13.11.12 Another delay for Atlantic Array wind farm plans Western Morning News
Developers behind a massive array of wind turbines off the Westcountry coast “should cut their losses and go home” after a further delay to the controversial plans was announced yesterday.
The £3 billion Atlantic Array proposed for off the North Devon coast in the Bristol Channel has been billed as one of the largest green energy projects of its kind in Europe.
But RWE npower renewables yesterday announced its application to the Planning Inspectorate would not now be made until the New Year after staging a second round of public consultation.
That followed the company’s decision in the summer to cut its original plans from 417 turbines, some 8.5 miles (14km) offshore, to between 278 and 188. Major objections have been lodged against the scheme including from the National Trust.
Steve Crowther, spokesman for campaign group SlayTheArray.com, said: “Hundreds of people made their feelings known back in August, and opposition to the scheme in both North Devon and South Wales is growing all the time. Plus, the campaign is now going national, among the huge number of people who love these areas and want to fight for them.
“We suspect that the postponement is because the developer is trying to come to terms with the representations from the major environmental organisations, such as the National Trust, Campaign to Protect Rural England and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Trust, which clearly showed that the Bristol Channel location is unsuitable for this development, by the Government’s own stated standards.
“It may also be that the increasing problems that the big continental utility developers are having raising finance for these massive schemes has led to them deciding to take a step back and see how the land lies. I’d advise them to cut their losses and go home. The environment for building a vast turbine field off Lundy is not going to get any easier over the next few months.”
The plans sparked significant concerns on both the Devon and Welsh coasts, as well as on Lundy Island. Opponents have said the scheme would “destroy” the island as a unique refuge for wildlife and visitors.
RWE npower renewables confirmed it would be making its application in spring 2013: the original date was next month.
Development manager Craig Harwood said: “In order to give reasonable consideration to all the responses we have received, both during the consultation period in the summer and afterwards, we’ve decided to submit the planning application during the spring of 2013.
“This will mean we can consider all of the feedback thoroughly before submitting our application.”
04.11.12 Wind farm noise does harm sleep and health, say scientists Daily Telegraph
Noise caused by wind farms “clear and significant” damage to people’s sleep and mental health, according to the first full peer-reviewed scientific study of the problem. Read more
01.10.12 Wind farms given £34m to switch off in bad weather: Households stung by secretive payments Daily Mail
Wind farm operators were paid £34million last year to switch the turbines off in gales.
Two days last week saw householders effectively hand £400,000 to energy firms for doing nothing. The arrangement compensates wind farms for the National Grid’s inability to cope with the extra energy produced during high winds. Read more
01.09.12 Swansea City & County rejects Atlantic Array
Swansea Council’s Planning Committee held on Thursday 30-8-12 OBJECTED to the proposed Atlantic Array for a giant Wind Turbine Power Station offshore between north Devon and south west Wales as part of the consultation process. Out of 72 Councillors – 34 were absent & 28 OPPOSED the proposal and 8 supported it & 2 abstained.
Read the South Wales Evening Post report here.
29.08.12 Carmarthenshire Council ‘offer no objection’ to Atlantic Array scheme
Read the full story in the Carmarthen Journal here
The City and County of Swansea will be voting tomorrow (30 August). Their Planning Officers are recommending REFUSAL.
PRESS RELEASE 30.05.12
Atlantic Array ‘scaled back’ claim is wrong, say North Devon campaigners
RWE npower’s plan for the giant windfarm in the Bristol Channel is a disaster for North Devon, according to campaign group Slay the Array. The developer has not ‘reduced’ or ‘scaled back’ the proposal in response to public opinion, as has been claimed, but has increased the size of the turbines to be sited near the North Devon coast, the group says.
“The plan on the table is the same as before – but with one option removed”, said Slay the Array spokesman Steve Crowther.
“The previous proposal said that they would use 417 big, 300 huge or 188 massive turbines to create a (theoretical) capacity of 1500 MW. All they’ve done is remove the smaller-turbine option.
The company have now said that they will be choosing larger wind turbines for the development, ranging in height from 600 feet to 722 feet – almost twice the height of Lundy island.
“The capacity remains the same, and they now say they will use either the huge or the massive turbines to achieve it.
“This announcement is a ploy to make it look as though the developers have bowed to public opinion. In fact, they have not reduced the size of the development at all. Like the ‘extra’ consultation they announced in January, this is part of a carefully choreographed PR campaign.
RWE have now made clear that they will be developing the southern part of the area they identified, using larger turbines. The machines will be erected on the Stanley Bank, which lies only 7.5 miles from Lundy.
The windfarm will therefore now be four miles further away from the South Wales coast, but remains only 9 miles from North Devon’s surfing beaches and coastal walks.
“The closest point to the North Devon coast is 8.7m away – that’s the same distance as from Fullabrook to Huntshaw Cross.
“Everyone in North Devon knows how visible the Fullabrook turbines are from right around the estuary basin – and these turbines will be twice the size of the ones at Fullabrook.”
The confirmation that North Devon will bear the brunt of the windfarm’s impact is terrible news for the region, says Slay the Array.
Tourism brings more than a quarter of a billion pounds a year to North Devon and accounts for 17% of employment.
“That’s one in six people here whose jobs depend on tourism”, said Steve Crowther. “People don’t come here to see industrial machinery; they come to see unspoiled landscapes and seascapes.
“The North Devon fishing industry remains under threat, and there is no realistic prospect of the development creating any significant quantity of new jobs here, when South Wales has several large and well-equipped docks.”
Consultant publishes report that KPMG killed, saying UK climate change targets could be achieved £45 billion more cheaply by ditching wind
The consulting firm AF-Mercados UK, who authored a report at the end of last year for KPMG which suggested that wind power would add around £150 billion to the cost of achieving our long-term climate change targets, has now published the report itself, after KPMG decided not to.
The report, which was widely leaked before Christmas, says that nuclear and gas generation would be far more efficient ways of reaching our carbon reduction targets than wind. Ditching wind would save £45 billion by 2020 – and around £150 billion by 2050 compared with having the full 32,000 planned turbines in place.
Developer publishes Summary of public consultation; delays submission of planning application to ‘Q4 2012′.
RWE/npower have published a Summary of their public consultations in North Devon and Wales during September–November and announced that they intend to hold further public consultations on publication of their Environmental Statement in ‘mid 2012′.
The new consultations are described as ‘informal’, perhaps signalling that they will not necessarily form part of the Planning Application.
Although stating that the consultations ended on 10 November, the RWE/npower document oddly does not record the additional public meeting they were pressured to arrange in Mortehoe/Woolacombe – the location most affected by the planned Array – which had unaccountably been left off the original meeting schedule.