Wanstrow villagers visit DG004

Today we were pleased to welcome a group of keen ramblers from Wanstrow who chose our Landmark Farm turbine as the destination for their annual May bank holiday walk. Distgen staff were on had to answer questions and after were invited back to the village for refreshments during which we canvassed the opinions of those present to see how their reaction to the wind turbine matches any pre-conceived ideas (or even fears) they had.

Wind windspeeds of 10m/s the wind turbine was running at full power and all present agreed it was quieter than had been expected. Some said that initially there had been concerns in the village about how the turbine would look but again, post construction, the feeling was the turbine was not as large or visible as had been expected.

All agreed the turbine is a positive asset for the village and look forward to the first community reward payments which are desperately needed to fund various local projects and good causes.

 

Tories – “Get ready for shale”

Today’s announcement by the Tories that they will do  everything in their power to stop any further  on-shore wind turbines has been labelled as “pandering to potential UKIP voters” by many. By announcing the future policy now, so far ahead of next years election they also hope to damage investor confidence which could in turn see bank lending for such projects dry up. A double whammy.. Go Dave!

But, look at what else you’ll be getting should a majority Tory government be elected. Energy minister Nigel Fallon has been doing his best to promote fracking saying:

“The message is: get ready for shale”

Mr Fallon is urging communities around the country to “get behind fracking” touting the 65,000 jobs it will create. No mention of the same number currently working in the wind industry that would loose theirs. In December 2013 Mr Fallon said he wants to see 2/3’rds of England opened up for fracking.

In January the government rushed through pro-fracking planning reforms despite massive opposition in the Lords with the aim of making it harder for local planning authorities to block future shale gas developments. In today’s announcement they plan to do exactly the opposite for wind energy development and make it much easier for plans to be blocked by local councils and the minority of vocal objectors.

Its clear that a majority Conservative government would be a disaster for UK plans to become self sufficient with renewable energy. Remember shale gas is not renewable and will continue to contribute towards climate change. On that very subject we forget at our peril the latest warnings from the IPCC:

“The impacts of global warming are likely to be severe, pervasive and irreversible”

Meanwhile energy experts the world over agree that on-shore wind energy is by far the cheapest and easiest large scale renewable technology. In trying to kill it in favour of shale gas the Tories are showing their true colours – and they ‘aint green.

Much more expert reaction to the news can be found here.

2012/13 Scorecard

Since our very first wind turbine was commissioned in January 2012 we have now generated a total of 2,747,969 kWh of clean electricity and expect this to accelerate later in the year when our 4th, 5th and 6th sites become operational.

The table below shows the annual generation in killowatt-hours (kWh) from each of our three operational wind turbines.

Capture 

DG001 – Faccombe

The wind turbine has run flawlessly throughout 2013 with no unscheduled service visits required. The electricity grid connection remains constrained at 300kW but work will soon start to design a private mini-grid system to allow generator output to increase dynamically as local demand increases. This in turn will see annual generation increase accordingly.

DG002 – Bere Regis

At Rogershill farm the wind turbine has exceeded all expectations and shot past 1,000,000 kWh total generation late in 2013. A number of unscheduled visits were required to sort out teething troubles early on in the year such as a broken radiator fan blade and a failed rotor RPM sensor.

DG003 – Westray

Our latest turbine on the Orkney island of Westray has proved a challenging site to both install and commission with the latter finally completed in late November. Due to an over-subscribed local grid new generators are required to participate in an Orkney-wide smart grid system which dynamically sets permitted generation levels. As a result it will be something of a learning process for all concerned as we head into 2014.

Brayton Park turbine granted at appeal (again)

Today the Planning Inspectorate have decided to allow our appeal for the mid-sized wind turbine at Brayton Park, Aspatria in Cumbria.

Previously we had already won an appeal for a similar sized wind turbine at this site but had not been allowed to make any modifications to the permission without submitting a new planning application – which predictably led to refusal by Allerdale planning committee members (despite another recommendation to allow by planning officers) and a hence another appeal.

Residents of Allerdale may perhaps be wondering whether the council is spending their money wisely in their continued obstruction of any and all wind energy related applications. Previously it was leaked that the council had spent 80 thousands pounds fighting (and loosing) multiple appeal cases.

Naturally we are delighted by this decision and look forward to Brayton becoming our 6th operational turbine.

The inspectors decision can be downloaded here.

Gov U-turn to add ££££’s on energy bills

According to a new report by the independent Committee on Climate Change (CCC) the average UK household could see annual energy bills rise by £8,000 if recent Government u-turns on CO2 reduction go ahead.

Key to the new findings are the decision by George Osbourne to delay new cuts in carbon emissions by 10 years – to 2030. The CCC estimate this will cost the UK economy an additional £100 billion because, as is well known, the earlier we tackle climate change the cheaper and vice versa.

If expected increases in fossil fuel prices occur the cost soars to £200 billion.

“This report shows the clear economic benefits of acting to cut emissions through the 2020s. This provides insurance against the increased costs and risks of climate-related damage and rising energy bills that would result from an alternative approach to reduce and delay action.” – Lord Debden, CCC chairman.

But, don’t just take  the CCC’s opinion (although they are the official body setup by the Government in response to the Climate Change Act 2008) as 100 major companies have also called upon Osbourne and Cameron to stick to the original plan. Signatories include Sainsbury, Asda, Ikea, O2, Nestle and Unilever.

Speaking for the group, Lord Adair Turner, a former director-general of the CBI, said:

“The majority of the business world is clear that ambitious and stable action to tackle climate change makes business sense. A stable policy environment is critical to attracting investment in the low-carbon sector.”

Instead, subsidies for renewables are being cut and tax breaks awarded to anyone wanting to invest in ‘fracking’. So the ‘cut’ of £50 off domestic energy bills announced last week should perhaps be viewed as nothing more than a pre-election ‘bribe’ because the warning from the CCC is clear..

Not acting fast enough to tackle climate change will cost each and every one of us dearly in the long run.

Eye of the storm

As storms battered the UK this week our wind turbine on the Orkney island of Westray was captured in this dramatic photo. We recorded sustained winds of over 76 mph with gusts of up to 100 mph causing widespread power cuts throughout the islands. Thankfully the problems were soon resolved and the turbine is up and running again.

Photo courtesy of Steven Bain.

Ironically the storm, which caused widespread flooding down the eastern coast, came in the same week the Government announced major cuts in support for solar and wind renewables together with tax breaks for fracking and a clear signal that the second “dash for gas” is well underway.

Rogershill blasts past 1GWh in 1st year

Our wind turbine at Rogershill Farm in Dorset is now one year old!

Despite a relatively wind-free summer DG002 has produced over 1,000,000 kWh of clean energy which amounts to a CO2 saving of 430,000 kg and met the annual electricity demands of 250 average households.

In June we made our first donation to Bere Regis Parish Council with 3% of all future gross income promised to community rewards.

In other news, our newest turbine (DG003) in Westray is now fully commissioned and operational. DG004 in Wanstrow (Somerset) is now under construction with foundation concrete being poured within days and DG005 in Tomarton (South Glos) scheduled for construction Spring 2014. Our first turbine in Faccombe (Hampshire) is approaching its second birthday and continues to run well.

SSE warns of blackouts this winter

Yesterdays Telegraph headline says it all:

Power crisis risk ‘worse than feared’ this winter, SSE warns

SSE head of policy conceded that blackouts were only likely if National Grid “really cocked things up”. However, it is unclear whether counting on 2GW of supply from non-existent power stations represents a cock-up or not.

Let’s hope this winters weather is not a repeat of last year just in case!

USA wind cut CO2 by 80 million tonnes in 2012

A report by the American Wind Energy Association has shown that in 2012 wind farms across the USA reached a capacity of 60GW (60,000MW) generating approximately 140 TWh (140 million MWh) resulting in a lowering of CO2 emissions by 79.9 million metric tonnes.

An equivalent saving to taking over 14 million cars off the road.

By the end of 2013 new projects are expected to increase the total to 98.9 million tonnes of CO2 which can be offset against annual US emissions of around 5.4 billion tonnes of CO2 per year.

Conversely, here in the UK the latest FITs status report from OFGEM shows that installations of all renewable technologies including wind has shrunk to its lowest level since 2011 as subsidies and planning policy put in place by the last government are slowly eroded by the Conservatives.

DG004 components arrive in Somerset

Despite the best efforts of the weather, deliveries of turbine components to our Wanstrow site started this week…