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12 responses to “Onshore wind: Planning or Building, which one is the real problem?”

    • Stuart

      Sorry – not to have replied earlier – I was enjoying a sojourn in France. Only delay was getting behind a trailer load of wind turbine blades – very impressive. The landscape is realy being transformed. They have come from nowhere to overtake the UK in wind and are aiming at 12.5Gw by 2012. How much would you bet for the UK by then – about 4/5Gw at current build rates?

      Which means the great majority of French electricity will be fossil free with their 70% nuclear generation. I guess they will be the first country grid to face the problem of having to cope with fluctuating peak requirements with systems built for base load (nuclear) and opportunistic (wind). It will be interesting to see what proportion of fast firing fossil they will need to maintain guaranteed supply through the peaks of demand and the lows of wind. Also a demonstration that nuclear and wind do not have to be foes – but that’s another discussion.

      You are right to say I included on & offshore wind. But it isn’t consents (or even detail consents) that’s stopping the majors building is either. The Shell decision was because of rising costs. And rising costs are directly attributable to short supply of turbines.

      It doesn’t matter about consents if you can’t get the turbines. Increased prices will encourage more investment in the industry but that will take a long time unless governments/industry can together create an a rapid increase in production. We have 5 or 6 major manufacturers. Amazingly none British with our history of powering stuff with propellers and some of the best wind tunnels, aerodynamicists and aerospace industries.

      I wonder if some EU/HMG support in this area would be better at delivering turbines faster at lower cost enabling the consented backlog to disappear

      I use and root for ecotricity and know onshore planning system is YOUR major showstopper and needs to get sorted. Being sorted would allow ecotricity to grow exponentially. Even so it will still be a minnow against the majors. And I’m not convinced we would see the same step change there. Indeed your spend comparisons would tend to suggest that right now.

      Its just strange that EDF can do so much in France and so little here …

    • Damon Hart-Davis

      Dale, that 12% stat is amazing. That really *is* making a difference! I need to find myself a role where I can apply my systems skills to good effect like that!



    • Jeffrey Lam

      I’ve got a question. I was just reading in the Independent yesterday their cover story. It mentioned plans to change planning laws that give the powers to grant or deny permission for such things as airport expansion, nuclear power statiions, road widening, reservoirs to a group appointed by the government. Will onshore wind farms be affected by this if it goes through?


    • James

      Hey Dale,

      I wasn’t sure how best to show you this link so I picked a post that seemed relevant.

      As you are in the wind energy business I thought you might be interested in this, or probably already know about it.

      It is a wind wing which claims to be more efficient than a propeller.

      But I’m no expert, just a curious individual 😉
      Hope it’s of some interest.


    • Kevin

      Just another example of what scary times we live in. Corrupt leadership, Natural or man made disasters,food & resource shortage or monetary collaspe something big is going to happen. I am making preperations now. This site is loaded with tips on surviving anything….

    • alan

      Dear Dale,

      I always find you posts interesting but i also always find the way you undermine democracy difficult to understand.

      The planning system is democracy in action. It’s not perfect but allows local people to have their views heard on issues that will have an impact on them. And before the NIMBY stick comes out, for people to care about the place they live doesn’t make them NIMBY’s it makes them interested and passionate about their local environment.

      I take the point the climate change is a global concern but if this is the case why are wind energy companies quibling about costs. So what if it is more expensive to build turbines off shore, if that is where they are most efficient and if we genuine believe that this is the only technology that can take us away from fossil fuels fill the seas with them…swallow the higher costs safe in the knowledge that you have saved the world and also saved the beuatiful countryside throughout the globe. It isn’t fair to blame democracy for delays or cancelled projects when it seems to me cash, or the old short arms and deep pockets routine, is the main stumbling block. Lets not ruin the land for the sake of a few quid, thats how we got into this mess in the first place.