Red tape hampers the case for small-medium wind renewables


Red tape hampers the case for small-medium wind renewables

medium wind
 
When are we going to have joined up thinking between the excellent Government-backed Feed-In Tariffs (for small-medium wind) and the planning process in Scotland? There’s a growing concern that it is taking too long moving these applications through a cumbersome and protracted system. We run the risk of lagging behind the rest of Europe in these matters. And, if we are to be on target and in line with the Scottish Government’s Renewables strategy over the coming years, we need to do more to streamline the planning process and align our thinking on planning applications across the country.
 
Current planning regulations vary too much. The approach is too disparate. There are differences depending on which planning council you speak with so isn’t it about time a concerted effort was channelled into making this system easier especially for farmers and private landowners who wish to erect small-medium turbines for their power generation?
 
Look across Europe and you’ll see a robust, yet unburdened approach. Planning for small-medium wind turbines in Italy is governed by tight regulation, but their process is far quicker and is not weighed down by a sluggish and tiered administrative process. It’s a relatively straight forward process, carried out within a set timeframe.
 
The process in Scotland remains largely slow and bureaucratic. Planning applications are currently taking between 6 and 24 months to be processed! It affects the planning, siting and installation of small and medium size wind turbines – those used, by farmers, smallholders or private landowners, just as it does to the large wind turbines, which have become an intrinsic part of our rural landscape.
 
It is well documented that without sufficient distributed renewable energy sources connected to the grid, we will experience black-outs in the very near future! The biggest single advantage of distributed generation is often over-looked; that by and large the grid does not require significant overhaul and upgrades to accommodate small renewables as these can typically be connected without major grid upgrades.
 
The price of conventional energy sources, especially fossil fuels, is constantly rising, bringing “grid parity” ever closer. In fact many wind turbine manufacturers can claim grid parity today. However, local planning consent needs to be adjusted, so more landowners and farmers can have an option to adopt these initiatives.
 
We need a standardised approach in planning consent laws across Scotland, not a long drawn out process which can take months to progress and above all, we need to accelerate specification changes to encompass small-medium wind turbine applications and not have a uniform – ‘one size fits all’ approach to wind turbine applications, as is currently the case.
 
Written by Steve McMahon, VP Sales and Marketing, Orenda Energy Solutions.
 

Posted By Sally on February 26, 2014 | 0 Comment

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