Responding to part 3 of the local plan consultation- sites for renewable energy

ACT plans to respond to the wind and solar energy section of TDC’s third part of its consultation on the local plan. We encourage you to do the same. To find out more about these proposals, how to respond and how to share your views

On 15th November Teignbridge District Council launched the third part of its consultation on the local plan. This third part of the consultation covers Renewable Energy, Gypsy and Travellers and Residential Sites Options.  The consultation closes on the 24th January 2022.  The Renewable energy part of the consultation covers site options for Wind energy as well as policies in respect of Wind and Solar energy.

ACT plans to respond to the sites and policies for wind and solar energy.  We encourage you to do this direct to TDC.  We also welcome your views and comments, so we have included a facility for you to do this. 

We believe that renewables are an essential part of the overall effort to remain below the Climate tipping point, caused by temperature rise of more than 1.5oC.  For more information on Climate Change please refer to Why this is an Emergency.  To read about actions needed, please see our Energy & Built Environment webpage.

When responding to the TDC on-line consultation, each wind site has a number of criteria against which free text can be entered.  You can also comment on policies associated with the potential solar areas identified for Teignbridge.

To help you see all the information provided by the consultation, as well as other related information, we have extended our Local Plan mapping data web page to cover proposed wind sites. Please read the instructions first to learn about how to use this data and how to enter comments you’d like to share with ACT against each site.

Although solar PV, especially with Li Ion battery storage has its part to play, this is mainly for smaller behind-the-meter applications.  Ideally rooftops or ground mounted close to buildings.  The following headings therefore represent our current views on the part3 consultation for Wind.  We welcome your input on this.

Why we need local wind

In order to stand any chance of restricting global temperature rise to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels everyone needs to cut their greenhouse gas emissions as fast as possible. According to Our World in Data 73.2% of global greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to burning fossil fuels to generate energy.  To rapidly reduce emissions from energy production we all need to:

  • Reduce energy consumption, i.e. cut out waste and reduce non-essential consumption.
  • Increase the efficiency of the devices/processes that use this energy, e.g. A rated or higher.
  • Electrify transport, heating and industrial processes as these are the main consumers of fossil fuels.  Electrification is currently the most effective way to decarbonise energy as renewables become more widely deployed.

Electrification of transport and heat will increase electricity demand, if sufficient low carbon generation isn’t added, this could cause the Carbon Intensity of grid electricity to increase, the opposite of what is needed.  This is because more gas will be used to supply the additional energy needed.

The first wind farm in the UK was opened at Delabole in Cornwall in 1991. Between 2009 and 2020 wind energy in the UK grew by 715% , but most of that generation is on-shore in Scotland and off-shore, mainly the east coast of England. These are a long way from Teignbridge involving electricity transmission losses.

On-shore wind is a mature technology, which is also currently the cheapest source of electricity and has one of the lowest Carbon Intensities.  It is needed as part of the energy mix and can be deployed now.

Teignbridge currently has negligible wind generation, but has significant solar generation in the sunnier summer months. In winter, just as energy is needed for electrified heating (e.g. heat pumps), the local Carbon Intensity of the electricity supply is at its highest. If supply and demand were better matched for more of the time, Teignbridge’s Carbon Footprint would be reduced.  Wind generation is highest during the colder months.

How much of Teignbridge’s demand could be generated

The consultation estimates that an additional 10,000 homes would require 66GWh of electricity per year, so each home is estimated to consume 6.6MWh of electricity per year. If this level of consumption were repeated across all homes in Teignbridge after full electrification of heating and transport, then annual demand would be in the region of 462GWh.

The University of Exeter has estimated the generation from the sites identified in the consultation would be 217GWh using a mix of 1MW and 2MW wind turbines, this would be 47% of Teignbridge’s estimated electricity demand.

Wind turbines are designed for an IEC wind class from I for the strongest winds through to IV for the lowest wind speeds. The site with the strongest winds in Teignbridge has class II winds, most are III or IV. Turbines designed for class I winds have much smaller rotors and towers than those designed for class IV for the same power rating.

We believe that it would be more effective to place higher rated turbines at sites with the strongest wind classification.  This is not only more cost effective but also minimizes some of the potential adverse impacts of having wind turbines in Teignbridge.  We believe such an approach would probably meet or exceed all of Teignbridge’s estimated electricity demand.

We have placed turbines in line with the consultation to illustrate their potential impacts.  Using Local Plan mapping data web page, you can see the example turbines placed to comply with various restrictions.  Two example scenarios can be selected, those specified by the consultation (default scenario) and fewer higher rated turbines.  We have done this to illustrate the reduced noise impact of these higher rated turbines.

Proximity to Housing- Noise from wind turbines

Modern wind turbines are remarkably quiet compared to a decade or more ago. We have provided visual outlines where the sound power from the turbines is just lower than 45dBA, 40dBA and 35dBA.  The noise level inside a quiet library is 35dBA, 40dBA is the level in a quiet rural area when the wind is not blowing. When placing turbines on the maps, the default noise level at neighbouring properties is set to be less than 40dBA.

Many of the proposed sites have a relatively high ambient noise level, often from road traffic and proximity to built up areas.  While an ambient day time noise level in some location may well be 35dBA or less, this is quite unusual in the vicinity of the proposed sites and would need to be considered if and when these sites are developed.

Noise from wind turbines is site and wind speed/direction dependant, so the mapping circles we have provided are only indicative.  More detailed and specific measurements will be made as part of any and every turbine application, so the local community will have the ability to comment.

The UK comprehensive guidelines for Assessment & Rating of Noise from Wind Farms quotes the following from the WHO:

Few people are seriously annoyed during the daytime at noise levels below around 55dB(A)Leq outdoors. Noise levels during the evening and night should be 5 to 10dB lower than during the day

Ecological and Land Use Impacts

The main ecological concern of wind turbines relates to bats and birds. For both bats and birds there are mitigation solutions, which suggests that a strategy of monitoring and mitigation is likely to be effective.

Apart from the relatively small loss of land needed to support a wind turbine and gain maintenance access, there are no other significant impacts to land use or its ecological value.

Bats

Exeter University undertook research on the interaction between bats and wind turbines for DEFRA by monitoring a number of wind sites, a range of wind conditions and recording bat fatalities.  More accessible references, are:

It seems that some relatively simple mitigation measures can allow wind turbines to generate most of the time:

  • Turbines only turned off when there is a high risk to bats (example low wind, summer evenings), turbines can now have this automated.
  • Ongoing monitoring to refine the circumstances when turning off needs to occur.
  • Absence of bats at the pre-construction stage is not a good indicator of their absence during turbine operation.  Subsequent mitigation is more likely to be effective than pre-construction surveys.
  • There are devices that emit an ultrasonic signal, which effectively blocks the bat’s radar, so they do not approach the turbine. This is mounted on the turbine

Birds

Several references suggest there are much higher numbers of bird deaths in general from cats, collision with windows and traffic compared to deaths from wind turbines.

This reference discusses both bats and birds. It suggests that large birds are more at risk than smaller ones.  It reports Norwegian research where turbines with one blade painted in a contrasting colour has dramatically reduced fatalities.

Infrastructure and Highways Impacts

These include site access during construction, especially for larger turbines.  The consultation states that these will be considered on a case by case.

Connection to the electricity network is a key factor.  There does not appear to be much consideration for this in terms of site selection.  We have included mapping information on current electricity distribution/transmission lines and sub-station.

The distribution network operator Western Power Distribution (WPD) has been made aware of these potential sites.  This information should allow them to better consider strategic network reinforcement, something they are not currently required to do by the regulator Ofgem.

Landscape and Heritage Impacts

Undoubtedly most wind turbines will have a visual impact.  Like electricity pylons, roads and housing developments, they are manmade structures in the natural environment.  The question we need to answer is what the balance is between the benefits and the detriments.

To minimise their visual impact, wind turbines are painted white or grey to blend into the sky when viewed from the ground.  The lower part of the mast can be painted to allow this to blend into the surrounding’s natural structures.  For safety reasons wind turbines need to be visible from overhead low flying aircraft.

We are more likely to accept new structures that are familiar to us, like roads and housing.  This despite them having a greater detrimental visual, ecological and of course greenhouse gas emission impact compared to wind turbines.  Road and housing are also more likely to persist for a lot longer than wind turbines, if eventually we are able to generate our energy from other low Carbon technologies.  We could also limit wind turbine deployment if we become more careful about how much energy we consume and distribute energy better.

Other Notes

This space is made available in the on-line consultation for making comments on the benefit and impact of wind turbines not covered above.

We believe that if we are to avoid the existential threats resulting from Climate Change, on-shore wind turbines will be necessary.  They are by far the most effective renewable technology available to us now.  Nothing comes without a degree of negative impact, we need to minimise the impact of wind turbines.  The consultation materials list many of these safeguards, you can also read general references to these on the internet, e.g. for on-shore wind.

24 thoughts on “Responding to part 3 of the local plan consultation- sites for renewable energy”

  1. Thank you for a comprehensive view of the need, effects etc of wind power. Most positioning of wind generators are satisfactory. Please advise the energy cost of Manufacture. Erection, Maintenance and life expectancy of turbines .
    Thanks
    Charles

    1. There are many references to the energy and greenhouse gas emissions associated with different Renewable technologies. The normalised unit used to compare these in terms of their impact on Climate change is their life-cycle Carbon Intensity (tonne CO2e/kWh).

      Rather than sending links to complicated academic studies of these, the following is a more accessible link to the approximate Carbon Intensity of different energy sources.
      These are roughly in line with the various academic and more realistic commercial sources, so hopefully a useful succinct comparison.
      https://impactful.ninja/energy-sources-with-the-lowest-carbon-footprint/

      Fuad
      Coordinator of the ACT Energy & Built Environment group.

  2. Charles thanks for your question.
    From manufacturer’s data that I used as a reference, the design service life of turbines is between 20 and 25 years. I can’t answer the questions on energy in manufacture, erection and maintenance directly, but one specific turbine’s data has the following figures:
    Carbon footprint: 6.24g CO2e/kWh
    Harvest factor: 75
    Energy payback time: 8 months.
    This is for a large turbine rated at 4.2kW
    This carbon footprint looks good against average grid intensity nearer 200g CO2e/kWh
    These figures are probably quoted as part of a recent life cycle assessment, as earlier turbines from the same manufacturer do not quote these figures. It is also not clear what is included in these. I would expect manufacture and maintenance, but erection is more variable and would include: transport to site, ground works and foundations on site, erection of tower and rotor, connection to electricity network. If a manufacturer quoted these they must be just an example. The figures given assume a generation at 3.5kW. An absolute figure for manufacture and maintainance, has probably been calculated but isn’t in the public domain as far as I am aware.

  3. WS13 East of Fordland Farm, Ide
    One of the “Sensitivities” listed on the mapping document for the site above says:

    “Feedback from industry representatives that proximity to the village of Ide, including the village school and church, may discourage wind turbine developers”

    I would be interested in your comments as to why the proximity to the village school has been singled out in this way.

    1. I think it is proximity to the village as a whole that is the issue. From the point of view of a wind turbine developer they do not want invest time and money in a development which is planning permission is likely to be turned down after the appeal process has gone through.
      Appendix 1 – Sustainability Appraisal of Wind Turbine site options within Teignbridge gives a more detailed appraisal of each site. Under the well-being heading for this site it says:
      “Existing residential properties lie within 450m of the site and development could have significant negative effects on residential amenity from noise and potential flicker from spinning blades for the duration of the development. However, effects will depend on the size of the turbine, and the topography of the land and, as such, are uncertain (- -?). ”

      It is likely that a developer would prefer to put a single large turbine on this site, which is technically feasible, but proximity of the village would probably rule out that option, which might make the site commercially unviable.

      1. Thanks, Jules.

        You “think” that it’s the proximity to the village that’s the issue …. so why have they mentioned the school in particular? Why mention the school at all?

  4. WS1 East of Kingscourt Farm, Dunsford

    I live to the west of this site and my main concern is the potential noise disturbance.

    Your document contains the following statement:

    The noise level inside a quiet library is 35dBA, 40dBA is the level in a quiet rural area when the wind is not blowing.

    I have installed a noise meter app on my phone. Admittedly, measurements from this would probably not stand up to scientific scrutiny. However, the readings taken at various times have been interesting. On many occasions, the minimum noise level is far less than 35 Db, probably closer to 25Db. Something like a tweeting bird or barking dog in the distance raises the average to over 35Db, but these sounds are transient. Measurements taken in the evening are a lot less.

    I did raise this question with my Parish Council Chairman, Paul French. He returned the following statement, from an unnamed contact:

    “I found this, older, EU report and map which suggests Devon’s background noise is 22-34dBA”.

    I have read with interest, and horror, the experiences of the residents close to the Den Brook wind farm (North Tawton area) and the problems they experienced with the measurement of noise.

    All we are asking is for fair, transparent and totally independent background noise baseline measurements to be taken at potentially affected residential properties.

    I would be interested to have your opinion on background noise levels.

    1. The figure of 35dB originates from a dti report on wind noise from wind turbines, this is a link https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/49869/ETSU_Full_copy__Searchable_.pdf
      The proposed Teignbridge policy around noise from Wind Turbines says:
      “A noise report undertaken by a qualified acoustician is required as part of any wind turbine planning application. This will enable an assessment of the noise produced by the turbine, both on its own and cumulatively with any other turbines in the area, and whether it will have an adverse effect on the amenity of nearby noise sensitive premises (e.g. homes, schools).”
      This seems to be what you are asking for.

      1. Thanks Jules.

        I was aware of the ETSU document.

        Here are some comments I’ve seen about the ETSU document:

        – Inadequacy of ETSU-R-97 to provide protection:
        – Allows greater noise at night
        – Fails to deal adequately with the dramatic effects upon noise distribution
        produced by wind shear
        – Allows averaging of quiet periods with noisy ones
        – Excludes low frequency noise and infra-sound.

        It’s the “averaging” aspect that concerns me. As I said in my original comment, the background noise level at my property is a lot lower than 35Db, but the average is increased by the intermittent noises in a rural area (e.g. birds tweeting, dogs barking). This is a lot different from having a continual background noise at that level.

        I would hope that the noise measurements would be taken over a sufficient period of time to take into account all weather and atmospheric conditions.

        I would be happier with the Teignbridge document if it said “qualified INDEPENDENT acoustician”.

    2. I have now done an internet search for information about noise from the Den Brook wind farm. There is plenty of information about the campaign during planning and leading up to construction, including an hour long TV programme that I had hoped would shed some light, but sadly it only really covered the planning enquiry.
      I have found little after its construction (as opposed to at the planning stage), and have found some references to the amplitude modulation planning condition at about the time of its construction, but haven’t found any substantiated references after that.
      So I wonder if there is still a problem now that the wind farm is up and running.

      1. Thanks Jules,

        That’s what I tried to find too, but couldn’t find it. I considered contacting one of the Parish Councils directly, but thought that this would be better done by our Parish Council, or perhaps yourselves.

        A report I found about noise (sorry, can’t remember where) said something like 20% of installations cause noise complaints after construction. These vary from mechanical noise from the gears etc, other construction problems which make the structures themselves noisy, plus noise related to the movement of the blades.

        I don’t know if there are any exiting wind sites in Teignbridge? I know there was one lone turbine up near Teignmouth somewhere. I’m wondering if the Teignbridge Environmental Health department are already familiar with complaints about this sort of noise?

      2. The planners at TDC and other authorities specify reports that they require the developer to produce to support their application, so these will be paid for by the developer. TDC can require that these are done by someone with a recognised qualification and that they be a member of a professional body, but in reality that doesn’t make them independent. I don’t see how independence could be achieved because someone will have to pay for the report, so whoever that is will set the brief.
        I must say that I have little experience of how quiet your environment must be, having lived by a railway line for 30 years up to 2011 and now being on the edge of Newton Abbot. I am currently away by the sea which kept me awake for the first night, but the second night I didn’t hear it. The point being that most people adjust surprisingly quickly to small noises at night.
        I see the onus of proof for a change in noise standards regarding wind farms to be with those who think the standards are inadequate, rather that expect TDC to follow standards that are more stringent than those that are generally accepted.
        I have read that sound metering Apps are generally designed for measuring excessive noise in the workplace, and do not always perform that accurately at the other end of the scale. As this is clearly a concern have you considered getting the sound power levels where you live measured by an acoustician?

        1. Hi Jules,

          I’m not sure that people do adjust to small noises at night. Could you, for instance, sleep with a dripping tap? Just to bore you …. my husband and I were kept awake for a while by a really small noise we couldn’t identify, which eventually turned out to be a small bug eating through the wood of a chest of drawers.
          Another thing is the frequency (not time frequency) of the noise. When there is an event on at Great Fulford, well over a mile away as the crow flies, we can often ‘feel’ the bass late at night, even in a house with double glazing and the windows closed. We can’t hear the tune (if any!). You will hear similar complaints throughout the Teign Valley, if someone is holding an illegal rave miles away, towards Chudleigh or on Haldon. It’s this low frequency noise which concerns me.
          I don’t think people do appreciate how quiet it can be, in the countryside. Please do feel free to call in and get an idea of what I’m talking about. Address given on request!

  5. Re: wind generation .. your document above says:

    “Wind generation is highest during the colder months”.

    Since I learnt about the possibility of a wind farm in my area (early November), I’ve been taking more notice of wind conditions around my property.

    I would say that November and December have had some of the “stillest” days and nights this year. I’ve also been looking at the National Grid figures for wind generation nationally and these seem to have gone hand-in-hand with my perception of the wind conditions locally. I realise that during this time we have also had major gales and storms, but surely the problem is that wind generation is so unreliable?

    I know that the next step is probably some sort of feasibility study into wind conditions at each site so i hope these will also be made public, when completed.

    As an aside ….. I don’t understand how wind turbines work! Does the direction of rotation change with the direction of the wind? If the wind comes mainly from the west then presumably they would rotate one way, but if the wind changes to an easterly would they stop rotating or would they change direction?

    And what are the rough operating wind speed ranges of a turbine? I’ve read that they have to close down in very strong winds and can’t operate in very light winds?

    Thanks

    1. The statement “Wind generation is highest during the colder months”. is based on averages over a number of years, rather than observation of a specific year, and is in contrast to photo-voltaic, which is least productive in december and january, and is not productive at night. The point being that solar and wind energy combined with storage are complimentary, so it is likely that when one is not generating the other is. The probability of harnessing available energy is enhanced if a geographically diverse set of sites is used because it is unlikely that the weather is the same everywhere. Similarly we should rely on a diverse set of technologies for energy to ensure continuity. Wind is an important part of that picture not the whole.
      Here is climate data for Exeter
      https://www.meteoblue.com/en/weather/historyclimate/climatemodelled/exeter_united-kingdom_2649808
      This includes a chart of wind speeds for each month which shows that on average in December and January the wind speed in Exeter was at or above 12mph or 5.5 metres/second (m/s) for at least 25 days in the month. This site appears to be a bit windier than Exeter. At this speed a suitably matched turbine will produce about 50% of its rated output, and would achieve its peak output at a wind speed of 8.5m/s, about 19mph, and then produce its peak output until the wind speed reaches its cut-out point of 34m/s or 76mph. From the climate link the wind speed is about 17mph for about 20 days of january and 19 days of december, and there are about 2.5 days above 38mph, which suggests that the number of days above 76mph is much less than that. So that suggests that a turbine would generate at or near full power for 61% (19 days out of 31) of the time and above 50% of full power for a further 16% of the time (5 days out of 31). So based on that argument it should generate about 70% of its rated power.
      The wind speeds used by Exeter University came from a nationwide database of wind speeds for each kilometre square which is used as an initial guide to indicate where wind development might be effective. A developer would probably then undertake further measurements as verification.
      When the wind changes direction a sensor on the turbine head detects this and the head is rotated so that the rotor faces the wind.

  6. Thanks Jules.

    I’m hoping there may be a typo in what you’ve written “so it is likely that when one is not generating the other is not”. Sorry, can’t find a smiley-face emoji.

    Thanks for taking the time for a full explanation.

    This would seem to imply that, on average figures, we can expect the turbines to sit stationary for about 7 days out of 31. Quite an expensive modern sculpture park!

    1. Hi Beryl,
      Jules is away at the moment, so I thought I’d clarify a possible misunderstanding.

      There is a significant difference between Power and Energy. Peak (rated) Power is simply the potential to genrate up to that level, e.g. 2.35 MW. Energy is the measure of delivered electrical energy, e.g. at average wind speeds of 7.6 m/s at the location, the annual Energy generated would be 7.28 GWh. That is a factor of ~3,000 for Energy generated to rated Power, for that average speed (calculated from 7280 MWh / 2.35 MW).

      A typical UK home consumes ~3 MWh, so this turbine is said to supply all the electricity for an equivalent of ~2,400 homes. I’d say that is not bad for a single turbine, especially as this its generation is well spread daily/seasonally reducing the need for storage.

      The other point to remember is that Renewable energy sources come free (i.e. perpetually replenished in our timeframe at no cost in Carbon or £), namely from the sun (for wind, PV, hydro, wave and heat pumps if supplied by low-Carbon electricity) and the moon (for tidal). The efficiency of the conversion engine, in this case a wind turbine, is only relevant in terms of the embodied Carbon and the embodied cost of making/operating it.

      Onshore wind is by far the cheapest and lowest Carbon Intensity Renewable technology available to us today (i.e. kg of CO2e and £ per kWh of energy generated).

      I do agree that it is an expensive modern sculpture, so a good job that it has an essential other benefit which is to help us mitigate Climate Change.

      Fuad
      Coordinator Energy & Built Environment group

      1. Hi Fuad,

        Thanks for the reply.

        Today is January 11th. I call that winter. From the National Grid figures, wind is generating 5.11Gw and the demand is 42GW. I think that demand figure is probably below average for this time of year.

        So, if wind is to fulfil all the demand, we would need about 8 times as many wind installations throughout the country, off and onshore. This may be possible – I don’t know.

        If, for any reason, wind cannot fulfil all the demand then there needs to be a backup supply, unless we want power cuts. As I understand it, we have to pay more for gas etc. if we buy it on an “as and when needed” basis.

        Plus, if we build all these wind farms to service the total winter demand, what happens during the other seasons when more solar energy is fed into the grid, and possibly the winds are stronger. Again, as I understand it, we have to pay wind farm operators to STOP feeding into the grid if too much energy is being generated.

        So, you say “The other point to remember is that Renewable energy sources come free”. This may be the case if the wind blows when and where you want it to, and the sun shines when the wind isn’t blowing. Otherwise, it seems that we energy-bill-payers are paying over the odds for our free, renewable energy just to keep the money rolling in to the wind and solar farm operators.

        I’m happy for you to correct me if any of this is an urban myth.

        1. Hi Beryl,
          I think you got the long and detailed answer from Jules (currently in a warmer and sunnier place so should be on holiday!).

          The short answer is that you are still mistaking Power for Energy. Have another read of what I wrote (and the details Jules provided). If you are still confused as to why your point about instantaneous Power generation or even a single day’s Energy generation is not the correct way of considering the annual non-fossil Energy generated (including the emissions needed to make/operate the plant), we need to talk. Please e-mail me on fuad@actionclimateteignbridge.org to arrange this.

          Best wished Fuad
          coordinator for the ACT Energy and Built Environment group

    2. “This would seem to imply that, on average figures, we can expect the turbines to sit stationary for about 7 days out of 31. Quite an expensive modern sculpture park!”

      I doubt that the turbines would be stopped for 7 days they just wouldn’t generate much. I would look at this a different way by considering two scenarios:
      A. Without turbines , fossil fuels (e.g. gas) would be burnt on 31 days of the month to produce electricity.
      B. With turbines, fossil fuels would be burnt on only 7 days of the month to produce electricity.
      This means that the amount of gas used in scenario B is 7/31 ~22.6% of the amount used in scenario A.

      Firstly consider this from a carbon emissions point of view:
      The emissions from a turbine including manufacture, transport to site, preparation of the site and operation of the turbine are in the order of 11 grams/kWh
      The emissions from electricity production in a CCGT turbine are 490g/ kWh. (figures from https://gridwatch.co.uk/co2-emissions)
      So in scenario A the emissions would be 490g CO2e/kWh for the month.
      Whereas in scenario B the emissions would be 119g CO2e/kWh
      As well as the benefit in carbon emissions reduction there are some harder to quantify benefits:
      – The cost of gas is volatile as we have seen over the last few months, whereas once installed the cost of renewables is predictable.
      – The supply of gas is now in the hands of foreign powers who look after their own interests rather than the UK’s.
      – Currently gas prices are high and likely to remain so, so it is cheaper to provide electricity from renewables.
      – The UK has limited storage capacity for gas, so reducing its use makes what gas is stored last longer.

  7. “Today is January 11th. I call that winter. From the National Grid figures, wind is generating 5.11Gw and the demand is 42GW. I think that demand figure is probably below average for this time of year.

    So, if wind is to fulfil all the demand, we would need about 8 times as many wind installations throughout the country, off and onshore. This may be possible – I don’t know.”

    It is not a good idea to base energy policy on a single day, as I could pick another day that better suited my case and come to a different conclusion. A number of studies have been done based on computer simulation based on actual weather records over a long period (in the case of the CAT study 10 years at half hourly intervals) See https://cat.org.uk/info-resources/zero-carbon-britain/research-reports/zero-carbon-britain-rising-to-the-climate-emergency/?gclid=CjwKCAiAlfqOBhAeEiwAYi43F98g1vNaptwenvYllPG6ARPYD7ixMkm78zOn7dmk_C3SQsgdT-gRzRoC09IQAvD_BwE

    1. There are a number of other technologies already being rolled out which need to be considered in the mix of a (near) zero carbon electricity supply:
      – Energy storage both utility scale and domestic scale.
      – Demand side management.
      Utility scale electricity storage has many forms including lithium ion batteries, flow batteries, compressed air and cryogenic storage, gravitational storage and pumped hydro, including high density fluids. This Guardian article gives a bit more detail on some of these https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/jan/10/heres-how-to-solve-the-uk-energy-crisis-for-the-long-term-store-more-power?
      There is currently 16.1GW of utility scale battery storage in the pipeline and a further 6GW from other technologies making 22GW in total according to https://www.edie.net/news/8/UK-s-energy-storage-pipeline-passes-16GW/
      Some people including myself have home storage as well in a domestic battery with capacity 13.5kWh and an EV capacity 58kWh, both of these can be charged from solar in the summer, and can be charged when electricity is available at other times. By available I mean either cheapest on a time of use tariff, or in future when demand side response (DSR) technology run by the Distribution System Operator (WPD) is introduced.
      what DSR will do is advertise to subscribers that capacity is available to do things like charging batteries, EVs, running heat pumps and so on, and software running in the home will respond by switching on loads. This will be done at a very local level to prevent issues like several EV owners trying to charge at the same time and overloading the grid.

  8. “Otherwise, it seems that we energy-bill-payers are paying over the odds for our free, renewable energy just to keep the money rolling in to the wind and solar farm operators.”
    If you look at the Den Brook example the wind farm pays £36,000 into a community fund for the benefit of its local community fund, and gives a discounted electricity price to those within the vicinity of the windfarm.
    http://www.den-brook.co.uk/community-benefits/community-benefit-fund/
    https://www.creditoncourier.co.uk/article.cfm?id=145389&headline=%C2%A3165,000%20in%20grants%20given%20out%20as%20part%20of%20Den%20Brook%20wind%20farm%27s%20community%20fund%20to-date&searchyear=2021

    A business model that returns a benefit to the community around a wind farm is clearly desirable. Other models include cooperative ownership and community energy.

  9. Thanks, Jules and Fuad, for your comprehensive replies to my layman’s questions.

    I think we can probably leave the discussion there, as the end date for the consultation is close.

    No doubt these discussions will surface again as developers move into the planning process.

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