One of the major issues facing renewables developers in the UK, especially those of onshore wind farms, is fighting through local planning problems. The British public (to generalise) has never been overly keen on the sight of mammoth wind turbines cluttering the green and pleasant land.
Previously, the answer to this has been national policy statements, which set out the national need for new energy infrastructure, so bypassing one test carried out by local planning authorities.
But the problem has never been that local authorities weren’t convinced by the need for nuclear plants or wind farms, but that local opposition was too strong.
Picture by Vestas
In this week’s readers’ Q&A session, Ditlev Engel, CEO of Vestas, the world’s biggest wind turbine manufacturer, answers your questions on the future of wind power.
In the second of two parts, he talks about whether wind power is inefficient and the impact of the recession on Vestas.
Next in the hotseat is Yvo de Boer, the former head of the UN’s climate change body and the man who led the UN at Copenhagen. He is now an advisor at KPMG and will be answering your questions on this site next Friday, December 10th. Send in your questions for consideration by the end of Monday, December 6th to firstname.lastname@example.org.
But for now, over to Ditlev:
On a recent visit to Drax, the biggest coal-fired power station in the UK, I was struck by the cluster of 12 wind turbines that have sprung up just beside the water-vapour belching cooling towers.
Picture by Press Association
The wind turbines do not belong to Drax – the company prefers to lower its emissions using biomass – but make a striking picture, situated so close to the coal plant.
The local people hate them.
You might have thought that people who have lived for decades with an enormous coal-burning power plant in their backyard would think nothing of a few little turning blades. No so. The wind developers faced a barrage of local opposition to their plans.
“You wouldn’t want those on your doorstep,” one local man said. “They’re an eyesore.”