As populations continue to rise, the future of energy production is one issue that all governments must tackle. In the UK however we continue to depend upon expensive foreign imports of fossil fuels to fire our electricity power station generators. In 2012 over 60% of the electricity generated for the UK market was done so using imported fossil fuels. As the cost of importing these fuels is very hard to predict (other than they will go up) this is not good for our economy or fuel bills.
With ever reducing tariffs and a long drawn out and difficult planning process there is an impression in the UK that the days of new onshore wind developments are drawing to a close. This will no doubt please the advocates against renewable energy in general and onshore wind in particular. There is growing voice from within the Conservative party that wind farms are “at their peak.” This comes from the party that when were in opposition promised to lead the ‘greenest Government ever.’
Recently however, the Committee on Climate Change insisted that onshore wind still has role to play in cost-effective energy mix. Responding to a Times report suggesting UK “has enough wind turbines”, the Committee confirmed most cost-effective decarbonisation scenarios require more onshore wind energy through to 2030.
Although onshore wind is not the be all and end all when it comes to clean energy production it provides a solid base onto which a healthy mix of alternative energy supplies can be added. The technology is tested and the production of energy proven. It is also is less expensive to construct and maintain than its offshore brother.
Onshore wind is also continuing to provide for the surrounding community as well as the country on a whole. The Scottish town of Lesmahagow is in line for a substantial financial windfall after the Scottish Government passed plans for a new wind farm to be built near Strathaven.
The 26 turbine wind farm received the green light for the proposals from the Government’s Energy Consents Unit meaning the 104MW wind farm, run by Banks Renewables, will generate a community benefit fund of an estimated £11 million during its 25-year lifetime.
That money will help fund the long term development plans drawn up by Community Councils in Lesmahagow, Stonehouse, Strathaven and Sandford and Upper Avondale.
Banks Renewables’ director Colin Anderson was delighted to see the development get the go-ahead and bring real, substantial benefits to the community for generations to come.
“Millions of pounds in wind farm revenues will be available for the local communities to invest in the projects, groups and worthwhile causes most important to them” he stated.
It’s not just Lesmahagow that is benefitting in this way; throughout the UK local communities are seeing a tangible financial benefit from onshore wind. Whether it be funding available through Local Authority projects or direct to local charities and community organisations renewable energy production is providing much needed financial support.
Nationally onshore wind provides clean energy from a proven source, locally, a financial benefit to worthwhile causes. We are heading into a future where the topic of energy production will constantly be at the forefront of the issues of the day and we have an opportunity to leave a legacy of clean affordable energy for all. Our country has a wonderful natural resource in our wind and to utilise it fully would be right thing to do.