Please find below some paragraphs addressing the Councillor’s concerns, perhaps it will be of use. Happy to send on more, maybe for the Dorset Energise website, if that is of interest?
The wind industry is a relatively young industry that has learned enormous amounts in the last 2 decades where development can and cannot take place. The industry has learned from early mistakes and largely improved its development practice; best practice guidelines now incorporate guidance on how to protect wildlife, for example having ecological designated areas where development cannot take place and the mapping of migration routes to stay well away from. Close cooperation with consultees such as Natural England, the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage ensures responsible development.
Ruth Davis head of Climate Change Policy at the RSPB, said: “The need for renewable energy could not be more urgent. Left unchecked, climate change threatens many species with extinction. Yet, that sense of urgency is not translating into action on the ground to harness the abundant wind energy around us.
“The solutions are largely common sense. We need a clear lead from government on where wind farms should be built and clear guidance for local councils on how to deal with applications. We must reduce the many needless delays that beset wind farm developments.
“This report shows that if we get it right, the UK can produce huge amounts of clean energy without time-consuming conflicts and harm to our wildlife. Get it wrong and people may reject wind power. That would be disastrous.”
David Baldock, Director of the IEEP, said: “The development of renewable energy in Britain has to accelerate greatly if new binding targets are to be met. This means that the planning system must facilitate a step change in the construction of wind power. The best experience elsewhere shows that this is possible. Damage to birds and other wildlife can be minimised by a strong or proactive approach – guiding turbines to the right sites. Good planning can facilitate development appropriate for the long term”
The Department of Energy and Climate Change feels that security of supply comes from a having mix of technologies. Having a mix means that if there is a problem in one part of the system, we have a better chance of keeping the lights on, and doing so affordably. This mix will include cleaner fossil fuels as well as nuclear and renewables.
Wind farms offer a flexible, modular system that if implemented as a diversified resource with effective geographic spread can offer a reliable source of low-carbon energy, forming a core part of a mixed renewables portfolio
in combination with a reduced platform of responsive conventional capacity.
The increasing installed capacity of wind power across the UK poses a considerable technical challenge to ensure the balance of demand and supply is maintained at all times across the grid. However, while availability of wind is to some extent uncertain for any one area, coping with large swings in supply and demand is a problem transmission operators have been familiar with for some time. And while the requirement on existing plant to provide some extra
reserve capacity causes some concern, it is clear that national installed wind capacity can form an aggregated ‘balancing region’ whereby its perceived unreliability due to site-specific variability has been overestimated.
Viability of onshore wind
Onshore wind is the most cost effective of all renewable energy sources to date. At the moment generating electricity from renewable technologies is more costly than generating it from fossil fuels. If we are to meet our target of producing 15% of our energy from renewables by 2020 then appropriate support must be provided now to these technologies to ensure that they become viable and cost effective in the longer term. The Department of Energy and Climate Change says on economics of onshore wind: “We recognise that the costs of renewable technologies must come down – and they are. The gap between onshore wind costs and combined cycle gas turbine costs has halved in the last five years. We are therefore proposing a reduction in the level of support to onshore wind to reflect that their renewable technologies must become cost competitive with other low carbon sources in the longer term. Recent energy bill increases have been driven by rising wholesale energy costs, mainly the price of imported natural gas, which makes up around half of household energy bills. Figures published Ofgem, the electricity regulator, shows that the impact of the Renewable Obligation for large scale onshore wind in 2011 was £6.00 per household.”