REVOLT News 147

21/07/2003

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 REVOLT News 147

STOP PRESS ... A hearing in Nottingham into the wayleave renewal for an existing 132 kV line (and possible removal of the pylons) has taken an extraordinary turn. The need for the line may be successfully challenged. The company has been sent off to provide data for the hearing to reconvene on Wednesday. Interested media may want to contact their Nottingham offices with a view to attending. Details  in Appendix 5 below.

1. Basslink objectors in Australia had a very successful mass honk (Appendix 1). Then the development company's PR meetings were a very unsuccessful flop (Appendix 4).

2. The government announced 15.7.03 new offshore windfarm licences may be sought (as anticipated in news146.8). Details from Times Online are at Appendix 2 and a short extract from Financial Times at Appendix 3. The sites being around the Thames, the Wash and the Irish Sea are at least fairly well placed near to major demand centres. They will not add to the bulk transmission from the far north to the far south. But they would still create grid and other problems, notably forcing the diseconomy of part-time operation on the huge back-up generation required (see news146.10 and Appx2 to news146), as also signalled by the Institution of Civil Engineers (Appendix 2 below) and other professional bodies. Perhaps parliamentary questions should be asked.

3. Snips from Defra mag "Energy & Environmental Management" July/Aug 2003:

(a) Defra's "Our Strategy 2003-2006" is out, with the claim "Sustainablility will underwrite everything". http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/strategy0306/ 

(b) The government is working on a Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill. (Remember radical new proposals with the Planning Green Paper last year were quietly dropped.) Over the next three years, all 25 national planning policy statements will be reviewed. http://www.planning.odpm.gsi.gov.uk/consult/greenpap/delivery/index.htm 

(c) The world's rich countries could slash 30% of their energy use (I think they mean electricity use) by 2010 by using more energy-efficient appliances, according to the International Energy Agency.

(d) The Renewable Power Association (RPA) has a Renewables Routemap (May 03), showing that ocean and solar power will become very large contributors in the coming decades. See item 4 below and http://www.r-p-a.org.uk .

(e) Renewables, Energy & the Environment - Yorkshire & Humber's free exhibition will be at Leeds Armouries 25.10.03.

4. I obtained the RPA Routemap, see 3(d) above, by phoning 020 7963 5852. It came in an envelope marked Electricity Association, the electricity industry PR (spin) machine, which we have seen before on the subject of EMFs. Nevertheless the "routemap" has some encouraging points. There is the odd blunder, like "The planning process and 'NIMBY' attitudes are delaying renewable deployment, especially in wind power and energy from waste", typical of arrogant propaganda failing to recognise the genuine and non-NIMBY concerns. But it also says "Connections charges and standards, even attitudes, must change to accommodate more distributed and micro-generation". Where were you, RPA and EA, when we needed you with NG's Yorkshire line? Different attitude then, no doubt, to protect NG! The "routemap" is just 5 pages, recognises the potential of non-wind renewables, like 'wet' and biomass generation, and calls for incentivising micro-CHP and including sustainability in Ofgem's primary objectives. But it also calls for increased grid to serve remote generation in "optimum locations"; that should mean locations optimised to serve demand, but I fear it means the windiest remote locations. Together with calling for the euphemistically described "streamlining" of planning processes, this lively "routemap" could be rather dangerous.

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APPENDIX 1

The BPL/Union Meeting was very successfully picketed. 50 to 60 % of the traffic on Australia's Number 1 Highway, the Princes Hwy through Traralgon, honked beeped and squawked their opposition to Basslink. Cars pulled up to congratulate us, strangers did U'eys to do a 2nd bypass making more noise than the 1st time (motorists only had about 80 metres to see the sign, compute the info and hit the horn).

The message was strong loud and clear and the Mayor of the Latrobe Shire emerged from another meeting on site to publicly congratulate us and pledge his support of our Public Meeting in the Latrobe Valley in early August. Any chance of Nick McKim, Lynne Allison or other supportive policians getting over to join the local Mayors (Shire of Wellington and Latrobe), local Union organisers, our group etc on the podium?

Inside the Meeting things were going even better. Union organisers touched base with our Picket Caravan before going in, predicting a very short meeting. As predicted they walked out en masse within 10 minutes after telling Basslink Pty Ltd that they obviously hadn't heard the Union No.1 demand that the community be listened to. 15 minutes later they went back in as BPL made an offer to hear ALL of the issues from Basslink Concerned Citizens Coalition at the same venue on 22 July (next Tuesday week). This meeting will be with all the same Gippsland Union Organisers, Basslink and up to 10 representatives of the Basslink Concerned Citizens formally prresenting our full list of issues to be addressed by BPL. BPL will also show their presentation they had intended to make last Friday since the Unions didn't bother watching it.

Now is the time to get back to us urgently if there are any issues you want on our issue list as we have said we will not introduce NEW issues to the system after our list is delivered to the Unions this Thursday 17 July. Huge detail is not needed yet but we must flag the issue.

In the meantime BPL are stuck with their "phoney" public meetings (one on one interviews) at Stradbroke, Traralgon and Yarram this week. We will have the Community Picket Caravan with the Basslink Concerned Citizens outside all these meetings showing BPL that Gippslanders won't stand for the Basslink Project as currently mooted.

Cheers Madelon Lane Basslink Concerned Citizens Coalition Inc. 2265 Hyland Hwy Carrajung Lower 3844 03 51 942 201

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APPENDIX 2 offshore windfarms, from Times Online 15.7.03

Power hungry Britain will reach for the sky, By Valerie Elliott

Nearly four million households could switch to energy from new coastal installations THE Government fired the starting gun yesterday for a scramble between power companies for offshore wind power projects.

Under plans announced by Patricia Hewitt, the Trade and Industry Secretary, Britain is to have the biggest capacity in the world within seven years for the production of energy from coastal installations. One in six homes in Britain, or nearly four million households, will switch to wind power.

Ms Hewitt says that the market has the potential to create a business boom similar to the growth of oil exploration in the 1970s and gas in the 1980s.

The North Sea oil industries are worth 5 billion to the economy and represent 0.5 per cent of gross domestic product. Ms Hewitt says that British manufacturing companies will also gain, using their oil and gas offshore expertise.

A senior government source said: ?This is certainly the next stage in the energy market and offshore wind farms are the main area for expansion in the next five to 15 years. Britain is a small country in a windy ocean and must maximise these assets.

?Loads of firms will benefit, not just the engineers and construction workers but the manufacturers making the turbines, the blades and material for the blades.?

By 2010 the number of jobs in the industry is forecast to rise from 2,000 to 20,000, and Ms Hewitt says that many communities blighted by closures of shipbuilding yards and steelworks will benefit.

Companies have three months to assess the prospects for sites in three areas: the Thames Estuary, the Greater Wash area of the North Sea in the East of England, and an area in the Irish Sea from the Solway Firth in Cumbria to Rhyl flats in North Wales.

Consideration of threats to the environment and conservation will, however, be given high prority. Ms Hewitt, who is a frequent visitor to the Norfolk coast near Cromer, is in the vanguard of those anxious to preserve the beauty of the coastline and to ensure that wildlife, particularly birds, are not at risk.

The 80m (260ft) light blue or grey wind turbines will be placed at least 4.8km (3 miles) away from the shore, and could be as far as 13km. It is not known how many sites will be constructed. Each is expected to have up to 300 towers, situated about 500m apart. The blades will have a span of 120m.

Research has found that the structures can be a boon for fish stocks. The turbines provide conditions resembling that of an artifical reef and allow breeding and nurseries for young fish. It may also be possible for fishing parties to go on small boats between the turbines.

Shipping and safety rules are yet to be clarified, although large container ships would certainly be banned from the vicinity. Lower parts of the turbines are to be painted bright yellow to alert vessels to their presence, and they will have navigation lights and radar reflectors.

Campaigners from Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace said they hoped that this was just the start of a new energy industry to harness opportunities offered by the wind, tides and waves.

Alan Moore, chairman of the British Wind Energy Association, said: ?This is a truly historic moment for the UK. Cleaner electricity and tens of thousands of jobs are there to be won.?

Despite the enthusiasm for the plans by green groups and the industry, sceptics said that Britain could never wholly rely on offshore wind power. Tim Foulkes, director-general of the Institution of Civil Engineers, said: ?We must not lose sight of the fact that the wind blows only a third of the time and cannot ever be expected to supply the major proportion of energy requirement.?

Tim Yeo, the Shadow Trade and Industry spokesman, was also unconvinced by the plans. He said: ?Offshore wind cannot be economic without a big subsidy from the taxpayer and a complete back-up system.?

Companies such as Innogy, which owns National Wind Power and npower; Centrica, which owns British Gas; Powergen; Shell; Scottish Power; Nuon, the Dutch utility company; and Elsam, the Danish utility company, are studying the potential for the new market. Iberdrola, the Spanish power company, and Enel, the partly state-owned Italian electricity company, are also expected to apply for the licences. Some are working in consortiums to share the costs and the risks.

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APPENDIX 3 Extract from FT 15.7.03

Boaz Moselle of Ofgem, the energy industry regulator, said: "We support whole-heartedly the move towards a more environmentally friendly energy system.

"Our role is to ensure that this is introduced as economically and efficiently as possible but we would not be doing our job properly if we did not point out that this will mean increased costs."

Studies produced by National Grid and Scottish Power network operators estimate it could cost up to Pounds 1.5bn to strengthen networks in addition to the estimated Pounds 6bn cost of building the new windfarms.

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APPENDIX 4 More from basslink objectors.

Sent: Tuesday, 15 July 2003 8:08 Subject: Basslink Project Information Format Flops At Stradbroke

Basslink Pty Ltd held the first of its three unacceptable public information days today in Stradbroke. The community lack of participation was a resounding rejection of BPL. Lots of farmers and community members chatted and asked questions at the Basslink Community Picket Caravan and Farmers Vigil. None entered the Stradbroke Public Hall to see the BPL travelling roadshow. > BPL has exhausted public trust in their communication with the public and affected landholders. The hooting and honking continued outside the Stradbroke Hall with motorists supporting the anti Basslink campaign volunteers. > The public still wants information on the disastrous Basslink Project, but they want an accountable open situation from Basslink Pty Ltd, with the opportunity for questions and debate. > The roadshow continues tomorrow (Wednesday 16 July) at Traralgon. Once again the Basslink Community Picket Caravan will be outside the Latrobe Convention Centre, Princes Hwy, Traralgon and inviting traffic to "Toot To Stop Basslink". > > Cheers > Madelon Lane > Basslink Concerned Citizens Coalition

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APPENDIX 5 Details of adjourned Nottingham hearing

My case involves an existing 132kV line which runs across our land and within 40m of a farmhouse and cottage. The line is live buts hardly ever carries load. I am now in the middle of the DTI hearing and events have unfolded in an extraordinary manner. I am assisted by an expert in network design and planning who carried out a P2/5 assessment on the situation and concluded (on the basis of load data provided to us by EME and set out in their long term development statement) that the line was not required for EME to fulfil its licence requirements.

EME did not present a P2/5 analysis in their case (a basic argument to prove the need for the line) and were instructed to do so by the DTI Inspector, within 10hours, as soon as the hearing opened. They did so but presented underlying load data that was different from that in their Long Term Development Statement and in a form that was not possible to follow. Consequently the Inspector adjourned the hearing and told EME to do the work again. They have done this and provided another set of load data that differs from both sets of earlier information.

The hearing reconvenes on Wednesday in Nottingham and I am contacting you to ask whether you could put me in contact with journalists (freelance or other) who would be interested to attend. I feel that a third party watching eye on the proceedings is necessary.

Many thanks in advance for any help you are able to provide on this.

Regards James Scruby

Regarding contact, James writes: The venue is close to exit 26 on the M1 starting at 10.00am. I can provide details but would like to speak in advance to any of the media who might attend. My 'phone number is 01799 540275 or 0780 373 6833. The house in question belongs to my parents who will find any media involvement unsettling.

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-- Mike O'Carroll

 

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