Thursday, 28 October 2010
Disarray in the Renewables Industry
The windfarm industry seems to be in a little difficulty. Yesterday it was reported that Scotland's largest wind turbine manufacturer has filed for insolvency only 18 months after the Scottish government ploughed millions of pounds of grant funding into the project in a bid to rescue the factory, which employs about 120 people. Such a shame of these people lose their jobs but hopefully their skills are transferable to other sectors of the engineering industry.
Today we're told more than 230 separate local campaign groups against windfarms are operating across the UK and these groups are scoring striking successes in defeating planned windfarms - even when faced with the weight of official recommendations.
In the last 12 months to September, there has been a 50% drop in planning approvals in England and approvals for windfarms in Scotland have also fallen. The figures are revealed in a report, which will be published next week, on the state of the industry.
Windfarms are ugly and an eyesore. Nobody could possibly think otherwise unless they're viewing them from a distance of over 20 miles and it's the eyesore and noise which are the main objections from campaigners. They want all windfarms to be built off-shore but environmentalists and industry experts say this is unrealistic. The time needed to build off-shore farms can be up to seven years, they are more expensive and the technology is still relatively immature.
Perhaps it's time for both the Scottish and Westminster governments to reassess their plans to have windfarms generate more than a quarter of Britain's electricity. People are now realising, in order to reach that target, the whole country will have to be covered in these massive turbines.
A spokesman, from Friends of the Earth, said he could understand why people were opposed to windfarms in their local areas but a compromise needed to be found.
"The dilemma is that we believe people should be able to say what they want where they live but at the same time every part of the country has to do its bit if we are to get emissions down to a sustainable level."
Campaigners will be thrilled to know FotE are on their side - but only as long as they reduce their emissions. How about local governments offices closing half a day a week? That would reduce local emissions and possibly cause far less upset that the sight and sound of a windfarm in the locality.