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Wind power takes off with new agreement on radar and aviation  

A landmark agreement has been reached between Government and industry which aims to remove aviation and radar barriers to the major expansion of wind energy that has been outlined by Business Secretary John Hutton.

The Memorandum of Understanding, signed by government departments, agencies and industry follows the Prime Minister’s commitment to find a technical solution to aviation and radar objections to wind farms.

In this agreement, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, the Ministry of Defence, the Department for Transport, the Civil Aviation Authority, NATS and the British Wind Energy Association agreed to:

* Explore innovative technological solutions to Air Defence and Air Traffic radar, as well as radar absorbent wind turbine technology;

* Shorten pre-planning times, by introducing a web-based screening tool for the early stage of planning;

* Establish a new Aviation Management Board which reports directly to Ministers; and,

* Work with industry to establish financial and staffing resources dedicated to finding solutions

Business Secretary John Hutton said

“Accelerating the deployment of renewables is crucial in the fight against climate change and will increase the amount of energy the UK produces on its own shores.

“This agreement represents real progress towards removing a barrier to the expansion of wind power, while ensuring air safety and national security. This will lead to faster consenting decisions and help us meet our challenging renewable energy targets.”

Defence Minister Derek Twigg said

“This MoU reflects the proactive stance that the MoD is taking to progress and resolve the complexities behind wind farm projects, whilst ensuring that the nation’s air safety and national security needs are not compromised. The agreement identifies future work streams that need to be undertaken in a collaborative manner across Government and Industry.”

Aviation Minister Jim Fitzpatrick said

“It’s essential that wind turbines do not impact on airspace safety, efficiency and capacity. This agreement is good news for the aviation industry because it recognises those concerns. It also shows the commitment of all parties to work together to develop appropriate and equitable solutions that will allow aviation and renewable energy to benefit.”

CEO of British Wind Energy Association, Maria McCaffery said:

“BWEA warmly welcomes the signing of this MOU as a vital first step in driving forward solutions to overcome the complex issue of wind farms and radar concerns. Wind energy is required to deliver around 30% of the UK’s electricity by 2020 if the Government is to meet their challenging renewable energy targets and this MOU demonstrates the commitment of all parties to work together in strong partnership – essential if we are to respond to the scale of this challenge.”

NATS Operations Director Ian Hall said:

“NATS supports most wind farm projects and we are already working with developers to find a strategic solution to cases where we have safety concerns, we welcome this agreement as a framework to meet targets for wind power generation whilst maintaining the safety of aircraft and passengers.”

In addition, BERR and Ofgem will today publish the next consultation document on the new offshore electricity transmission regime. This is a further step forward in the expansion of renewable energy to offshore wind farms. The consultation seeks views on the detailed changes needed to license the offshore grid.

Notes To Editors:

1. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 13 June 2008 by representatives from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, the Ministry of Defence, the Department for Transport, the Civil Aviation Authority, NATS and the British Wind Energy Association. The Memorandum of Understanding is available at http://www.berr.gov.uk/energy/sources/renewables/planning/onshore-wind/aeronautical/page18755.html and outlines in full the agreement that has been reached. This is attached.

2. On 19 November 2007, in a speech at the Foreign Press Association, the Prime Minister asked Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, John Hutton and Ruth Kelly, the Transport Secretary, to work in conjunction with industry and the regulators to tackle the difficulties that wind farms pose to air traffic and defence radar.

3. The UK has a proposed target of 15% renewable energy by 2020. This covers all energy – electricity, heating and transport. The Government will shortly be consulting on how to meet its targets through its Renewable Energy Strategy.

4. Onshore and offshore wind is playing an increasing role in the Government’s strategy to tackle climate change and secure future energy supplies. The first Giga Watt of wind took 14 years and the second only 20 months, and we will shortly become the leading country in the world in terms of offshore wind operating capacity, overtaking Denmark. John Hutton also recently announced plans to open up the sea’s for potential development – up to a further 25 gigawatts of offshore wind development, in addition to the 8 gigawatts already planned. Enough to potentially power the equivalent of every home in the UK by 2020.

5. The Department for Business, Enterprise and Reguatory Reform and Ofgem are working together to implement a regime for offshore electricity transmission. The consultation document published today is the latest step in the process of developing that regime and builds on the Joint Ofgem/BERR Policy Statement and Ofgem’s Regulatory Update (both published in January) and discussions with stakeholders. The consultation sets out BERR and Ofgem’s latest policy positions on the design of the regulatory regime; the tendering process; changes to industry licences and codes and the handling of transitional arrangements. Document will be available at http://www.berr.gov.uk/consultations/index.html from 5pm 13th June 2008. The deadline for replying is 25 July

6. The Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform helps UK business succeed in an increasingly competitive world. It promotes business growth and a strong enterprise economy, leads the better regulation agenda and champions free and fair markets. It is the shareholder in a number of Government-owned assets and it works to secure, clean and competitively priced energy supplies.

Client ref 2008/111

COI ref 162088P

Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (National)

News Distribution Service

13 June 2008

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

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