DG003 build nearing completion

DG003, Westray

With just the final electrical connection to go our turbine on the Orkney island of Westray is just a couple of weeks away from final commissioning.

Talbot Farm gets go-ahead

After some considerable amount of time in the appeal process the Inspectorate has finally allowed our appeal for a mid-size wind turbine at Talbot Farm overlooking the M4.

The application was refused permission by South Gloucestershire District Council in 2012 who cited unacceptable impacts on landscape and nearby heritage assets. The Inspector disagreed ruling that impacts were “less than substantial” and fully reversible.

The full appeal decision can be downloaded here.

First community payout from Rogershill

Way back in 2010 we presented details of our Rogershill Farm wind turbine to the both the Parish Council and general community of Bere Regis. At the time we made a public commitment to make generous community reward payments to the council for re-investment back into local good causes – not just once, but every year for the life of the wind turbine.

The Rogershill wind turbine received planning permission in late 2011 and was finally commissioned in November 2012.

We are now delighted to come good on our promise and make the first donation to the Parish Council for the sum of…..

… covering the first 4 months of operations. We understand that the donation will be initially be used towards a “kick wall” and outdoor gym for local children! We hope this is just the start of a series of new projects that our funding will make possible.

Last week, in conjunction with announcements regarding new planning guidance from DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government), DECC announced that wind farms should increase the level of annual community rewards fivefold – from £1000 to £5000 per megawatt (MW). Based on current forecasts we expect the 500kW Rogershill turbine to return an equivalent of over £10,000 per MW per year!

Green Cornwall Show 2013

We will be attending the Green Cornwall Show on June 27th – 28th on stand 49 in the Robertson Trading Zone.

For more information on the show itself please visit the Heartlands website.

 

Happy Gigawatt Day

Some time last week while no-one was watching and without any fanfare, we generated our 1,000,000’th kilowatt-hour of clean, green electricity.. so to put this right we would like to wish everyone a very….

happygigawattday

2012 report card

After a very busy year in which our first two turbines were commissioned, December turned out to be a stellar month with windspeeds well above average over much of the holiday period.

DG001 – Commissioned January 2012

Now running smoothly after some initial teething troubles with local grid instability resulting in frequent shutdowns. A faulty anemometer was replaced in the summer during the scheduled service and more recently some electronic upgrades have been made to the controller. We are now nearing the end of the first full 12 months of production with high expectations for the next year!

DG002 – Commissioned November 2012

Summer 2012 wet weather made construction and installation a nightmare with on-site conditions resembling a swamp at times. As a result the build took much longer than predicted with final commissioning delayed until the Autumn. Our luck did not improve when the failure of a nearby substation caused a power surge which damaged some components in the turbine controller. These were replaced and extra fuse protection has now been installed (also at DG001) to prevent any re-occurrence. Service technicians recently undertook the 500hr “shakedown” and pronounced a clean bill of health.

Some minor damage to the turbine door lock was discovered and a CCTV system has now been installed as a precaution.

DG003/DG004 – Scheduled for installation Summer-Autumn 2013

Pre-installation project development continues with connection and power purchase agreements at both sites.

Planning

Planning appeals at both Apex and Talbot Farm are now well under way with final submissions having been made to the Planning Inspectorate. A further appeal at Brayton Park (for a modification to an existing permission) will be submitted very shortly with every expectation that it will be allowed as per the original appeal.

Amended application for JPA gains officer approval (yet again!)

UPDATE (11/10/2012)

At the previous development committee meeting members could not agree to pass the proposals despite firm backing from planning officers, instead deferring until the next meeting on October 16th. The updated planning officer report is now even more strongly recommending permission is granted.

Its hard to see how (or why)  the members would now refuse permission without looking unreasonable, remembering of course that planning permission for a turbine at this location was already granted at appeal AND costs were awarded against the authority.

Fingers crossed that all concerned see reason.


ORIGINAL (06/09/2012)

Following our successful appeal for a single wind turbine in Cumbria, we are pleased  that the revised application at JPA has been recommended for approval by planning officers at Allerdale District Council.

The application goes before the development committee next week and we are hoping that members will vote to pass the proposals.

The revised application would actually see a turbine model that is both more powerful and quieter than the existing permitted model – so clearly it is in everyone’s interest for the plans to be approved.

Apex MX making the news again..

Today’s Droitwich Advertiser reports on calls from the so-called Tibberton Action Group (TAG) to reject the proposals for a medium size wind turbine at the Apex motocross site next to the M5 motorway despite a recommendation to pass by Wychavon planning officers. TAG claim the siting near to the motorway is dangerous even though the Highways Agency have given the project the all clear.

The 91m tall turbine would be 140m from the M5. Of note is the much larger 125m Ecotricity turbine in Reading which is only 150m from the M4. Clearly wind turbines can co-exist with major roads without incident since the severe weather conditions that cause ice to build up on the blades typically only happen one day per year in the UK. Keeping the turbine stopped until the ice has melted mitigates any risk. Still, TAG maintain that there is “a real risk of the turbine causing a major accident with significant loss of life” and that their “engineers” have calculated that huge lumps of ice could be thrown at 200mph to almost a kilometre awayNo such evidence has been produced for scrutiny in their submission to the planning authority however.

Recent research papers have concluded the chance of being hit by ice thrown from a wind turbine at 150m is 1 in 1,000,000 which is about the same as the risk of getting struck by lightning. As above fitting ice sensors to detect the formation of ice before it becomes a problem almost completely eliminates any residual risk.

TAG also insinuate that the turbine will not be economically viable, although without the benefit of project capital costs this assertion can only be described as uninformed opinion at best and certainly not a valid planning matter on which the proposals could be refused. TAG point to the rumours that George Osbourne wants to redirect subsidies away from renewables and into nuclear power, however this highlights a misunderstanding of the current schemes since the Feed in Tariff is guaranteed until at least 2030 and at the prevailing rate (index linked) when the turbine becomes operational. Subsidies for future schemes may well drop but this would not affect operational plant. Furthermore, support for nuclear is at an all time low and expected to add £600 annually to the average household energy bill – compared to just £6 annually for wind.

In their most recent letter to the planning authority, TAG claim to have almost 90% support for their objections among villagers. However the Office of National Statistics lists Tibberton as having 482 residents in 194 dwellings. TAG have only 111 signatures on their petition which is less than 25%.

In a Worcester Evening News poll from earlier this year a whopping 67% of WEN readers said they supported wind turbines. In a recent poll for the Independent newspaper 68% of participants said wind power was an acceptable  price for green energy with an even higher 79% in the 18-45 age groups.

DistGen MD, John Zamick said “the level of opposition has been somewhat surprising – you’d think that we were proposing a monster wind  farm rather than a single medium sized turbine.”