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Wind Systems Are Go !

Little boy and girl engineers across the globe are starting a lifetime of fascination with wind turbines, playing with Trademarked miniature construction kits :-

Durable plastic toy manufacturers can see which way the wind is blowing, even if rich landowners, Mr-Deal-or-No-Deal [1] and certain members of the CPRE [2] cannot :-

“Wind farm to be built on borders of Peak District : Britain’s most beautiful landscapes are under threat after permission was given for a wind farm to be built on the outskirts of the Peak District National Park, environmental campaigners have warned. : By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent : Published: 3:39PM BST 17 Jul 2009 : The four 335ft (102m) turbines – almost twice the height of Nelson’s Column – will tower over one of the most spectacular views of the Dales on the boundaries of the national park and next to the Carsington Water beauty spot between Matlock and Ashbourne. The Peak District National Park Authority and Derbyshire Dales District Council asked the High Court to reject planning permission as they said turbines would ruin the views from the national park and encourage more turbines to be built in other national parks. On Friday the High Court rejected the application. Earlier this week Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, announced plans to increase the number of onshore turbines in Britain by “many thousands” and campaigners now fear that many other beauty spots are in danger…”

[1] Mr-Deal-or-No-Deal = Noel Edmonds and his REF Renewable Energy Foundation which is notoriously anti-wind power.

[2] CPRE = Campaign for the Protection of Rural England

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or no Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Peak District is absolutely ideal for Wind Power in England, especially if Scotland, you know, secedes, at least on Energy grounds, from the Union.

The Lake District would be the only place better to site wind farm clusters in the whole of England, apart from the Pennines and Yorkshire Dales of course.

I know, I know, I can hear you all muttering under your breath : but be honest about it : the reason why people visit the mountains and dales and national parks is to admire big vistas and big scenery. What better than to have clusters of gargantuan-yet-graceful wind turbines in a place where people are expecting to see large, iconic objects ?

But haven’t the UK Government decided on bags of Offshore Wind ? Why still talk about Onshore ?

“In Vestas in the future? Why offshore wind won’t work : July 28, 2009 9:17am : by Fiona Harvey : Offshore wind costs three times as much as onshore wind. Putting turbines at sea is hard – they have to be more robust turbines, for a start, and they are harder to set up and maintain. They generate a bit more power, but not enough to make up for the pain of getting them at sea and ensuring they keep turning, as well as connecting them to the grid on land. Most of the rest of the world is simply not interested. Wind companies have overwhelmingly voted with their feet – the big growth markets for new turbines are China and the US, countries with huge open spaces available where companies can thrust up new turbines where they like, free from nimby attacks…”

It looks like a lot of big money could be expended on researching and developping Offshore Wind :-

“Renewables could receive £1.1 billion funding : 19 January 2009 : Four projects have been given the go-ahead as part of a potential £1.1billion fund from the UK Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) to promote renewables. Three of the projects chosen by ETI, a partnership between global industries and the UK Government, will focus on designing offshore wind turbine technology, while the fourth will demonstrate a new commercial scale tidal turbine. These, and future projects, have the potential to deliver cheaper renewable electricity from 2020 onwards. The initiative is also geared at making the UK more energy efficient, protecting energy supplies for present and future generations, and improving the country’s skills base…While offshore wind and marine technologies are the focus of the first round of projects to be funded, the ETI is also addressing the areas of transport, distributed energy, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and energy networks. The funding for the projects comes from the six current private sector partners: BP, Caterpillar, EDF Energy, E.ON, Rolls-Royce and Shell…”

The Low Carbon Transition, initially published on 15th July 2009 here (don’t bother clicking, it’s a non-functioning link now) :-\UK%20Low%20Carbon%20Transition%20Plan%20WP09\1_20090724153238_e_@@_DECCWPUKLCTransitionPlan.pdf&filetype=4

then amended on 20th July 2009 :-\UK%20Low%20Carbon%20Transition%20Plan%20WP09\1_20090724153238_e_@@_lowcarbontransitionplan.pdf&filetype=4

but still not updated on the Central Government Foreign and Commonwealth Office website :-

does indeed mention the UK Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), but doesn’t say precisely how much money will be coughed up :-

page 71 (74 in PDF) :-
“Developing new technologies: Providing direct funding for innovation through the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) which aims to invest up to £1bn over the next 10 years in low carbon energy technologies, including networks. The Government is engaging with the recently established ETI networks panel that is scoping the objectives they set for a call for projects.”

Hmm. Interesting. Who is on that panel ?

“…What happens to my EoI? And what is the ETI selection criteria? Once the call is closed and we have received EoIs for a Programme, we record the information and submit the EoIs to a “Sift panel”. The Panel comprises of ETI staff, representatives from ETI member companies, and independent experts in the Programme field. The members of the panel use their professional judgment to invite organisations that offer a range of skills and experience, most likely to create innovative consortia with the necessary skills sets to deliver the best possible projects. Typically, 30-40 organisations will be invited to attend. The Panel’s selection criteria are: (*) Level of expertise, technology and/or intellectual property directly relating to, or readily transferable to, the identified Focus Areas in the Call; (*) Track record in Research, Development and Demonstration (R,D & D) in areas relevant to the Call; (*) Track record of implementing or bringing to market innovative products, services or processes; (*)Track record of collaboration with other organisations…”

” New funds to accelerate CCS development : 01/09/2008 : Andrew Green, the ETI Programme Manager for Carbon Capture and Storage, explains some of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) is a new, unique Public/Private Partnership created less than a year ago with project funding resources of up to £1billion. Industrial partners include BP, Caterpillar, E.ON, EDF, Rolls-Royce and Shell. Flexible in its approach towards each programme, the ETI has initially operated via Calls for Expressions of Interest (EoI) in energy projects. The next Call will be for EoIs for Carbon Capture and Storage…As a further safeguard to ensure priorities are right, and to guard against potential conflict of interest, the projects themselves will only begin after review by an independent selection panel of CCS experts from around the world. These panel members are already being recruited but further nominations from Journal readers would be most welcome…”

The VILE (Vertically Integrated Large Energy) Companies do not have a very good record on sensible plans, it seems :-

“Anger at plans for nuclear power station to replace wind farm : Threatened site is one of the most efficient : Proposed atomic plant backed by government : Terry Macalister : The Guardian, Tuesday 28 April 2009 : One of the oldest and most efficient wind farms in Britain is to be dismantled and replaced by a nuclear power station under plans drawn up by the German-owned power group RWE. The site at Kirksanton in Cumbria – home to the Haverigg turbines – has just been approved by the government for potential atomic newbuild in a move that has infuriated the wind power industry. Colin Palmer, founder of the Windcluster company, which owns part of the Haverigg wind farm, said he was horrified that such a plan could be considered at a time when Britain risks missing its green energy targets and after reassurance from ministers that nuclear and renewables were not incompatible. “My first reaction was disbelief, quickly followed by a sense of years of commitment to sustainable energy being destroyed,” Palmer said. “At a time when the government is calling for wind energy development to be accelerated, it beggars belief that they are supporting plans that will result in the destruction of existing capacity.””

So, what are Shell, BP, EOn, EdF and Rolls-Royce doing deciding on how to spend Government money on new Energy Technologies ?

And are they paying attention to the true costs of Energy development ?

Advocating Offshore Wind seems like a way to make Wind Power uncompetitive. Or that’s my impression, anyway.

5 replies on “Wind Systems Are Go !”

Hi Jo,

I’ve thought for a while now that one method to help get over the nimbyism against wind farms is to make them locally owned Cooperatives. Offer shares in the wind farm coops to the locals only and you will get a connection between the locals and the windfarm like the Westmill windfarm coop. When locals can see that the money generated from the windfarm will be staying locally there is a lot more support.

The only problem I see is that this decentralizes the lobbying power, and we can see the influence of the current big energy producers like coal and nuclear and their big business access to Westminister. The small number of companies involved means their lobbying is very focussed and successful at looking after their vested interests.


I cant understand why people are against wind farms because there ‘ugly’ yet they’ll rant on about finding alternative energy sources? I think wind farms are the future, both onshore and offshore

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