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Call for a halt to all new wind farm projects  

Credit:  By Derek Lambie | Sunday Post | 8 June 2014 | www.sundaypost.com ~~

Ministers are facing demands to halt all new wind farm projects amid evidence there are almost enough turbines to meet climate change targets for 2020.

Green energy is a key SNP policy, with ambitious plans to better a legally-binding EU directive on the UK by meeting 100% of electricity needs from renewables by the end of the decade.

But The Sunday Post can reveal the explosion in wind farms has meant Scotland now has sufficient turbines in place, or approved, to cover 90% of energy needs.

Indeed new figures show that if all projects still to be considered are also included, there would be a massive surplus of unnecessary sites littering the countryside.

The total output from wind farms still with planning officials would be able to generate 10 times more electricity than the shortfall required to meet the 2020 target.

In March The Sunday Post revealed there could be a 10-fold rise in the number of wind farms over the next few years with a mountain of applications.

The revelations have sparked calls for a 12-month moratorium on allowing new projects to be submitted with campaigners insisting there is no longer a need for additional turbines.

Graham Lang, of campaign group Scotland Against Spin, said: “Runaway numbers of industrial turbines are now ruining our countryside, blighting local economies and upping electricity bills.

“But instead of taking a reality-check, our Government sits frozen in the headlights of the referendum. We need an immediate moratorium on onshore wind, a thorough audit of costs and a new energy policy grounded in sound economics and engineering.”

A legally-binding directive from Brussels in 2009 called for all EU member states to ensure 20% of the energy used by 2020 should come from renewable sources.

But the Scottish Government has set its own unofficial target to generate the equivalent of 100% from renewables.

Ministers have heavily promoted the sector, insisting Scotland has a quarter of all of Europe’s wind energy potential.

There are more than 200 wind farms operational, with at least 2,440 turbines between them – accounting for over half of the UK’s total onshore capacity.

As a result, Government officials say they are on course to meet their interim target of generating the equivalent of 50% of electricity from renewables.

But with a staggering 1,898 further applications for turbines having been granted, or still to be considered, experts say the 100% target could even be surpassed by this autumn.

New data shows output currently accounts for about 17 TeraWatt Hours (TWh), meeting 46.5% of the 36.6TWh of electricity consumed.

The figures, from the Renewable Energy Foundation charity, predict that wind farms and other technologies awaiting construction will soon add almost a further 17TWh of output —enough capacity to meet 90% of the 2020 target.

However, the total output from all other projects still to be considered by planners could generate about 21TWh, almost 10 times more than the shortfall needed.

That would leave Scotland with a massive 50% surplus.

Dr John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, said the current scale in activity in the wind sector has created “vast surpluses of capacity in the planning system”.

He said: “The renewable sector is dramatically overheated, with targets met or nearly met.

“Scottish Government policies, combined with excessive subsidies, have created a classic bubble market.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The value of renewable energy to Scotland’s economy is clear.”

In a major U-turn, the European Commission plans to ditch legally-binding renewable energy targets.

Source:  By Derek Lambie | Sunday Post | 8 June 2014 | www.sundaypost.com

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

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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