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52 percent of Tory Voters in favour of Wind Farms

A poll published in the Sunday Times shows more than half of Conservative voters think the government should do more to encourage onshore wind power.  52% of those surveyed said the building of wind farms should be encouraged, while 18% were against the building of more wind farms and thought they should be banned.

The public in general are also in favour of the use of wind power according to the survey. 61% said that they would like to see more of the wind farms in the UK while 14% said that they would like to see a ban.

Members of the public are also keen to see more offshore wind power, with 73% of people stating they would be in favour of more offshore wind power plants being built.

When it came to other forms of energy production, there were mixed views on the extraction of shale gas with 43% against extracting shale and 32% in favour of it.

Commenting in a press release, RenewableUK Chief Executive Maria McCaffery said:

“Recent comments suggest that the Government is looking to restrict onshore wind as it’s concerned about the technology’s popularity. These poll results, and the many like them that have gone before, should provide reassurance that the majority of people, however they vote, want to see more onshore wind, and that any premature curtailment is not necessary.

Indeed, as the Government has said it is committed to decarbonisation at the lowest cost, early curtailment would seem to directly contravene government objectives.”

Queen’s Speech and Onshore Windfarms

In the Queen’s Speech it was announced the new energy bill would mean decisions over smaller onshore wind farms that have a capacity of 50 MW will be decided by local authorities in England as opposed to a ministerial level.

At the moment it is unclear whether this will also affect wind farms in Wales as a decision has not yet been made.

Renewable energy organisations have expressed concerns that this could cause a delay in renewable energy projects and RenewableUK are calling on the government to give local authorities the additional resources local councils will need to make quick decisions.

Maria McCaffery, Chief Executive of RenewableUK said

“Onshore wind is committed to being a good neighbour to the local communities in which it is hosted, providing substantial economic advantages to the region including the ground-breaking community benefits it pays, so we are confident that Local Authorities should recognise the value of these projects.” 

Report proposes new Office for Energy

An Energy and Economics consultancy called Vivid Energy has issued a report detailing the need for an Office for Energy.

The report has the backing of Npower and it sets out how an Office for Energy would provide accurate data and analysis of Britain’s energy sector. It is suggested that the proposed office would either be established as a new organisation or have its base within an already existing organisation.

Among its duties would be to ensure there will be detailed, impartial analysis of such issues as the low carbon energy sector and it would also examine changes to policies and regulations and how they would affect policy goals.

However, the proposed new body would not have the power to suggest laws or regulations and its purpose would not be to replace government bodies that are already in existence. Instead, it would provide support for government and regulators and would function in the same way as the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Commenting on the need to improve consumer confidence in the energy industry, Robin Smale, Director at Vivid Economics, said:

“The UK energy market has been subject to criticism and controversy, due in part to a lack of analysis that is both trusted and clear. 

“There is a case for a new role to enhance consumer and investor confidence by providing much needed trusted and clear analysis across the whole of the energy sector. Many stakeholders see value in this new role, and in identifying options for how this role could be delivered.  With the CMA about to report, now is an opportune time to consider it.”

Other sectors such as healthcare, already have similar body in place and it is suggested that due to the success of these organisations, there would be confidence in a new institution for the energy sector.

The report argues that while there are already several UK energy institutions, it is perceived they have not always been able to provide a “balanced and clear analysis of key issues across the whole of Britain's energy sector”.

Paul Massara, CEO of RWE npower said said:

“Earlier this year I asked Vivid Economics to look at whether there could be a new way to build the debate about energy on a complete foundation of fact and reliable analysis.

“…An Office of Energy would support and empower a continuing open and transparent debate about the competing issues of the trilemma.”  

RWE inaugurates Germany wind farm

As it continues with its commitment to greener forms of power generation, RWE has introduced the German-based Nordsee Os windfarm into its business. The windfarm is one of the biggest in Germany and has enough capacity to produce 295 Megawatts of energy. There are 48 wind turbines in the wind park, which bring power to 320,000 homes.

RWE’s investment into the windfarm stands at more than €1 billion. An operation room situated in Heligoland will operate and manage the running of the windfarm and a control room has been set up to monitor the project. Moreover, an apartment block has been built for employees to stay while they work.

It took more than 60 kilometres of undersea cable to make the installation possible and the installation vessels used in the project cover 137,000 nautical miles; each of the blades weighs more than 23 tonnes and measures over 60 m long. The turbines weigh 350 tonnes and they measure 160m in height.

Commenting on the project, Peter Terium, CEO of RWE AG, said:

“The expansion of renewable energy is one of our main growth areas and offshore wind energy will play a vital role. RWE will become the third largest player in the European offshore market this year. And we are growing further: In only one month’s time, we will be commissioning another wind farm, Gwynt y Môr, located off the coast of Wales.

“We are developing and operating additional offshore projects alone and with partners in Germany, the UK and the Benelux region.”

Hans Bünting, CEO of RWE Innogy, added:

“At the end of this year, 40% of our power generation from renewables will already come from offshore power production. Thanks to the Nordsee Ost and Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farms our operating result will see double-digit growth."

Further wind farms are in the development stages and when they are completed, they will be situated in the German North Sea. The wind farms will have an expanse of 150 km² and they will be able to produce 1000 MW of power.

Gwynt y Môr windfarm

RWE will introduce the Gwynt y Môr windfarm into its business in June 2015. The farm is located in Wales and it has the capacity to produce 576 MW of energy. The building of the windfarm has been carried out in conjunction with Siemens and other partners.

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