Wind farms to go ahead
Inspector Robert Mellor announced his decision in favour of both projects this morning, several days ahead of schedule.
Helen Wilson, Development Project Manager for Jack’s Lane developer RES, said: “We are very pleased about the Planning Inspector’s decision. We felt that the evidence we had presented to the Inquiry clearly demonstrated that the wind farm would have no significant effects on local people or the local environment.”
RES and E.ON, the Chiplow developer, now have three years to begin developing the sites. RES says it expects construction to start at Jack’s Lane in late 2013 or early 2014, and that the work will take about a year.
RES says it still intends to offer a community fund of around £24,000 a year to the villages affected by the development.
“Lack of democracy”
“We are obviously most disappointed, putting it mildly, about the news that the planning inspector has given the go-ahead for the proposed wind farms at Jacks Lane and Chiplow,” said Stanhoe parish council chairman Terry Austin. Terry emphasised that he was speaking in a personal capacity, but that his views reflected those of many people in Stanhoe.
“For the objectors this is the worst possible outcome,” he continued. “It completely dismisses the views of local people (including the Borough of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk) in favour of mis-guided government policy. This so-called democratic process has shown that the view of central government will prevail despite the pretence that in planning matters the will of the local people should prevail. What price localism and democracy?”
“There is justifiable astonishment and anger at this outcome, not the least from the members and supporters of CAPE/ATAC who have worked so hard over many years to protect the beautiful countryside in this part of Norfolk by fighting these proposals.”
How many homes?
RES says that Jack’s Lane will power around 8,000 homes.
For various reasons, such figures are hard to estimate. The fact that we do not have gas locally means that electricity is used for cooking, and this tends to push annual household consumption above the figure of 3,500–4,000 kWh that is often assumed by renewable energy companies.
stanhoe.org’s calculation is more like 6,000 homes. This is based on six turbines rated at 2.3 MW each, a load factor of 25 percent and a household consumption of 5,000 kWh a year.
A database published by the Renewable Energy Foundation shows that onshore wind farms in England larger than 10 MW have load factors in the range 20–30 percent. One of the best performers is North Pickenham, which produces on average 30–32 percent of its maximum rated output.