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An application to develop a wind farm of 10 x 134 metre turbines at Longburn Farm, Stroanfreggan, Carsphairn (on the B729, approximately 7km east of Carsphairn) has been submitted to Dumfries and Galloway Council. There are concerns that this development will straddle the Southern Uplands Way and affect local archeological sites.

 

Further information can be obtained here and by entering this reference into the search box: 16/P/2/0187

 

PLEASE NOTE: we previously published an incorrect deadline date for the submission of comments. The correct deadline is: UP TO 5PM ON 1ST SEPTEMBER.

 

Email    PlanningRepresentations@dumgal.gov.uk

 

Below is a standard objection letter that you may use if you wish to object – please remember to add your address, date and name. You will need to copy and paste the text and send from your own email account.
 

____________________________________

 

Address

Date
 
Reference: 16/P/2/0187

Longburn wind farm, 10 x 134m turbines and associated infrastructure, 7.2km east of Carsphairn.

 
Dear Mr McTeir,
 
I object to the above planning application on the following grounds:-

 
This proposal will have significant adverse landscape and visual impacts.  Views to and from Cairnsmore of Carsphairn should be protected (reference constraint guidance in the Dumfries and GallowayWind Farm Landscape Capacity Study).

 

There are already 214 turbines operational/consented within a 15km radius of the planned site, with a further 215 awaiting decision. There will be a significant adverse cumulative visual impact in the area with existing/planned wind farms.

 

There will be a significant adverse impact on walkers of the Southern Uplands Way as the path goes directly through the site.  The cumulative effect of Longburn and surrounding wind farms will devalue this locality.

There will be a significant adverse impact on black grouse and hen harriers.  The territory of these species is constantly being fragmented making it difficult for their numbers to increase.  According to information submitted by the developer, there is still potential conflict in relation to flight lines for the two species.

 
I hope you reject this application.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Name

 

The proposals near Carsluith attracted more than 1,200 representations against them and more than 100 in support.

 

Skylark Energy took the proposal to appeal becasue  Dumfries and Galloway Council had failed to deal with the application within the statutory period allowed.

 

The DPEA Reporter found there were no grounds to let the seven-turbine California scheme proceed. he concluded….

I do not consider that the undoubted renewable energy benefits of the proposal are sufficient to outweigh the adverse impacts on landscape, visual receptors and the cultural heritage.

 

Well done to ‘Save Wigtown Bay’ action group who worked long and hard to oppose this inappropriate scheme!

 

Click here to read the BBC's brief report.

 

 

The California proposal, near Creetown and overlooking Wigtown bay, was submited directy to the DPEA for decision becasue the Council was unable to process it withn the statutory time allowed. The appointed Scottish Government Reporter recently held an accompanied site visit where dozens of people turned up!  Well done to Save Wigtown Bay for organising this level of interest.

 

The DPEA website lists a target date of 16th June for a decision – though these dates can be very unreliable. For example there is still no news on Mochrum Fell which was due at the end of March and we remeber that the publication of the Barcloy Hill appeal decision was some 8 months late.

 

The California proposal is of extraordinary interest not only because, as many believe, it is inappropriately sited – but also, because of its proposed position, it would be seen from many miles away – particularly down the length of the Wigtown peninsula.

 

 

Loch Urr 

 

It would appear that the plans for 26 x 127.5m turbines at Loch Urr have been withdrawn by E.ON.

 

TW312 have seen a letter from SP (Scottish Power) Energy Network which states that:-

 

“SP Transmission Plc received notice from National Grid on 18th January 2016 to confirm that E.ON Climate and Renewables UK Developments Limited have decided to terminate the agreement to connect Loch Urr wind farm. As such, I can confirm that progression of this project by SP Transmission Plc will cease immediately. No overhead line or any other form of connection is now proposed to connect Loch Urr wind farm to the grid.”

 

No information has been forthcoming from E.ON and we do not know of any local communities that have been contacted by them, despite informing the National Grid of their plans over 6 weeks ago.

 
California – near Creetown

 

7 x 110m turbines.

 

A Reporter (Trevor Croft) has now been assigned to decide this appeal and the target date for decision is listed as 21stApril 2016.

 

D & G council have released their report on the proposal and have raised objections on landscape and visual impact grounds, as well as effects on local archaeology.  

Here are a few extracts from the report:-

 

“It is asserted that the proposal would fail to respect the special qualities of the area [Galloway Hills RSA], and that the landscape character and scenic interest for which the area has been designated would be significantly adversely affected by the proposal.”

 

“Secondly, it is considered that the proposed development would also give rise to significant detrimental impacts on the local and wider landscape character, scenic interests, and visual amenity
of the Wigtown Bay area and the eastern/central Machars.”

 

“The proposal fails to take account of guidance contained within the DGWLCS. It is not considered that the host landscape is capable of accommodating the development without giving rise to significant detrimental impact to both landscape character and visual amenity. The design and scale of the proposal is not considered appropriate to the scale and character of its setting, and would not respect the main features of the site and the wider environment.”

 

“the proposal would give rise to significant adverse effects on the setting of a range nearby archaeological sites and features, namely the scheduled ancient monuments at Claughreid, stone circle 600m NW of (Reference SM1014), Standing Stone of Bagbie, standing stone (Reference SM1001), Bagbie, cairn & stone setting 1200m NNE of (Reference SM1000), and Billy Diamond’s Bridge, stone circle 300m SSE of Glenquicken (Reference SM1023), Kirkmabreck Church and Burial Ground (Category B Listed Building, Reference LB13142), and the undesignated burnt mound on the Carsluith Burn adjacent to the site.”

 

Richard Arkless, the SNP MSP, has objected to the California appeal and condemned the potential damaging consequences it could have on the local area, especially Wigtown.  Though he has previously supported wind development he called this proposal "a step too far". 

 

This is the title of a recent scientific paper published jointly by the Scientific Alliance and the Adam Smith Institute and authored by Dr. Capell Aris, which offers some calculated insight into the contribution of wind power to the UK's energy requirements. The study analyses wind data collected at half-hourly intervals from 22 sites in the UK over a period of nine years, with further measurements from 21 sites in Northern Europe and Ireland. This allows the hour-by-hour output of a fleet of wind turbines of nominal 10GW capacity to be modelled.

 

The full paper is a demanding read but if you want to check it out in full click here.

 

Fortunately there's a fairly readable initial 'Summary' and an accessible 'Conclusions' section at the end and both the Scientific Alliance and Adam Smith Institute offer précis…..

 

The results are revealing, although not surprising to anyone who has taken time to look at actual outputs over different days. Power output is below 20% of nominal capacity for over 20 weeks of the year, and below 10% for nine weeks. The UK system produces 80% or more of its rated output for just 163 hours a year, or less than a week. Rapid swings in output mean that conventional plant must be left idling and ramped up at a moment’s notice.

For anyone who thinks that new wind turbine arrays will replace old coal and gas stations as they close down, the details of this study will be a rude awakening. New gas plants are being built to provide continuity of supply and, in simple terms, there must be conventional stations available to meet the entire capacity of the wind fleet to cope with calm days, particularly at times of high demand in winter.

Another argument often put forward in favour of wind energy is that the wind is always blowing somewhere, so having many turbines spread out over a wide area will to some extent smooth the output. This turns out not to be true; the ‘guaranteed’ output is only about 2% of the nominal rating, or 200MW instead of 10GW. Installing a wider grid, such as the proposed Europe-wide ‘super grid’ would make little difference.

The only way wind and solar power would be able to make more than a modest contribution to energy supplies and emissions reduction is when affordable energy storage is available on a massive scale, but this is still some way over the horizon.

The Scientific Alliance

The UK wind debate assumes that wind farms operate at roughly their average output most of the time. According to Dr. Capell Aris’ new paper produced in concert with the Scientific Alliance this is not true. Power comes only extremely intermittently and variably and there are long periods of negligible efficiency in the long winter months when power is most needed. A 10GW wind fleet would need approximately 9.5GW of fossil capacity to guarantee its output.

Adam Smith Institute

Of course we could always settle for an energy supply network where there's no electricty for hours, days or even weeks on end.

 

Applications recently submitted
 
 
Loch Urr 

An application has been submitted by E-on to the Scottish Government for an 83MW wind farm between Corsock and Moniaive, with 26 turbines up to 127.5m. 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo – Courtesy of Walter Baxter
 

If you would like more information on the proposal please visit www.savelochurr.com
 
 
Spango
RSPB Scotland spokesman, Chris Rollie, said:

"Spango (Mid Rig) wind farm is a proposal for 14 turbines to be built on an area of moorland 2 and a half miles north of Sanquhar, which will tower 145 m above the ground. The site is part of the Muirkirk and north Lowther Uplands Special Protection Area (SPA) and is internationally important for threatened wildlife, such as Hen Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Merlin, Short-eared Owl and European Golden Plover."

 “We examine individual wind farm proposals very carefully and most pose no serious threat to birds or other wildlife. We are objecting to Spango (Mid Rig) because we believe the potential for harm is unacceptable and any turbines at the site would specifically threaten birds such as Hen Harriers, already under pressure from illegal persecution and habitat [degradation].

“We are extremely concerned about the proposals for this wind farm, as we would be about any threat to this particular site. The wind farm would be located within an area that is truly spectacular for wildlife and an SPA, one of the highest environmental designations in Europe."        
 

Click here for the full article
 
 
Benbrack (still open for objections until 25th January)

 

E-on have also submitted plans for an 18 turbine wind farm (over 50MW) north-east of Carsphairn.  
 

Objections can be emailed to representations@scotland.gsi.gov.uk
 
 
Events
 
Ecotricity are holding two public exhibitions to discuss their proposal for a 7 turbine wind 'park' called California near Carsluith.

 

Carsluith Village Hall
Wednesday 14th Jan 10am – 8pm

 

Wigtown County Buildings, Main hall
Thursday 15th Jan 10am – 8pm
 

Please visit  Save Wigtown Bay for more information (NB There is a button in the top left corner with a drop down menu!)
 

A scoping application has been submitted for 2 x 78m turbines close to the California site, at Mark Farm. 

 
Decisions
 
Culdoach  –  2 x 48m turbines were refused at council due to landscape and visual impacts and NATS objection.
 
At the same meeting in December, Twentyshilling Hill was approved against planners advice.  Planners stressed this proposal was against guidance in the Landscape Capacity Study.  2 community councils supported the development though and councillors voted 9-5 to approve it.  This sets a dangerous precedent in that area now. 
 
Community Windpower have submitted a screening request for an extra 6 turbines to their wind farm approved in the summer (Sanquhar).
 

 

It's nearly Christmas and along with shopping and planning festivities it also signals frantic activity on the wind farm front!
 
Two applications, Loch Urr and Benbrack, have been submitted to the Scottish Government for wind farms over 50MW.  An application for 9 turbines at Gass Farm has been submitted to council and just as the council were due to make a decision on Larbrax, the developer withdrew the application.
 
TW312 have also released their latest figures on the status of wind farms across Dumfries and Galloway.  See further down for the shocking figures or click here 
 
 

Update on Stewartry wind farms
 
Barcloy Hill & Chapman's Howe 
 
REG Windpower, the developer of Chapman's Howe, wrote to the Reporter to request that one Reporter should decide both the Chapman's Howe and Barcloy Hill appeals.  In one way this would have made sense as the two sites are adjacent to each other.  RES's response indicated they were not happy with the suggestion and requested that they were decided separately.  The Reporters have decided that the two proposals will be decided separately.

The Chapman's Howe decision is due by 23rd December 2014 and Barcloy Hill by 9th Jan 2015.
 
Knockendurrick 

Banks have requested an extension for the determination date of the Knockendurrick application until 31st May 2015.  No explanation is offered to the public as to the reasons why but the council have agreed to the request.
 

Loch Urr 

An application has been submitted by E-on to the Scottish Government for an 83MW wind farm between Corsock and Moniaive, with 26 turbines up to 127.5m. 
 
The closing date for objections is 12th January 2015.  
 
 If you would like more information on the proposal please visit www.savelochurr.com
 
If you would like to object to the proposal, please go to http://scotlandagainstspin.org/Objections/loch-urr/  and complete the objection form.
 
 
Benbrack

E-on have also submitted plans for an 18 turbine wind farm (over 50MW) north-east of Carsphairn.  Closing date for comment is 12th January 2015
 
 
California wind farm, near Creetown
 
Public Meeting

Wigtown County Buildings
Tuesday 16th December 2014
7.30 – 8.30pm

Refreshments provided
 
"Save Wigtown Bay were initially successful in getting the met mast refused by Dumfries and Galloway's Planning Applications Committee back in August. 

Their comments were: 

“The proposal would result in a loss of amenity and have a detrimental visual impact on the landscape character of the Galloway Hills Regional Scenic Area”.  

At the PAC meeting, a petition with over 250 signatures of people from The Machars objecting to the met mast was tabled.  However, Ecotricity have appealed directly to the Scottish Government (DPEA).  We subsequently, tabled another 180 signatures to the DPEA. (not one was in favour of the mast)  and a decision will be made on the mast around the 1st January 2015.
Ecotricity have now submitted a Proposal of Application Notice for California, hence our meeting."
 
If you care about this area and don't want to see this landscape ruined by wind farm development please come along to the meeting!
 
More details at http://www.savewigtownbay.com/

silent night 
 
Further afield
 
Gass Farm, Glenluce

Willowind (Gass) Ltd have submitted an application to the council for 9 x 126.5m turbines.  With Artfield Fell, Artfield Fell ext, Glenchamber and Carscreugh already in the immediate vicinity there will be a significant cumulative impact in this area.
 
A planning application for 1 x 36.6m turbine at Longforth Farm, Glenluce has been submitted.
 
Larbrax  

(8 x 100m near Killantringan beach) was due to be decided at Planning Application Committee  on Wed 27th Nov but was temporarily withdrawn by the developer at the eleventh hour.

 
 

Consultation on public engagement
 
The Scottish Government have agreed to produce good practice guidance in relation to public engagement  on proposals for wind turbines.  This is in response to Aileen Jackson’s Petition to change the 20m neighbour notification limit.

 

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/GettingInvolved/Petitions/turbineneighbournotification
 
The public consultation on the draft guidance ends on 15 December 2014, and the main consultation page and associated documents are available to view online at www.scotland.gov.uk/consultations
 
If you would like to submit a response to the consultation, please complete the Respondent Information Form (Annex D within the document) and send this by email to: 

PE1469Consultation@scotland.gsi.gov.uk by 15th December.
 
Or by post to:
 
Michael Westwater
Planning & Architecture Division
Scottish Government
Area 2-H
Victoria Quay
EDINBURGH
EH6 6QQ
 
 

November 2014 figures for turbine numbers in Dumfries and Galloway
 

Status

No of wind farms

No of turbines

Capacity output

 

 

 

 

Operational

12

212

334.5

Offshore

  1

  60

180

 

 

 

 

Total (operational)

13

272

514.5

 

 

 

 

Consented

15

324

913.6

 

 

 

 

Total (op & con)

28

596

1,428.1

 

 

 

 

Awaiting decision

20

257

719.7

 

 

 

 

Total

48

853

2,147.8

 

 

 

 

Scoping stage

35

530+

1,450+

 

 

 

 

Grand Total

83

1,383

3,597.8

 

 

 

 

Abandoned schemes

2 – Blackmyre Moor & Mark Farm, Creetown

Refusals at appeal

7

54

148.3

Refusals work out at just 10% of the operational & consented number of turbines and capacity!

For more details on individual developments click here

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR

FROM THE TW312 TEAM

Visit us on Facebook

June Newsletter

 

In this month's edition

 

Barcloy Hill – date for decision?

Help protect Cairn Holy

Update on Stewartry developments

News from further afield

Local Development Plan update

Community Windpower go for a record

 

 

 

Barcloy Hill

 

It is looking likely that the Barcloy Hill application for 5 x 115m turbines will be decided at the Planning Application Committee (PAC) meeting on THURSDAY 17th JULY. More details will be sent out once we have definite confirmation.

 

Help protect Cairn Holy

 

Plans for an 80m met mast just over 1km from Cairn Holy have been submitted. In 2012 councillors refused permission for a similar sized mast at Blackmyre Moor close by, on the grounds that it would have "a significant adverse impact on the Galloway Hills Regional Scenic Area".

 

The decision was not contested and plans for a wind farm were dropped with the developer saying "Vattenfall has decided not to pursue a development at this site due to concerns raised over the proximity to several Scheduled Monuments and the potential visual impact in the local area ".

 

The Kirkdale Hill mast will be visible from several Scheduled Monuments including Cairn Holy and across the west to Wigtown and Martyr's Stake.

 

 

Below is an objection you can copy and paste if you wish to help protect the area by objecting.

 

Objections must be submitted by 5pm on Friday 27th June

 

Email to pe.wigtown.planning@dumgal.gov.uk.

 

 

Name

Address

 

 

Date

 

 

Application (14/P/2/0209) for an 80m met mast at Kirkdale Hill, Carsluith

 

 

Dear Planning Officer,

 

I wish to register my objection to the above proposal on the following grounds:-

 

 

  • Adverse visual impact on the Galloway Hills Regional Scenic Area and views from the Western side of Wigtown Bay (including from Martyr's Stake) resulting from an increase in man-made visual clutter and cumulative effect with Cambret Hill Masts and turbines at Kirkmabreck and Larg Hill (erected and consented).

 

  • Adverse visual impact on the setting of Scheduled Monuments (Cairn Holy Chambered Cairns, Bagbie Cairn and Stone Circle, the Standing Stone of Bagbie and Glenquicken Moor Stone Circle) and the Listed Building old Kirkmabreck Kirk.

 

  • A local precedent for refusal of a Met Mast (12/P/2/0017) at adjacent Blackmyre Moor was set in May 2012 on the basis "That the proposed mast would have a significant adverse impact on the Galloway Hills Regional Scenic Area".

 

  • Adverse visual impact on Dark Sky Park if visible aviation lighting fitted.

 

  • Safety Risk of aircraft accident  (MOD  low level flying Tactical Training Area).

 

  • The application offers no economic benefit to Dumfries and Galloway but the approval of this mast will signal the intention of yet another wind farm. This will adversely impact on local properties making them, at best difficult to sell and at worst unsaleable, until a final decision is taken on the pending wind farm, all of which can take several years.

 

I hope you consider my comments and refuse this application.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Name

 

 

 

Update on Stewartry developments

 

 

Chapman's Howe – REG Windpower have contacted the Planning Department to say that if the proposal is not decided by council at the PAC meeting on the 25th June, then they will appeal the application directly to the Scottish Government on the grounds of non-determination within the relevant time limit. Planning have replied to say the application will not be on the agenda for decision on that date and that REG are within their rights to appeal.

 

Knockendurrick – The council's Landscape Architect has submitted his report on the landscape and visual impacts of Banks' proposed 7 x 132m turbines near Twynholm and Gatehouse.

 

His report can be read here (dated 13th May 2014)

 

http://eaccess.dumgal.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=_DUMF_DCAPR_103687

 

The recommendations are for an objection to be raised on the significant adverse impact on the Fleet Valley National Scenic Area, the local landscape character, nearby residents and key recreational viewpoints.

 

Mochrum Fell – 11 x 126.5m turbines. Currently NATS and MoD have lodged objections to the plans. The council's Landscape Architect has recommended objection on grounds of landscape and visual impacts, particularly on Loch Ken, and cumulative impacts with Blackcraig.

 

SNH have also raised serious concerns on cumulative impacts and the effects on Loch Ken.

 

 

High Barcaple – The 1 x 62m turbine near Ringford was granted planning permission by the Scottish Government Reporter who overturned the council's original refusal. Sadly, this decision permits the tallest turbine in the area now despite the Landscape Capacity Study indicating that turbines of this size in drumlin pastures are unsuitable.

 

Littleton Farm have applied for 3 x 45m turbines but the application will only see a blade length change on the towers that currently operate. It also means the third turbine will now be constructed as grid connection issues appear to have been solved. No decision has been made yet.

 

Culdoach Farm, Tongland – an application for 2 x 48.5m to tip turbines has been submitted and is now closed for comment.

 

Land south of Mollance Farm – the site is where the "Woodlands for sale" sign is on the A75 for those of you who know the locality. The proposal is for a 1 x 44.5m turbine right next to the River Dee. If any of you took a picture of this area earlier this year when the Dee flooded we'd love to see it! No decision has been made but the application is closed for comment.

 

Meikle Culloch – 2 x 35m turbines – the proposal was due for decision at the Planning Application Committee meeting last month. However, councilors agreed to go on a site visit to assess the potential impacts.

 

Knockower Community Wind Farm, Loch Doon (14/E/2/0008) – Sorry, no prizes for those who worked out from the title that the scoping applicants are Community Windpower Ltd! The site is located approximately 1.1km north-east of Loch Doon Castle for up to 16 x 145m turbines. Loch Doon itself is a Site of Scientific Interest (SSI) for Arctic Charr.

 

 

News from further afield

 

 

Newfield Wind Farm, which was for 21 turbines totaling 63MW, has been refused by the Scottish Government on grounds of visual, landscape and cumulative impacts.

 

Solwaybank has been taken to appeal for 15 turbines.

 

Harestanes Ext – D & G council have decided to raise an objection to the proposed additional 7 turbine extension to the 57 currently being constructed.

 

Millriggs Farm, Lockerbie have applied for a scoping opinion for a single 127m turbine.

 

 

Gass Farm – Glenluce

 

An application for a 9 turbine wind farm will be submitted in approximately 12 weeks time as a Pre-Application Notice has been served.

 

The site is close to Artfield Fell, Artfield Fell ext, Carscreugh (all of which are operational) Glenchamber (about to be constructed) and Airies (approved).

 

We will let you know when this application is open for comment.

 

Local Development Plan

 

Dumfries and Galloway council had submitted their draft Local Development Plan to the Scottish Government Reporters for examination. A number of modifications have been 'suggested' by the Reporters.  Please note, when the Reporters say "suggestions" they really mean "recommendations (which are binding on the Council)".

 

The Council’s Planners had  seemingly protected areas of high and medium landscape sensitivity by not including them in ‘Areas of Search’.  The Reporters, however, have suggested that the Planners should revise this approach in line with Scottish Planning Policy which seems to indicate that areas of high and medium landscape sensitivity should be included in ‘Areas of Search’.

 

There are other changes but the full implications are not understood presently and we'll try to find out what they mean.

 

And finally….

 

Community Windpower Ltd have set a new record for D & G by submitting a scoping application (14/E/3/0007) for up to 20 X 160m turbines. It will be an extension to their Sanqhuar Community Wind Farm, 9km South of Sanqhuar.

 

Planning Applications Committee Meetings for 2014

Wed  11th June

Wed   25th June

Thurs  17 July

Wed   27th Aug

Wed   24th Sept

Wed   22nd Oct

Wed   26th Nov

Wed   16th Dec

 

 

 

EDF Energy paid £3m to shut down Fallago Rig turbines  

 

 

 

An energy firm has been paid almost £3m to shut down turbines on a wind farm because the National Grid did not want its electricity.

 

EDF Energy received £2.99m in six months to halt production at Fallago Rig wind farm in the Lammermuir Hills on land owned by the Duke of Roxburghe.

 

The "constraint payments" are given for not producing energy during periods of high generation or low demand.

 

Read the full story on the BBC News website.

 

This article was published in the Scotsman on Monday 14th October 2013. It serves as a useful resume of how our energy policy has become such a costly [omni]shambles. We have reproduced it here in full and you can see the opriginal here. The author is Bill Jamieson who describes himself:

 

"founder & editor Scot-Buzz, the website for business. Former Execitive Editor The Scotsman."

 


 

 

If it is set to be a cold comfort winter for households as domestic energy bills are hiked, the political temperature is heading in the opposite direction: an explosive boiling point.

 

The truth of UK energy policy has been lost in a maze of subsidies, charges, floor prices and renewables targeting that has led to relentless price increases.

 

The latest 8.2 per cent rise announced by SSE will almost certainly be followed by the other energy suppliers and will raise the average domestic dual fuel energy bill by £106 to £1,380.

 

It is, said one industry expert, “the final nail in the coffin for affordable energy”. But it is only a wonder how it has taken so long for this nail to strike home.

 

Last week’s announcement may have given the impression of hapless energy companies struggling against the impersonal forces of world energy markets. But this is a crisis largely created by successive UK governments. I am grateful to leading energy expert Tony Lodge for an analysis published by the Centre for Policy Studies. Not everyone will go along with some of his radical suggestions, but his account is a useful aide-mémoire of how we got here.

 

Back at a meeting of the European Union Council in 2007, Tony Blair committed the UK to have 15 per cent of our total energy derived from renewables. The level at the time was just 1.2 per cent. No economic impact assessment was put before the prime minister, or indeed commissioned, though in fairness such an exercise could only have been speculative guesswork.

This ambitious target was dwarfed by the commitment to source 35 per cent of electricity from renewables by 2020. Given the tide of political enthusiasm for green energy at the time, when the PM’s finger pointed at the moon, who dared to examine the finger?

 

Last year renewables, including biomass, provided less than 11 per cent of UK electricity, against coal and gas combined at 70 per cent. So the huge switchover inevitably involved substantial costs and sharply higher bills both for business and household consumers. But there was another problem: decommissioning of existing coal-fired plants could land the UK with a crisis of supply. National Grid recently warned again about blackouts and price spikes.

 

The 2007 commitment was followed in 2008 by the Climate Change Act setting a legally binding framework for a 34 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Alongside this was a commitment to close 12 gigawatts of coal and oil power plants by 2015 to meet EU emissions rules. The coalition went along with this and the Scottish Government embellished it. However, new gas plants remain unbuilt.

 

Further intervention brought a new UK price for carbon emissions from power plants, much higher than in the rest of Europe. It was supposed to encourage the building of low-carbon power plants. Instead it resulted in higher prices being slapped on coal and gas plants, pushing up consumers’ bills. The UK carbon tax is expected to add about £1 billion a year to renewables subsidies in 2017.

Meanwhile, a new Emissions Performance Standard will be introduced to ban new coal plants, irrespective of the coal price being low, largely as a result of the US shale boom.

 

Contrast all this with Holland and Germany, where new coal plants are being completed, with more planned. These efficient plants will be able to take advantage of record low coal prices.

 

Lodge says: “We must drop the pretence that the UK enjoys an electricity market – it doesn’t. Instead it has created, through decarbonisation targets, a heavily interventionist and subsidy-drunk sector which is highly regulated.”

 

Among his recommendations are that we should stop building wind turbines (“expensive and do not provide electricity on a viable, reliable or economic scale”); amend the Emission Performance Standard so that new modern coal power plants can be built; stop subsidising solar and re-examine subsidies for biomass wood imports; develop a shale industry; continue to improve energy efficiency and drop the carbon price floor which has been raising electricity bills.

 

The 2007 Blair pre-crash draconian targets should be dropped. They were “ill-founded and unworkable and the UK should no longer be bound by them”.

 

Finally, he urges that “we should cut the ‘greenwash’ and lies about green jobs. Redundant shipyards and factories across northern England and Scotland were promised a bounty of marine and wind-related manufacturing work generating tens of thousands of jobs. It wasn’t and isn’t true.”

 

And if this is not enough to concentrate minds, perhaps this might help: renewable subsidies look set to rise from just under £2bn this year to more than £5bn by 2018-19. Onshore wind will receive a guaranteed electricity price double the typical wholesale price and offshore wind will receive triple the typical wholesale price.

 

Renewable energy subsidies have failed to deliver reductions in cost. Government policy was supposed to reduce costs by creating economies of scale and driving technological innovation, but renewable energy still requires very similar levels of subsidy.

 

Despite this, the Committee on Climate Change has warned that “required investment is at risk” unless higher subsidies for offshore wind are provided. Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, says: “If the government are serious about easing the pressure on people’s living standards, they need to take action and scrap lavish renewable energy subsidies. And it is a joke for Ed Miliband to pretend he is taking on the Big Six on behalf of consumers, when he is proposing to keep the targets in place.”

His conclusion is hard to dispute. If politicians are serious about helping families struggling with their bills, then they need to do something about their “dysfunctional and painfully expensive energy policies”.

 

Amen to that.

 

Twitter: @Bill_Jamieson

 

 
Here's a brief update on recent turbine planning matters….
 
Guffogland     1 x 54m turbine REFUSED on landscape impact grounds – by Scottish Government Reporter
 
Standingstones,  Borgue   1 x 45m turbine appeal submitted to Scottish Government
 
 
South Kyle Forest planning application submitted to Scottish Government
 
 
50 x 149.5m to tip turbines, 30km of new track plus upgrading of 26km existing tracks.
 
Open for comments until 13th October 2013
 
 
13/E/2/0252   Torrorie Farm, Kirkbean  for additional 1 x 20m turbine

Thousands of Britain’s wind turbines will create more greenhouse gases than they save, according to potentially devastating scientific research to be published later this year.

Click the link to see the full article in The Telegraph (Sunday 24th Feb 2013)

The Minnygap proposal for 10 turbines, which has dragged on for years, was soundly rejected by Dumfries and Galloway Council yesterday.  The grounds for refusal include the MoD's objection in relation to Eskdalemuir Siesmic Station, tourism and landscape impact grounds.

 

Last week  E.on announced plans for 3 large wind farms totalling 234MW straddling Dumfries and Galloway and South Ayrshire.

The trio are located at Benbrack, Enoch Hill and Lorg

Click here for more details

 

 

 

Credit:     Brian Wilson     Scotsman     (12/09/12)

 

Jim Sillars’ criticism of the SNP Government as authoritarian, highlights a central problem in Scottish politics, writes Brian Wilson

 

The pronouncement by Jim Sillars that the SNP runs as an authoritarian organisation with rigid central control reminiscent of the Communist Party should scarcely come as a surprise. Indeed, many within the organisation will regard it as a compliment.

 

According to Sillars, the SNP are a dumbed-down bunch of yes-people who take their orders from the ruling triumvirate of Salmond, Sturgeon and Swinney. He attributes the fact there has been no Holyrood issue on which dissent has surfaced in the past five years to the ruthlessness of the regime rather than to contented acquiescence. And he is surely right.

 

Cartoon Stuart Young                                                             Click here to read more

 

A community in Canada, who've been trying to publicise the negative effects of wind turbines for many years, have established a new website. You can read real stories from around the world. Click the link below to visit the website:-

 

https://www.illwind.org/index.php/reports

 

We've added this website to the permanent links we maintain on this site (bottom left).

The Galtway Hill proposal for 2 x 100m turbines at Dundrennan was refused on Wednesday 25 th January 2012 at the Planning Applications Committee meeting.

 

The application was rejected on the grounds of adverse landscape and visual impact, with the turbines considered to be too big for their location.

 

Read the Galloway Gazette report here

 

The Pattiesthorn met mast (Benshinnie) was rejected on safety grounds due to the proximity of the nearby airstrip at Glenswinton.

This turbine in Ardrossan, North Ayrshire, was photographed on fire in Thursday's (8th Dec) UK storms

Photo: Stuart McMahon

Why is our Government pushing up our energy bills by giving subsidies to wind farms, which are proven to be uneconomic?

 

[for UK as a whole]

Source: General Electric quoted at http://www.businessgreen.com/

 

Communities Against Turbines Scotland has changed their web site address.

It is now www.communitiesagainstturbinesscotland.com   

 

Please note that everything is the same except we are    .com    NOT .org

 

Sorry for the inconvenience.  If there are any problems please contact Kim Terry on

info@communitiesagainstturbines.com

 

http://www.communitiesagainstturbinesscotland.com/

 

Please consider attending  the day-long in Ayr on the 11th November (why not make a weekend of it!). The conference has been called to generate a national critical voice on Scottish wind energy policy and to facilitate solidarity between groups and communities.

 

Please register as soon as possible and preferably before the end of September so that  numbers can be assessed.

 

http://www.communitiesagainstturbinesscotland.com/registration/

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