There should be good news for Cornwall in the race to reach its renewable energy target – well, there would be if we take on board the information given out by Regen South West, which is charged with driving forward the region’s renewable energy policy, because what it says is that the South West could contribute at least two-thirds of its target of 509-611Mw of power by 2010, or 407Mw.
On a level playing field this figure should be divided between the region’s seven counties and surely the fairest way to do this would be by carbon emissions, as that is why we are supposed to need green energy.
Cornwall’s contribution to the South West’s carbon emissions is 10 per cent so we only need to generate 10 per cent or 40.7Mw. Of course Cornwall only generates about 10.3Mw from wind power, but targets are made against installed capacity, not what they actually produce, and Cornwall’s installed capacity is 42Mw.
What’s more, there are several things on the horizon which will mean that Cornwall will exceed the target by an even wider margin, such as the Wave Hub and the re-powering scheduled for Delabole and Goonhilly wind farms, which between the two wind farms will add another 9.8Mw and 15.4Mw respectively.
Of course, this is all pie in the sky as we all know that many wind power companies want to come to Cornwall and put up turbines, and Regen South West would be out of a job if it didn’t help.
Wouldn’t it be nice for Cornwall if we could just hold off the turbine men and wait for the 20Mw Wave Hub to be built, for Devon to wait for the offshore wind farm and the new Plymouth gas power station to be built, and Avon and Somerset to wait for the Severn Barrage?
But unless we make our politicians listen, by 2010 the number of wind farms in Cornwall could well have risen from seven to at least 12 – and the county with the lowest carbon emissions will have lost its rural aspect.
27 November 2007
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