REVOLT News 

21/02/2003

Text Version 

1. As expected, large new powerlines are to be required in the Scottish Highlands to take the intermittent power from proposed windfarms (Appendix 1). At 400kV these are the largest available. When will England wake up to the prospect of increasing powerlines gathering strength as the proposed power from Scotland converges and heads south for London and the south-west of England, the net importing areas? The regulator Ofgem has estimated extra grid costs of a billion pounds are needed. Expect many new large pylons across England too!

2. Still on the subject of wind farms and associated pylons, Anne McIntosh MP has put a number of Parliamentary Questions. Appendix 2 gives them with government answers. At least Yorkshire might be spared from more super-grid, but the rest of England faces lots more giant pylons.

3. Even in North Yorkshire the County Council has just adopted a policy favouring small-scale wind farms, so we might expect more distribution pylons (132kV) through the North Yorkshire countryside. People concerned should contact NYCC direct. (See Appendix 3)

4. Recommended new book: Environmental Law, by Brenda Short, Sweet & Maxwell, 2003. ISBN 0421 797 908. For Angela Kelly's comments on this book and other legal sources, see Appendix 4. Cost 6.50 can be ordered from 020 7449 1111 or < http://www.sweetandmaxwell.co.uk .

5. Now the government wants to subsidise transmission for remote wind farms! That recognises the diseconomy of long-distance transmission, by the fact that a subsidy is needed. This really is piling nonsense upon nonsense, with the diseconomy of intermittent wind power subsidised first by measures best reserved for more reliable renewables, and now with extra subsidy for the diseconomy of remote location! The Telegraph article (Appendix 5) says more. Even Ofgem is complaining.

6. The Basslink objectors group in Australia reports a community picket of a key site (Appendix 6).

7. Some snips from the latest news@all-energy

3.6.Giant new  200k Scottish power route. Scottish and Southern Energy's 400k Volt electricity transmission line route between the Highlands and the Central Belt of Scotland has been identified
 www.scottish-southern.co.uk/news/selectcurrent.asp 

3.7.Ireland Wales interconnector announced. Ireland unveiled a set of new energy initiatives aimed at increasing security of electricity supply, renewing the focus on green energy -- including a 1,000MW interconnector to Wales
 www.politics.ie/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=3416 

 3.9.System operator incentives 2002-7. Transco's National Transmission System Review of System Operator incentives 2002-7 - Proposals document 21/04 

 9.3.Biomass plant could power Norwich. An 80m "green" power station in the heart of Norwich could provide enough energy for the city's entire population
 www.eeegr.com/newsmaster/t_news_info.php?refnum=458 

8. Several things are developing on the EMF front - of which more later. The news to catch today (discussed in the Radio4 Today programme this morning) is a display of 1,300 fluorescent tubes under a powerline near Bristol, lit by the stray electric fields. The array stems from the work of an artist-in-residence at Bristol University, following his surreal display of curved tubes in a "brain" sculpture quivering and glowing in the dark. The Guardian has a large front page picture and article and the Daily Mail carries the same picture (page 33) and includes an interview with Professor Denis Henshaw.
Artist  in residence Richard Box's website

Denis will also appear in the Trevor MacDonald Tonight programme on ITV on Monday, which looks at a remarkable cluster of very rare osteo-sarcoma cases in Cornwall, associated with EMF.

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APPENDIX 1 New powerlines for the Scottish Highlands

Source - North Tonight

09/02/2004 17:35

Highland residents say they fear a new giant electricity line stretching hundreds of miles, will place pylons too close to their homes. A public exhibition of the scheme has begun touring areas the two hundred million pounds scheme would affect in a bid to allay concerns.

Electricity pylons have been a feature on the landscape of the Highlands for decades. But they could soon be getting bigger, the renewable energy sector is blowing the wind of change and Scottish and Southern Electricity want to build pylons more than half the existing size again.

Its part of a scheme to build a giant power line to harness the power of renewables, a project which will cost more than two hundred million pounds.

The existing line, which carries 132, 000 volts, was built fifty years ago to serve an area with low electricity demand. The new line will carry 400, 000 volts and will allow the access of power from renewable wind, solar and wave schemes.

The new line would largely follow the same route as the current one, but around a quarter of it is proposed for a different position.

Today residents in Kiltarlity were the first to see a public exhibition of the plans. But there are fears the possible relocation of pylons closer to people's homes could be unsafe.

Leading land agent Edward Mountain says landowners have a lot to consider and must make the most of the consultation process. The energy company is asking for peoples' comments on the scheme by March the nineteenth.

A planning application will be made in August to the four local authorities, Highland, Perth and Kinross, Falkirk and Stirling Councils, that the power line would cross.

The final say will go to the Scottish Energy Minister and its hoped the line will be complete by 2008.

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APPENDIX 2 Anne McIntosh's PQs on wind power and more power lines.

Wind Farms 

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many miles of new power lines will be needed in (a)Yorkshire and (b)other parts of England as a result of the planned development of wind farms; and what estimate she has made of the costs. [152450]

 Mr. Timms: The plan for remodelling the transmission grid to accommodate new renewable energy generation is currently being prepared by National Grid Transco, Scottish Power and Scottish and Southern Electricity. They are upgrading the initial estimates prepared for, and published by, the Transmission Issues Working Group in June 2003. 
(a) There are no planned upgrades of the transmission system required in Yorkshire.
(b) For the rest of England there will be a need to upgrade transmission lines but the final plans have not been presented. The costs of adding an additional 6 GW of wind energy in England were estimated at 605million.

Wind Farms

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
(1) what assessment she has made of whether large-scale wind farm development will affect the risk of large-scale electricity blackouts, with particular reference to more remote parts of the UK; [152550]

(2) what assessment she has made of the impact of large-scale intermittent windpower generation on the operation of conventional back-up; [152552]

(3) what assessment she has made of the risks to security and stability of supply from (a) large-scale intermittent windpower generation and (b) the diseconomy of part-time operation of conventional back-up. [152553]

Mr. Timms: Existing electricity trading arrangements incentives market participants to deliver secure supplies and to manage the effects of intermittent generation, along with other risks, in so doing. Our proposals for BETTA will ensure that market participants in all parts of Great Britain face a uniform set of trading arrangements. Analysis carried out as part of the White Paper process shows that the electricity system could cope with an increasing reliance on renewable generation, including wind. The White Paper analysis also highlights that as the proportion of intermittent generation increases, so does the cost of maintaining stable supplies. These costs need to be managed and new ways found to minimise them. We are already funding research into this through the DTIs Renewable Energy programme and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council's SUPERGEN programme. In addition, as part of our current capital grant programme we allocated in 2002 an additional 4million to facilitate the demonstration of new control, storage and metering technologies. 6 Feb 2004 : Column 1099W DTI and Ofgem will continue to monitor electricity security issues through the Joint Electricity Security of Supply working group (JESS).

Wind Farms Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the contribution of the (a) concrete content of foundations, (b) losses in transmission and (c) the construction of necessary supports infrastructure to the (i) energy and (ii) carbon costs of wind farms. [152448]

Jacqui Smith: Research has shown that a modern wind turbine will recover all of the energy expended in its manufacture, operation and decommissioning within approximately three months. This figure is similar for onshore and offshore wind turbines. Exact figures for energy costs vary depending on the type of turbine, location, etc. However, a reasonable estimate in the construction of an onshore turbine is that (a) foundation energy costs account for up to 5 per cent. of the total and (b) support infrastructure accounts for less than 20per cent. The rest is primarily accounted for in the manufacture of the turbine itself. Over an operating lifetime of 20 years, an onshore turbine is expected to recover over 80 times the input energy required. This figure also includes maintenance energy requirements and transmission losses of 6 to 9per cent. Carbon savings are dependent on the emissions from electricity that would otherwise have been produced from conventional power stations, but it is reasonable to assume that the lifetime savings will be of a similar multiple. The energy recovery for an offshore turbine is expected to be higher due to higher energy outputs over a longer lifetime.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate she has made of the additional cost of reinforcing the transmission grid to cope with the addition of wind farm-generated electricity. [152451]

Jacqui Smith: The Transmission Issues Working Group reported in June 2003 that the overall cost to connect an additional 12 GW of renewable energy generation to the GB network would cost 2.1 billion. National Grid Transco, Scottish Power and Scottish and Southern Energy are currently revising these costs.

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APPENDIX 3. NYCC statement on wind power.

NYCC press release at
 http://www.northyorks.gov.uk/netitccpr/2004_/1windfarm/default.htm 

1 w i n d f a r m News Communications Unit County Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 8AD Tel: 01609 780780 ext 2206 Fax: 01609 777951 General E-mail: press@northyorks.gov.uk 

COUNTY REVIEWS DEVELOPMENT OF WIND FARM ENERGY

A PROPOSAL to build small-scale wind farms to provide 'green' energy is likely to be supported by North Yorkshire County Council. The council's environment scrutiny committee is urging the county council to back the move from the energy company Powergen to build small-scale wind farms at suitable locations across North Yorkshire. Each site would have two or three turbines and Powergen would make annual payments to the communities where they are located. Councillor Heather Garnett, chairman of the scrutiny committee, said: "We recognise the need for energy generation from wind power and other renewable sources in order to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that are affecting the weather in the UK and the rest of the world. "But we also recognise that wind turbines can be regarded as unsightly and an intrusion into the landscape." The scrutiny committee decided to recommend support for the Powergen proposal in principle and that the council should work with the company and with other partners to see if there are any suitable sites in North Yorkshire. The committee also recommended that the county council should develop a strategic policy on alternative energy sources. 10-2-'04 Contact: Neil Dodson, corporate policy officer, ext 2133

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APPENDIX 4. Notes from Angela Kelly (Country Guardian chairman) on legal sources.

A New Book in the Nutshells series - ?Environmental Law" by Brenda Short, cost £6.50

I have been sent a copy of a new book by Sweet and Maxwell. Nutshells books are normally revision guides for law students, but this book includes a chapter on the English Legal System for the benefit of other readers. This is particularly helpful to someone like me who also comes from a non law background.

For such a complex subject, it is written in a fairly straight forward way and I would recommend the book to anyone who wants to understand the basics of Environmental Law.

The book includes a chapter on criminal and civil law options open to the environmental campaigner and how an individual can take action. It explains what a judicial review is, and how the Human Rights Act 1998 is used in planning/environmental cases.

Wind turbines are discussed briefly in connection with statutory nuisance and the Barrow case, which was awaiting trial at the time the book went to press. Although other campaign groups may be dealing with different issues, they use the same legal procedures to try to prevent a development/ risk of pollution or environmental harm.

The book mentions the US Ghost Fleet Ships (which arrived in Hartlepool for dismantling at the end of last year) , pesticide spraying, GM crops and EMFs (powerlines, mobile phone and TETRA masts).

Other topics in the book include the planning system, Environmental Impact Assessment, EU and International Law, IPC/PPC, Statutory Nuisance, Water Pollution, Air Pollution, Noise Pollution, Waste Management and Contaminated Land.

----------------- Have a look at the Environmental Law Foundation, a charity:- <http://www.elflaw.org>

Environmental law solicitors with good web sites : <http://www.richardbuxton.co.uk> (some excellent information on funding, transcripts of cases etc)

<http://www.leighday.co.uk> Martyn Day was the solicitor acting in the Duddridge case and a number of environmental pollution cases.

Another useful website: www.bailii.org gives full text of law reports.

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Appendix 5. Telegraph article on subsidy for remote wind-farms.

Green power subsidies are misguided, says Ofgem By Tessa Thorniley (Filed: 14/02/2004)

Energy regulator Ofgem has attacked Government plans to extend subsidies for renewable power generators saying they are "unnecessary and misguided" and will push up consumers' bills.

Yesterday, Sir John Mogg, chairman of Ofgem, expressed disappointment at government plans to amend the Energy Bill, allowing a reduction in transmission charges for renewable energy generators in peripheral areas.

He said: "It will mean renewable generators will pay less to transmit their electricity through the national grid than traditional generators."

Ofgem estimates that the Government's Renewables Obligation trading scheme is already providing £485m of additional financial support to companies generating power from renewable sources such as wind farms.

Under the scheme suppliers must buy an increasing amount of their power from renewable sources, with the higher costs passed on to customers. Sir John said customers' bills will inevitably rise "for no clear benefit" if the amendment is passed.

The regulator has supported proposals within the Bill, which will create a single UK electricity market - known as Betta - under which, generators pay for transmission based on how far the power is transported.

A spokesman for the Department of Trade and Industry said: "Renewable generators in peripheral areas of Scotland would have to meet the highest transmission charges."

The number of wind farms in Scotland - the windiest place in Europe - is expected to rise by 80pc over two years, as the Government struggles to meet its target of generating 10pc of electricity from renewable sources by 2010, rising to 15pc by 2015.

But Ofgem said there is no evidence the proposal will encourage further development of renewable sources. And it warned Government intervention "may increase risk to companies and discourage future investment".

His comments came as Scottish Power said it had won approval to build the UK's largest onshore wind farm on a site 20 miles west of Edinburgh - with 62 turbines able to power 80,000 homes.

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APPENDIX 6 Basslink community picket.

This is to let you know that Basslink Concerned Citizens Coalition Inc has organised a community Picket line outside the roads where the workers will enter the Basslink transformer site near Loy Yang Gippsland for Monday 16 Feb 2004 at 6.30am

It feels that this is a result of those responsible for the project are not responsibly dealing with the community's concerns about the project - both the land and marine issues

A selected summary of issues is listed below

The picket line will be recognisable by the BCCC caravan. regards Keith Borthwick Chair Tel 0427 51482292

Workers on the Basslink Project

RETHINK BASSLINK

Why do we have a community picket line here?

because: .

Basslink will cost jobs and waste energy

Basslink will defer investment in new energy enterprises in the Latrobe Valley

Thorough monitoring is needed to avoid shark attacks on 90mile beach

Recreational and professional fishing will be put at risk

The Basslink cable should go underground to avoid properties & the Mullungdung Forest

Farmers want the cable and pylons around their properties - not through them

We want lists of affected species and the commitment to monitor them after construction

Until we get our concerns addressed,

we urge workers to not cross the picket line.

Issued by Basslink Concerned Citizens Coalition Inc A0041310A

Willung South Rd, PO Box 1, Gormandale 3873

-- Mike O'Carroll

 

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