Wind Power in the UK (PDF). - Sustainable Development Commission

sd.commission.org.uk

Wind Power in the UK (PDF). - Sustainable Development Commission

6 Landscape and environmentimpacts are virtually permanent, asdecommissioned sites cannot simply bedemolished.Figure 16: Wind turbine in front of coal-firedpower station, Grevenbroich, Germany.Decommissioning of wind turbines is a relativelystraightforward process and in most cases theland can be returned to ‘normal’ at the end ofthe turbine’s operational life, with access roadsand other impacts reversible over time in mostcases. In this sense, wind turbines could be seenas temporary structures, and siting decisionsnow do not necessarily need to becomepermanent.6.8 Land-take by winddevelopmentsDespite claims of wholesale destruction of theUK countryside, wind power development is notlikely to have the widespread impact that manypeople imagine. To meet the 20% target for2020 solely from wind power, the UK wouldneed around 26 GW of wind capacity ifelectricity supply increases to 400,000 GWh xxiii . If50% of this is met from onshore wind using anaverage of 2 MW turbines, this would requirearound 6,500 turbines. Based on a land-take ofaround 0.18 ha/MW for the turbines, accessroads and substation xxiv , total onshore land-takewould equal around 2,340 ha. Based on a totalUK land area of 24 million hectares, this isequivalent to around 0.0001% of the totalavailable land. This contrasts with the 3.3million hectares that is currently classed as‘urban + other’ use land. As wind turbines areusually located on hilly land, the space aroundthe turbines is still available for livestock grazingor other activities and is therefore notconsidered as part of total land-take.6.9 Achieving a long-termperspectiveOut of all the issues surrounding wind powerdevelopment, landscape and visual impactconcerns are the only ones that are primarilysubjective. As the effect cannot be measured orcalculated and mitigation options are limited, itis unlikely that these issues can ever beresolved to everyone’s satisfaction. It thereforeseems inevitable that some people will alwaysbe objectors to wind farms in rural locations,and as UK wind resources correlate strongly withremote and rural areas, disagreement isunavoidable.Recent changes to planning guidance across theUK requires local decision-makers to considernational energy policy priorities when decidingon local renewable energy projects, and inmany cases it is now unlikely to be enough toreject an application on landscape grounds©Nordex AGxxiiixxivThis figure is based on the assumptions used in the analysis by Dale et al (see Chapter 4). In reality, wind output is onlylikely to make up part of the 20% renewables target, meaning these estimates are overstated.0.18 ha/MW is based on calculations using data from the proposed Black Law wind farm (143 MW) being developed byScottishPower.sustainable development commissionWind Power in the UK 63

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines