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Mixed feelings on wind farm repower bid

Plans to repower Delabole wind farm have now been unveiled prompting a sceptical response from people in the area.

Juliet Davenport, the chief executive of the company behind the plans, Good Energy, has announced the repowering of the site will probably mean the turbines will be considerably larger.

If that is the case, the Delabole site, which was the first commercial wind farm in the country, would reduce the number of turbines from eight to five.

The existing turbines measure 30 metres in height and the new ones will either be 60 metres or 70 to 80 metres in height to the hub, with three blades.

The proposal has yet to go before North Cornwall District Council’s planning committee.

Delabole’s wind farm was set up in December 1991 by Peter Edwards and his son Martin at a cost of £3.4 million. Good Energy now owns the site.

Due to the age of the site, steps need to be taken to safeguard its future and repowering is seen as a step towards this, along with increasing output.

Mr Edwards said the new proposals would cost Good Energy in the region of £9 million, would help Cornwall to meet its renewable energy targets and give a further 20 years’ life to the site.

He added that he would be sad to see the old turbines go but likened them to an old car which had to be traded in.

“When the existing wind farm is traded in for a new more efficient and productive model, I shall still be sad but pleased that it will contribute even more to Cornwall’s sustainable energy commitments,” said Mr Edwards.

Ms Davenport described the site at Delabole as her favourite and said repowering talks had been going on for some time.

As a result, the company was now undertaking environmental assessments. The public is due to be involved in consultations through a wind farm fair, which is being held on site on August 18. The results of assessments will also be available.

Independent consultants will assess the environmental impact and this will provide North Cornwall District Council’s planning department with information on which to make its decision.

If planning is granted, the new turbines could be in operation by 2009.

Fears that turbines twice the size of the existing ones could create a noise problem have been dismissed by Good Energy.

Ms Davenport said the new turbines would be more efficient, producing less noise and that the hum produced by the current turbines would disappear.

The existing wind farm supplies electricity for 3,000 homes, while the proposed new turbines would generate enough power for 10,000 homes.

Ms Davenport said: “Our aim is to prevent more than one million tonnes of carbon dioxide being released into our atmosphere. The repowered Delabole wind farm will enable us to do this over its lifetime. We hope there will be wide support for the project, but understand that not everyone will like the idea of bigger turbines. We hope that those people will be able to see the bigger picture and balance what they perceive as negatives with the wider environmental benefits.”

Keith Goodenough, chairman of the Group Against Windfarm Proliferation, said his group would be “making representation for certain,” when the matter came before planning.

“They are still a blot on the landscape if you are a lover of the countryside,” said Mr Goodenough.

John Lugg, one of the district councilors for the area, also remains sceptical over noise and intrusion aspects, despite assurances from Good Energy.

He said: “I am not totally convinced by the smooth talk of the applicants. It is all very well for those who live outside of my area to tell me of the need to expand.

“We have got to make sure the people of Delabole and the area around the wind farm is not going to be dramatically affected.

“They say they are less noisy but I am not convinced of that – the mechanics make a noise and the swish itself.”

Mr Lugg said he wanted councillors to visit a similar site prior to making any decision over an application so that they could see and hear things for themselves.


13 June 2007