November 9, 2012

Christchurch says no to wind power

Stour & Avon Magazine | November 09, 2012 |

As the wind power debate rumbles on a renewable energy conference held at Christchurch Borough Council concluded that deep geothermal energy would achieve the government’s renewal energy target without the need for wind power.

The conference was convened in the face of proposals for a wind farm off the coast of Dorset. It looked at a number of alternative energy sources and considered whether they would achieve the government’s target of producing 15 per cent of the UK’s energy requirements using renewable means by 2020.

Deep geothermal energy, tidal energy, wave power, biomass energy from forestry and waste wood, anaerobic digestion, energy from waste and solar power were all discussed.

The deep geothermal method was seen to be able to produce the largest amount of renewable energy. The conference report concluded that, using today’s technology alone, deep geothermal resources could provide 20 per cent of the UK’s annual average electricity generation capacity requirement and the equivalent of the total annual heat consumption in the UK.

Councillor Margaret Phipps, portfolio holder for environment at Christchurch Borough Council, who chaired the conference, said: “We wanted to look at all renewable energy possibilities so that we wouldn’t solely be relying on environmentally-controversial and visually-intrusive intermittent wind power which, in Dorset, may have detrimental consequences for our World Heritage historic environment.

“The benefit of deep geothermal energy is that, once on-stream, it provides consistent renewable energy which is available 24 hours a day and on demand. It would provide a renewable energy solution nationally.

“In Dorset we have an area of 3,000km2 called the Wessex Basin which contains hot sedimentary aquifers below ground with an average temperature of 80°C capable of producing a large amount of recoverable thermal energy (33,000MWth). A District Heating scheme is already successfully operating on the eastern edge of the Wessex Basin in Southampton and its operators were present at our conference.”

The conclusions from the conference have been sent to the Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson MP as well as to all Dorset MPs who have been asked to make representation to the government for the wind farm subsidy to be diverted to geothermal energy.

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