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Going too far on Mid Wales turbines Lords warn  

Credit:  Published by: Emma Mackintosh, County Times, www.countytimes.co.uk 18 November 2011 ~~

The number of wind turbines in Mid Wales is in danger of being taken too far and is too expensive compared to other forms of energy.

That was the sentiment expressed in the House of Lords last week, as noble members debated the impact of windfarms in Mid Wales and Shropshire.

Lord Thomas of Gresford, Wrexham, raised the issue on November 9 and referred to a recently published KPMG paper, ‘Thinking About The Affordable’.

“The report says that government plans for windfarms are too expensive and should be shelved in favour of cheaper nuclear and gas-fired power stations,” Lord Thomas said.

“It is claimed windfarms run at 31 per cent capacity, but analysis of past performance in the UK suggests that 21 per cent is nearer the truth.

“In Welshpool in June, 2,000 people attended to protest and watch on a large screen the proceedings of Powys County Council, where a motion calling for the review of TAN8 was passed unanimously with only one abstention,” he said.

Lord Thomas then quoted Carwyn Jones who stated in June that his government would not support the construction of large pylons in Mid Wales.

“Surely the Department of Energy and Climate Change will not ride roughshod over the express will of parish councils, county councils, the Welsh Government and, most importantly, the whole community of Montgomeryshire,” Lord Thomas added.

“The countryside can absorb a certain number of these structures, but 800 turbines will be completely and wholly out of proportion.”

Lord Williams, of Elvel near Llansanffraid, revealed that the strategic search areas identified in TAN8 as being suitable for windfarms were identified by the Danish company Arup, and social conditions ‘were not part of the criteria’.

“What happens when the Secretary of State receives the application and says, ‘I’m not bothered about Mid Wales. That is not my interest at all’? We have to ensure that localism means something rather than simply being a theory,” he said.

Lord Teverson of Tregony, Cornwall, argued that offshore wind, wave, geothermal and various other technologies are more expensive than onshore wind.

Lord Rowe-Beddoe of Kilgetty in Dyfed said that characterising the protesters as being guilty of nimbyism was ‘slanderous’ and said that what happens in Mid Wales is a microcosm of what is likely to happen through the rest of the country.

Baroness Randerson of Roath Park, Cardiff, said: “The Welsh Government have got themselves into a particular pickle over TAN8. This was never a good document but it is now badly out of date. It was always too heavily reliant on wind power; there are 12 pages of guidance on wind power, but three pages on every other type of renewable energy.

“People feel very strongly about the Mid Wales connection project. TAN8 is hopelessly optimistic on this as well. It said that if extra grid capacity were needed, it should come via underground cables. We know that is far too expensive to contemplate.”

Baroness Stowell of Beeston, Nottinghamshire, stressed that National Grid has announced it will put greater emphasis on mitigating the visual impact of its electricity lines.

Source:  Published by: Emma Mackintosh, County Times, www.countytimes.co.uk 18 November 2011

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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