Fife Council calls for halt on wind farm applications over ‘opportunistic’ developers ignoring guidelines
A second local authority has called for a temporary halt on wind farm applications following a deluge of inappropriate bids.
Developers are ignoring Fife Council guidelines on approved sites and are swamping planners with “opportunistic” applications, it has been claimed.
The National Grid is also struggling to cope with the amount of energy being produced by Scotland’s existing windfarms while it waits for the transmission infrastructure to be upgraded.
Fife Council leader Alex Rowley said: “The pressure being put on our planners is coming from the sheer number of wind turbine applications that are currently being submitted across all parts of Fife.
“We have already pinpointed areas of search across the Kingdom following extensive consultations where turbines could be potentially sited.
“However, developers are simply ignoring these when making applications which, in turn, is making life more complex for our planning teams.”
He added: “At the moment too many developers are simply being opportunistic with applications for areas that are not appropriate for wind turbines, which is taking up valuable planning time.”
The council is preparing a public consultation on the approved sites and wants a moratorium on new applications until the people have had their say.
Fife’s move comes two months after Aberdeenshire Council asked for a six-month moratorium after becoming overwhelmed by a “wind rush” from developers.
Aberdeenshire, which had received 800 applications in 14 months, also called on the Scottish Government to waive the rule giving applicants the right to appeal to ministers if their plans are not determined by councillors in two months.
The National Grid has paid out more than £15 million to energy companies in the last year to halt Scottish wind firm production to prevent it overloading the system.
The latest data, provided by the Renewable Energy Foundation, suggests that N-Power Renewables has received the biggest payouts to halt production at its Farr Wind Farm, near Inverness.
N-Power has received more than £4.4 million of wind farm constraint payments since April last year for its two units at Farr, accounting for almost a third of the total.
A National Grid spokeswoman said: “Essentially, the issue with wind power is that there is a great deal of wind power in Scotland that we need to get to the South of England, and at the moment there is not enough capacity to carry the electricity needed.
“We are building a subsea cable – the HDVC link – and this means we will be able to carry the energy from Scotland that we need.
“Wind constraints are a very well-covered issue and we have a great deal of information about it on our website, we are particularly transparent about the figures involved.
“As part of its role balancing energy minute by minute, National Grid can ask generators to come on or off the grid to manage constraints and keep the system balanced.
“The number and relative value of constraint payments made to wind farms is small compared to overall constraint payments made to generators of all types, and in 2011 the overall cost for balancing the network in 2010/11 was £708 million, which makes up less than 1% of consumer bills.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding