[ exact phrase in "" • results by date ]

[ Google-powered • results by relevance ]


News Home

Subscribe to RSS feed

Add NWW headlines to your site (click here)

Sign up for daily updates

Keep Wind Watch online and independent!

Donate $10

Donate $5

Selected Documents

All Documents

Research Links


Press Releases


Publications & Products

Photos & Graphics


Allied Groups

Turbine shortage to leave some Scottish communities in the dark  

A worldwide shortage of wind-turbines has been caused by a sudden surge in demand and the frenzied industrial growth of China creating delivery delays that could take years to rectify. Plans to cut carbon dioxide emissions and meet more of Britain’s energy needs by an expansion of offshore wind farms have had to be revised, because experts now believe the chances of building them before 2010 at the earliest is unlikely.

‘There is a worldwide shortage of wind turbines,’ said Dr Gordon Edge, director of economics and markets at the British Wind Energy Association, who claimed that a recent series of tax credits introduced in the US for the American wind power industry had sparked a construction boom.

‘The US industry is going hell for leather at the moment and relying on imports of wind turbines from Europe. All new projects are having to negotiate a long time in advance. People are ordering turbines now for delivery in 2009 and smaller players with not so much market power are losing out even more. Globally, it’s going to take two or three years for us to catch up with demand.’

There are now 1,866 turbines in operation at 148 sites in the UK, with an additional 352 sites either under construction or planned. For many rural communities in Scotland and the rest of the UK, wind farms have long been seen as a potential economic boom and several small communities have set up their own projects.

The island of Gigha is often held up as an example of how small communities can cash in on the natural resource of wind power. Since organising a community buyout of the island, its population has increased by more than 50 per cent, reversing 300 years of decline. Several new businesses have been started up, including Gigha Renewable Energy – a small wind farm that generates more than enough electricity for the island and sells the rest to the National Grid for about £100,000 a year.

Many other Scottish communities followed suit but, as the clamour for turbines increases, the dream of self-sufficiency is in the doldrums as supply is outstripped by demand.

At least four communities in the Highlands and Islands have put their plans for self-sufficiency on hold as manufacturers ignore their pleas for turbines in favour of bigger, more lucrative contracts.

‘A lot of the turbine manufacturers won’t even talk to small community projects looking for just one, two or three turbines,’ said Ian McLean, of Renewable Devices Energy Solutions, an Edinburgh-based company that has been involved in the development of about a dozen small wind farms.

‘Costs have gone up dramatically because of the Chinese buying up all the raw materials and the US snapping up every turbine they can get their hands on. Unless you are a big developer looking to buy a lot of turbines in one go, most big manufacturers aren’t interested.’

The Highlands and Islands Community Energy Company is assisting 28 local energy schemes and trying to combine orders so that they can negotiate more easily with manufacturers. According to David Stephenson, chairman of Westray Renewable Energy, a turbine costing about £700,000 could bring in an estimated £3m-£4m over 20 years and help communities become self-sufficient.

However, despite planning permission and the offer of a grid connection, the island can’t find any manufacturer willing to supply it with a single turbine.

‘Unfortunately we have been hoist by our own successful global petard. A number of factors have conspired against us,’ said a spokeswoman for the British Wind Energy Association.

By Paul Kelbie

The Observer

15 July 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding
Donate $5 PayPal Donate


News Watch Home

Get the Facts Follow Wind Watch on Twitter

Wind Watch on Facebook


© National Wind Watch, Inc.
Use of copyrighted material adheres to Fair Use.
"Wind Watch" is a registered trademark.