February 17, 2008

Windfarm row

No plans to connect turbines to National Grid until at least 2014

The wind farm debate has blown up again after a group of residents opposed to the turbines discovered if they are built they will not be connected to the National Grid until at least 2014.

The Conservation of Upland Radnorshire and Breconshire (CURB), an action group of angry residents from the Llanbadarn Fynydd and Felindre areas, were told by operators of the National Grid there are no plans for any such grid connections to be submitted locally before 2014 and that there was no guarantee of a connection even after this date.

A spokesperson for CURB said: “By exploiting our natural unspoilt upland area the wind farm companies do not care that there is no grid connection because they get paid to generate power whether it goes into the National Grid and is used or not.”

This development comes as residents in the area have been sent a letter inviting them to send their objections to the proposal to the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR).

As part of the Electricity Act 1989, NUON Renewables, the company who made the application, have to get consent from BERR in order to progress with the planning permission process.

One resident who has responded is Geoffrey Duthie, of Pant Y Beudy, Felindre. Mr Duthie has sent copies of his letter to the BERR head offices in London as well as to Powys County Council planning officer, Steve Packer and chief executive, Mark Kerr.

Mr Duthie said: “I have written the letter purely on behalf of myself but I would assume that other residents are doing the same.”

He added: “I sincerely hope that my objection together with others will ead to a rejection of the application by Powys County Council and this trigger a Public Enquiry.”

In his letter Mr Duthie outlines seven general reasons for his objection – the detriment to living and visiting Wales, the detriment to health, the cost to residents, the detriment to community relations, doubts over the effectiveness of wind turbines, the fact that no application has been made to carry power to National Grid and lack of education and information given to children about the issue.

On the subject of “living and visiting Wales” he states that: “Tourism is probably Mid Wales’ biggest earner. Many tourists visit the area again and again simply because there is nothing to do here! They love the peace and tranquility. How many will return again and again to look at an industrial wind turbine site?

A spokesperson for NUON Renewables has responded to concerns: “The planning process for a wind farm consent and the planning process for a grid connection are two separate planning applications and that is why a grid connection is not detailed in the application for the wind farm consent which as far as I am aware always precedes the grid connection application.

“The grid infrastructure will need to be improved to accommodate this wind farm and indeed any of the others that are expected to come forwards and could subsequently be approved. We are not yet clear on where the proposed Llanbadarn Fynydd Wind Farm will link into the grid supplier’s grid network, but cabling on-site will be underground, and from the site to whatever the proposed/approved connection point will be cabled on wooded poles, not the large pylons,” he added.

In response to the claims that the company will be paid whether the electricity is used or not, the spokesperson said: “There is no subsidy for building a wind farm and so it would be commercially bizarre to invest heavily in planning and constructing a wind farm development that isn’t going to generate electricity.”

The application for the wind farm was submitted to the Government and Powys County Council at the end of last year. Residents have until February 22 to submit their objections. Copies of the application together with plans showing the location of the site and layout proposal, an Environmental Statement (ES) setting out the surveys and assessments relating to the proposal and a Non Technical Summary highlighting the main findings and principle characteristics of the ES and the proposal, can be viewed at the Planning Services department of The Gwalia.

By Lindsey Pullan

County Times

15 February 2008

URL to article:  https://www.wind-watch.org/news/2008/02/17/windfarm-row/