Britain’s oldest onshore wind turbines will soon be 20 years old – the government should ensure they are repowered rather than dismantled, argues Labour’s Alan Whitehead. This much we know… onshore wind in England is effectively banned. Onshore wind developers cannot access any forms of public support for it, such as Contracts for Difference (CfDs), and even if they could they would be defeated by the raft of planning obstacles put in their path in the wake of the then DECC decision to leave onshore in the breeze. So a perfectly sensible regime of testing the water for local support on the siting of onshore wind and then proceeding to apply for permissions is not possible, and no developer now is going to risk the million pound plus development cost of even a relatively modest onshore array only to find certain rejection at the end of the process. It so happens that the pioneers of onshore wind in the UK have an anniversary to celebrate in a short while – the 20th anniversary of the date of their installation. Something like 60 onshore projects will be cutting their 20th birthday cakes over the next five years. And they will therefore be coming to the end of the life of the turbines they first erected. The question that then arises is should they be repowered – that is the old turbines and mountings removed and replaced in identical locations with new (and here’s the gain) far more powerful plant than was installed twenty years ago. A recent report on repowering of wind suggested that technical developments over the period would mean that something like 50 per cent more power could come from the already existing sites. The loss on the other hand would be a gradual run down of what there is if the present onshore capacity as plant is not repowered.
Business Green 5th June 2018 read more »