Select Committee on Environmental Audit Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum from the British Wind Energy Association

  Question 48

  In the Planning for Wind Energy booklet[12], the suggestion for Wales' contribution is for an additional 8 per cent, not 80 per cent. The current contribution from Wales is ca 30 per cent of UK installed capacity.

  Regarding the distribution across regions of the UK in terms of installed wind energy capacity, we have prepared the following advice. We have calculated that, at the time of writing, Wales represents 30.6 per cent of the capacity in the UK with 145.5 MW capacity; Scotland 30.8 per cent (146.44MW); England 30.8 per cent (146.555MW) and Northern Ireland 7.8 per cent (36.94MW).

  72.6 per cent capacity of new wind power projects constructed in 2001 were in Scotland, and 66.7 per cent of those confirmed for construction in 2002.

  All but two of the schemes determined in Scotland since June 1999 have been approved. These decisions add a further 190.642MW installed capacity, some of which has already been commissioned. Of 20 applications submitted over this period, only four have gone beyond the local planning process, all of which were compulsory under Section 36 of the Electricity Act (1989) for plant over 50MW capacity. No applications are going through the appeal process.

  The oldest outstanding application was submitted in July 2000, one of five dating from that year. A further nine were submitted in 2001, and one in the first month of 2002.

  By contrast, the most recent project to come online in Wales, after a gap of three years, was Parc Cynog with only 3.6MW capacity, officially opened by the Energy Minister in December 2001. Only a further three approvals have been granted since June 1999 which combined represent an additional 9.5MW, or 4.9 per cent of new UK capacity confirmed for construction in 2002.

  Of those schemes that have been processed by the local planning authority and are not currently awaiting a determination, 30.02 per cent of potential installed capacity (8 out of 18 schemes) has been turned down. This compares to 2.47 per cent in Scotland, or 2 refusals from 16 submissions, 64.78 per cent of potential capacity (6 out of 18 schemes) has been taken beyond the local planning system in Wales (ie called-in, gone to inquiry or taken to appeal following refusal), of which only one is compulsory. Compensating for this, 41.3 per cent of capacity submitted (103.213MW) has been taken out of the hands of local determination. A more remarkable feature of this is that 40.6 per cent (41.925MW) had already been approved at a local level.

  The oldest outstanding application in Wales dates from September 1998; the resulting joint inquiry held between September 2000 to March 2001 has still not returned any decisions; indeed, our understanding is that the decision committee has not yet been formed.

  By the end of 2002, Wales' expected contribution is forecast to be as low as 25.7 per cent of UK wind energy capacity, despite its abundant resource.

  At mid-day on the day of evidence, the Scottish Executive published their Planning Advice Note 45: Renewable Energy Technologies. It is available at The equivalent revised Welsh note has since been announced and is currently in the consultation process. See

  Question 61

  Mr Still referred to DTI's efforts to develop a one—or possibly two—stop shop covering planning consents. It would help the Committee put this development into context if you could sketch, perhaps in the form of a specific case study, the number and nature of separate planning consents which you currently have to obtain.

  The planning history of the Blyth Offshore project is unique, being a combination of the first of its type and of its location that required some additional consents.

BLYTH HARBOUR WIND FARM Consents/agreements obtained from 1996 to 2000


Coast Protection Act
Crown Estate LeaseCrown Estate
Crossing watercourseEnvironment Agency
LeaseBlyth Harbour Commission
WayleavesBlyth Harbour Commission
Planning consent for cable route and connection building Blyth Valley Borough Council
Planning consent for cable routeWansbeck District Council
Harbour ActBlyth Harbour Commission
Fishing AgreementBlyth Fishermens Association
Site investigation agreementCrown Estate

  We suggest that the DTI's consents unit (ORCU) might usefully furnish the committee with their current understanding of necessary consents, including those that concern public rights.

  Question 66

  Total sales of electricity in 2001-02 amounted to 310,000 GWh. The forecast for 2010 is that this will grow to 324,000 GWh—which means that the Renewables Obligation target of 10.4 per cent will require 33,600 GWh of electricity from renewables. By the end of 2000, generation from technologies currently eligible under the Renewables Obligation totalled around 4,200 GWh. This means that an increase in renewable generation of some 29,000 GWH will be required over the next nine years if the RO target is to be met, an increase in capacity of over 3,200 GWh each year. For wind power to contribute half of the Renewables Obligation target, would mean some 1,600 GW delivered power added each year. Is it realistic to think this rate can be achieved given the present planning arrangements and policy instruments?

  Assuming an equal distribution over each of the eight years (which is not the case in the Renewables Obligation profile) and assuming that you mean 1,600 GWh, we assert that it is realistic. The following is an illustration.

  Assuming a typical Vestas V66 1.65MW machine, installed in conditions of 8m/s and with 95 per cent availability, approximately 365 machines (ie one per day) would be necessary to produce in total by the end of the period, the additional 14,400 GWh that corresponds to the extra 5 per cent discussed by the Committee.

  We must emphasise that this is an illustrative calculation: larger or smaller machines and/or better or worse wind regimes would influence the actual number. Equally, this calculation assumes more development offshore than onshore; were this to be reversed we would project that a proportionately higher rate of deployment would be required.

  However, it is technically possible to achieve such a rate of deployment, given satisfactory planning, market and regulatory conditions. By way of illustration, in Germany during 2001, 2,659MW of new wind capacity was installed, equivalent to 7.28MW per day. Typical turbine sizes installed were 1MW+, therefore the number of turbines was in the order of five per day. A similar rate of deployment has been achieved in previous years, for example 1668MW in 2000, (4.75MW/day, 19 machines per week). German capacity is now 8750MW, approximately 3.5 per cent of national demand.

  Question 74

  Around 15,000 are now employed in the Danish wind energy industry. The Danish Association calculates a total of ca. 50,000 jobs worldwide. The German Wind Energy Association now claims 30,000 directly and indirectly employed by its domestic wind industry. The Isle of Lewis wind farm is projected to generate approximately 150 manufacturing jobs and a similar number in construction of the scheme. Further employment will be created in the related sub-sea cable laying necessary to bring the output to the mainland.

February 2002

12   "Planning for wind energy. A guide for regional targets", published by BWEA. Back

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