Number of planned onshore wind farms rises by two thirds

January 16, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

From March 2017, subsidies for wind farms will be cut after ministers
announced that the cost of building them has proved “lower than expected”.

Experts said there is a “stampede” by wind farm developers to submit
their planning applications before the current regime comes to an end.

Campaigners opposed to wind farms have also accused the government of going
back on plans to give communities the power to veto wind farms.

Dr John Constable, director of Renewable Energy Foundation, a charity which is
critical of the cost of wind farms, said: “There is a stampede to get
under the wire, the current system of subsidies is very, very generous.
There are a lot of planning applications in the system.

“In spite of all the noise about a change of emphasis by the government
last year, the actual instructions sent to local authorities and the
planning inspectorate were feeble. The views and interests of local people
are not being reflected in planning decisions.”

However Renewable UK, which represents turbine builders, said: “People
favour wind energy and onshore developers are taking their responsibilities
seriously in terms of consulting with the local community, answering
concerns and questions, carrying out environmental assessments. We would
welcome this.”

In August Mr Cameron said that there was “limited potential for onshore
wind” in the UK. He said: “There’s a limited potential for onshore
wind,” Mr Cameron said. “Frankly, we’ve got some in the UK – I don’t think
we’re going to have a huge amount more.

“We’ve just changed the rules, we’ve cut the subsidies and we’ve said that any
schemes that go ahead have to give more benefit to local communities. So I
wouldn’t expect to see a lot more wind power onshore in the UK.”

However, the new figures, published in a parliamentary answer, reveal that
growing numbers of wind farms will be built.

Last year 141 wind farm planning applications were approved, while a total of
134 were rejected, compared to 83 applications which were granted in 2010,
when 37 were refused.

More than 5 per cent of Britain’s electricity is now generated from wind
farms. In total, councils have approved 483 wind turbine applications since
2010.

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