Thursday, 7 February 2013

Wind turbines

On Wednesday I posted about supplementary planning guidance on wind turbines, and subsequently was asked whether the idea of a bond to cover the eventual decommissioning of  wind turbines was a good idea - do you front load the costs?

My answer no, and let me explain why not.

I think we are in danger of deciding that all wind turbines are bad, and then looking for all reasons why they should be bad.

So one thing that could go wrong is a slight possibility the operator could abandon the wind turbines....and who then pays for the decommissioning and return of the land back to its original state?

And some would point to Hawaii as an example of 'When Wind Farms Go Wrong', where I think a number of 1st generation wind turbines lay rusting and abandoned because they became uneconomical following the discovery of shale gas in the USA.  But the Americans do make a habit of having spectacular boom and bust enterprises, just visit Baltimore.

In the UK with the feed in tariffs I don't see the risk, you know it's a licence to print money isn't it? ... and I have a feeling that a growing business will be the salvaging of old wind turbines...for the copper alone it may be worthwhile.

On Ynys Môn we are talking of individual wind turbines mostly erected by the landowner, mostly farmers, albeit in agreement with an operator. Whether the landowner wants the operator to provide a bond to cover the eventual decommissioning is I think a matter for them. The final responsibility should lie with the landowner.

It shouldn't be of concern to the Planning Authority, as I take the view that the Planning Authority deals with the principles of land use and not the mechanics of land use....i.e. say you've applied for planning permission for a new house, you don't need to satisfy the Council you can afford to build the new house.

And the 'before you ask' disclaimer - I am not a farmer, nor do I have plans to erect a wind turbine, nor do I know of anyone planning to do so either. Personally I cant see what the fuss is about, I think them quite elegant, and in my opinion a small turbine in the wrong place is less green than a large turbine in the right place, and if it helps say make farmers more carbon neutral more the better.

1 comment:

The Red Flag said...

Sorry but a disagree. Wind farms must have some form of trust set aside to cover decommissioning. The taxpayer already has to subsidise them at birth - why should they subsidise their death as well