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Power firms queuing up to build in turbine zone

A planning application has been submitted for a four-turbine wind farm at Bickham Moor near Rackenford. It is to be considered by Mid-Devon District Council.

However, it is just metres away from the boundary with North Devon where the district council is considering three applications for 20 giant turbines along the southern fringe of Exmoor National Park.

Coronation Power which is behind the Bickham Moor scheme believes it will help deliver the county’s renewable energy targets by generating clean and sustainable electricity.

Devon’s renewable target is to generate 151MW of renewable electricity by 2010.

Excluding operational wind farms and those already given planning permission, there is currently a shortfall of 57.5MW.

The four turbine scheme will generate up to 12MW of electricity, the equivalent of the annual energy needs of 6,300 homes or 20% of Mid-Devon’s population which, the company maintains, is a considerable contribution towards Devon’s target.

Coronation Power said the Bickham Moor site was selected because it lay in a remote, sparsely populated region, had a high wind speed, and was in close proximity to a National Grid connection.

It also had good access and was not a conservation area or a nationally designated protected area.

If given the go ahead the wind farm will be built on land owned by a local farmer who is in full support of the project.

The planning application was submitted following a rigorous two year assessment of the environmental impact of the proposal, detailed technical studies and consultation with people living and working in the surrounding area.

The public consultation included a two-day exhibition held in Rackenford, virtual interactive displays of the wind farm, leaflets distributed to local residents, press advertisements, and online questions and answers.

Subject to planning consent, the installation and operation of the wind farm is scheduled to be completed by 2011.

Danielle Milne, Coronation Power’s PR officer, said: “We are extremely pleased to be submitting such a well-conceived proposal.

“The scheme not only has massive benefits for the local community, but also contributes to meeting local, national and international renewable targets.”

Caroline Harvey, secretary of the Two Moors Campaign against the wind turbines, said: “There are now applications for 24 giant turbines within this small area on the southern fringes of Exmoor National Park.

“These proposed turbines will have a massive visual effect on the area for very little gain in terms of carbon emissions. The cumulative effects especially on Exmoor National Park will be disastrous”.

Local resident Richard Delf added: “The subsidies on these monsters are so vast that we are being inundated with applications for this intermittent and unpredictable form of renewable energy because it is the most profitable to the developers.

“These companies are jumping on to the financial bandwagon and we are all paying for them to make immense profits at our expense.”

By Andrea Foster

Western Morning News

6 December 2007