Conservationists have won a legal challenge in Scotland’s highest court against four major offshore wind farm projects. RSPB Scotland opposed the developments in the Firth of Forth and Firth of Tay over concerns for wildlife. Scottish ministers approved the Inch Cape, Neart na Gaoithe and Seagreen Alpha and Bravo projects in 2014. The projects could provide power for 1.4 million homes. RSPB Scotland lawyers argued that the Scottish ministers were in breach of the requirements placed upon them by the law when they made their original decisions. The lawyers argued that the ministers didn’t give proper consideration to the area being a haven for rare wildlife. Judge Lord Stewart ruled in favour of RSPB Scotland at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
BBC 19th July 2016 read more »
Multi-billion pound plans to build a series of wind farms off the coast of Scotland are in doubt after the RSPB won a legal challenge to quash their planning consent over fears they would kill too many birds. A judge ruled in favour of the RSPB’s claim that there were flaws in way the Scottish Government granted consent for the Neart na Gaoithe, Inch Cape, SeaGreen Alpha and SeaGreen Bravo wind farms, which together would have comprised 335 turbines generating up to 2.3 GW of power. The RSPB claimed that the projects, in the firths of Forth and Tay, would together result in the deaths of “thousands of gannets, puffins, kittiwakes and other seabirds from iconic internationally protected wildlife sites like the Bass Rock and the Isle of May” each year. The £2bn, 450MW Neart na Gaoithe project was already facing the axe after a subsidy contract from the UK Government was revoked in May as the developer was unable to invest due to the ongoing legal challenge.
Telegraph 19th July 2016 read more »
The cost of offshore wind power in the North Sea is 30% lower than that of new nuclear, writes Kieran Cooke – helped along by low oil and steel prices, reduced maintenance and mass production. By 2030 the sector is expected to supply 7% of Europe’s electricity. A building boom is underway offshore in Europe. Up to 400 giant wind turbines are due to be built off the northeast coast of the UK in what will be the world’s largest offshore wind development. Output from the Dogger Bank project will be 1.2 GW (gigawatts) – enough to power more than a million homes. Next year, a 150-turbine wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands is due to start operating, and other schemes along the Dutch coast are in the works. Costs have also dropped due to lower prices on the world market for steel, a major building component in offshore installations. And new methods have been adopted for laying foundations for pylons at sea. The industry says that as projects have grown in size, economies of scale have been achieved. The cost of cables connecting the wind pylons to power networks onshore has also been reduced. Initially, cables were produced to operate at full capacity at all times, but new cables that are less bulky and less expensive are able to cope with the intermittent power produced. Earlier this month, DONG Energy of Denmark, the world’s largest offshore wind company, won a bid to build two wind farms 22 kilometres off the Dutch coast. The company says power will be produced for less than any other offshore scheme to date. It is estimated that when the scheme is fully operational, electricity will cost €72.70 per megawatt hour (MWh) and €87 / MWh when transmission costs are included. At present, the cheapest offshore power is €103 MWh, generated by a wind farm off the coast of Denmark.
Ecologist 19th July 2016 read more »