The politicians plans for Wales
October 2009: Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC)
More than 50 of Britain’s
biggest energy projects, including wind farms, power stations, gas storage sites
and high-voltage transmission lines, could be fast-tracked through the planning
system under powers handed to the Government today. In the biggest shake-up to
Britain’s planning regime in 60 years, the IPC formally came into existence
this month. Its goal will be to slash the time needed to secure planning consent
for projects considered to be of national importance from as long as seven years
to less than a year.
Seven proposed wind farms in Wales, including RWE's 85-megawatt project at Clocaenog Forest and others at Nant-y-Moch, Coed Morgannwg, Carno and Brechfa Forest, are also likely to fall under the brief of the IPC.
See C-Questor Carbon Markets and Climate Change News Letter By Graham Crawford
On the 15th of July 2009 the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the Rt Hon.Mr Ed Miliband MP, published The UK Renewable Energy Strategy (see http://www.decc.gov.uk). The strategy is designed to meet the EU Renewable Energy Directive which specifies that that the UK should supply 15% of its Final Energy Consumption (FEC) from renewables by 2020.
In a recent report the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) concludes thatthe Government’s Renewable Energy Strategy is extremely and heroically optimistic about the scale of the targets, and so almost certainly underestimates the risks, the difficulties and the costs facing the UK. Click here to download the report in pdf format.
The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) has warned that Wales will miss its self-imposed wind energy targets of having 800MW installed capacity by 2010 because councils are not giving planning permission quickly enough. Click here to read more of their report.
June 2009: A pipe dream of "Six off-shore turbines a day until 2020"
Christopher Booker, writing in the Sunday Telegraph, takes a closer look at Lord Hunt’s claims that by 2020 thousands of offshore wind turbines could provide ‘more that a quarter of UK’s electricity needs’.
To read the full article, which appeared in the Sunday Telegraph on June 28, 2009, follow this link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/5664119/A-pipedream-of-six-turbines-a-day-until-2020.html
Tax rise angers energy
From The Sunday
Times, May 17,2009.
The wind industry has accused the government of “sabotage” over a proposed fourfold tax increase that could lead to the scrapping of up to half Britain’s 150 onshore projects. The hike has infuriated energy groups, which are warning of a wholesale retreat from the struggling sector just weeks after the government unveiled a package of aid measures designed to support it.
In a letter seen by The Sunday Times, Eon accused the government of “giving with one hand and taking with the other”. Infinis, the renewable-energy group owned by Guy Hands’s Terra Firma, said the changes would “amount to between 40% and 50% of [its] portfolio not proceeding past the consent stage”.
Every five years the Treasury’s Valuation Office Agency (VOA) resets business rates. Its latest proposal would raise rates from next April from £5,000 per megawatt to £20,000 per megawatt. Business rates make up about 5% of an onshore wind farm’s running costs, which under the proposal would increase to about 20%, rendering many of the 150 projects planned in Britain unviable. Offshore farms are exempt.
The dramatic difference in rates is due to the inclusion by the VOA of the per-megawatt subsidies that the government has introduced to encourage investment. A spokesman for the BWEA, the industry lobby group, said: “We won’t be able to deliver on the government’s targets if schemes are no longer profitable.”
April 2009: Peter Lilley
seeks answers on cost of Climate Change Act.
Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, has challenged the government to provide an opportunity for full public scrutiny of the costs and benefits of the Climate Change Act. He said: “Revised figures which showed a massive increase in the projected costs of the measure were sneaked out recently without any publicity whatsoever.
“I have written to the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Ed Miliband, asking him to explain the truly remarkable increase in costs and to justify the thinking behind the astonishing change in expected benefits. I have yet to receive a reply.
“By the government’s own figures, this measure could cost every household in the country between £16,000 and £20,000. That’s a lot of money and everyone should expect clarity and openness about why it’s being spent.
“So far, the government seems unwilling or unable to debate this very important matter.”
Click here to read a copy of Peter Lilley’s letter to Ed Miliband.
March 2009: Wind farms seek state aid to keep moving
The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA), the lobbying body for the wind industry, is planning to ask the government for additional financial aid for wind farm developers. The cost of importing turbines has risen as a result of the lower value of the British pound, so the wind industry wants the government to help it through these difficult times!
November 2008: Forestry Commission land opened up for wind farm development
The Forestry Commission have recently announced their preferred developer in each Strategic Search Area (SSA):
TAN 8 SSA
|B||Carno North||290||Scottish Power|
|C||Newtown South||70||No bids, no plans|
June 2008: AN OPEN LETTER TO RHODRI MORGAN
open letter to Rhodri Morgan, First Minister of the Welsh Assembly, from Gwlad
here to download the letter
sent by the Gwlad
May 2008: WIND FARM MYTHS
In May 2008, Friends of the Earth Cymru launched
'Wind Power: 20 Myths Blown Away' in which they claimed that opposition to
wind farms is based on myths. The information in this article seems to be
derived from the British Wind Energy Association, the trade association that
promotes the interests of wind farmer developers – hardly an unbiased
The ‘myths’ paper has won the backing of the
Welsh Assembly Environment Minister, Jane Davidson, who has described wind power as the most advanced and cost-effective renewable technology.
However, not everyone agrees.
The Friends of Eden, Lakeland and Lunesdale Scenery (FELLS), in association
with Country Guardian, have presented an independent analysis of the facts,
in which they show the British Wind Energy Association have been selective in their
presentation of the information.
here to download FELL’s response to the
British Wind Energy Association, in pdf format.
October 25, 2007: First Minister Rhodri Morgan - Forestry Commission land opened up for wind farm development
Minister Rhodri Morgan has announced that land managed by Forestry Commission
Wales is now open for the construction of wind farms.
is nothing new in this statement. For some time now developers have been
assessing the potential for wind farm development on Forestry land. But with
this announcement on 25 October at the Wales Forum on Europe sustainable energy event in
First Minister said, ‘We want to encourage wind energy and it was only right
that we assessed the possibilities of having wind farms on suitable areas of
Assembly Government-owned Forestry Commission land.’
Commission Wales is responsible for forestry policy and looks after the 110,000
hectares (272,000 acres) of public forests owned by the Welsh Assembly.
Coincidentally, many of the Strategic Search Areas that the Assembly has
earmarked for wind farm development include Forestry Commission land.
Wind Farm Development in the Brechfa Forest Area
In June 2006, the Planning department of the Carmarthenshire County Council released a draft discussion paper intended as "supplementary planning guidance on renewable energy developments" in the county.
The final draft supplementary planning guidance, together with background documents, has now been posted on the Carmarthenshire County Council website: http://www.carmarthenshire.gov.uk/index.asp?locID=1277&docID=-1
There are few changes from the original document. The underlying assumptions remain the same: wind farms are an effective strategy in fighting global warming and the
Brechfais a suitable site for this type of industrial development. The County Council planning department has still not replied to the questions we asked in our response to the original draft document (see below). Forest
It appears that the planning department considers any discussion or debate on the wisdom or the effectiveness of such a strategy is beyond their remit.
In summary, the purpose of this document is to adopt new planning guidelines that will facilitate the development of wind farms in the Brechfa
Forestarea. The area for wind turbine development is extended, in this document, outside the TAN 8 Strategic Search Area G (shown by the solid red line below). The extended area, as defined by the document and shown below by the dotted red line, covers 135 square miles, extending south almost to the A40, west of the A485 to Llandysul, north to the A482, and east to the B4802, near Talley. Obviously, wind farm development in this area will have an affect on all of us in Carmarthenshire. Wind turbines will be visible for many miles and bring dramatic changes to the local landscape.
The MLAG Working Group prepared a response to this document which was sent to the planning department on November 6, 2006. Click here to see the document.
A covering letter was also sent to all the Carmarthenshire County Councillors warning them of the new planning guidelines and their consequences. Click here to see the cover letter.
Inquiry into Energy in Wales by the Welsh Affairs Committee of Parliament
In October 2005, the Welsh Affairs Committee of the House of Commons announced its terms of reference for an inquiry into Energy in Wales. Click here to read the press release.
The MLAG sent a submission to the committee. Click here to read the cover letter and here to read the submission document.
In July 2006, the final report was published by the Welsh Affairs Committee:
House of Commons, Welsh Affairs Committee. "Energy in Wales", Third report of Session 2005-06. Volume 1: Report, together with formal minutes, and Volume 2: Oral and written evidence (available from The Stationary Office, London, www.tsoshop.co.uk ).
The report gives several references to the MLAG submission, and is critical of many aspects of the government's policy on wind turbines. It has also called into question the democratic validity of the TAN8 policy guideline:
When these two procedures [TAN8 and the Electricity Act] are combined, they leave little – if any – opportunity for local residents in
to mount a defence against applications for large wind farms in their locality. Not only is this deeply frustrating, it also undermines the democratic accountability that underpins decision-making in this policy area. We recommend that the Government review this position as a matter of urgency in order to give fair access to the decision- making process for individuals affected by large-scale wind farms in Wales Wales(page 47).
The report has this to say about the public’s right to a satisfactory explanation on the merits of wind energy:
With the significant expansion of wind farms in
Wales, the Welsh public is entitled to be given an objective assessment of its contribution to electricity supply in Wales(page 55).
… It is unfair to dismiss all opposition to wind energy as nimbyism, without understanding the valid concerns that Wales is being overly populated by wind farms for what those opponents perceive as marginal benefit, set against the possible threat to leisure and tourist industries (page 59).
- The Technical Advice Note 8: Renewable Energy, or TAN8, consultation process
In July 2004, the Welsh Assembly published a draft consultation document outlining its plans for renewable energy initiatives for Wales. The document, known as: Technical Advice Note 8: Renewable Energy, or TAN8, is intended to serve as a guideline for local planning officers when dealing with planning applications for renewable energy projects. Although TAN8 is in theory concerned with all forms of renewable energy initiatives, in reality it deals almost exclusively with wind energy. As a land-use document, TAN8 is concerned with on-shore, rather than off-shore, wind farms.
To read more about TAN8, the consultation process, and the response from MLAG - click here.
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