“On the matter of buffer zone policies more generally, the Judge concluded that National Guidance “plainly indicates” that local authorities should not have a policy that planning permission for a wind turbine should be refused if a minimum separation distance is not met”

Dr Cranstone continued:

“We have always sought to work in partnership with Milton Keynes Council and we will continue to do so. We welcome the clarity the Court has brought to this matter, and we believe this will help both the wind industry and local authorities in determining appropriate policies for the siting of commercial wind farms”

“We remain committed to investing in renewable and sustainable energy solutions for Milton Keynes and the UK. The investments we’re making bring economic benefits to areas hosting wind farms, create thousands of jobs across the country and assist in reducing the impact of climate change and increasing the security of energy supply.”