Wind Energy: Responding to Controversy & Barriers Ruby Hammer, LL.B.(Hons), LL.M. in Critical Legal Studies, Senior Law Lecturer, Member of RETS Research Team & Centre for Applied Business Research Staffordshire University Law School Welcome and Overview of Session 1. Introduction: The Future of Energy? 2. EU Energy Policy & Renewables Update 2. The UK Wind Industry: Facts and Figures 3. Offshore Wind - A UK Success Story 4. Generic Problems 5. Onshore Wind – Controversy & Barriers 7. Case Studies: Charles Lequesne, RPS Group 8. Group Activity & Discussion Introduction • The location and construction of wind turbines generates a high level of controversy and often well organised local opposition. • Within the UK, there is a discrepancy between the public’s apparent desire for renewable energy and the slow rate at which new generating capacity is commissioned. • This workshop seeks to examine the above issues and will commence with an overview of the regulation of wind energy in the EU & UK and explore how conflict and opposition might be resolved. The Future of Renewable Energy: The Facts The International Energy Agency predicts that energy usage will double by 2030. However, climate change science indicates that we need to reduce emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases by at least 60% by 2050 to avert climate change disaster. A vital component of the EU Energy policy is the intention to provide a 20% share of energy from renewable sources in the EU energy mix. The Future of EU Energy: Facts & Figures • In real terms, the overall share of renewable energy in the EU energy mix has risen steadily to some 10% of gross final energy consumption during 2008. • By 2009, 62% of newly installed electricity generation capacity in the EU was from renewable sources, mainly wind and solar. • The majority of renewable energy is converted into electricity and because renewable resources cannot be controlled in the same way as fossil fuels, EU energy policy is increasingly focusing on the way in which power systems are designed and operated both regionally and across member states. Energy from wind will continue to occupy a significant place in the energy mix of the EU. EU Policy: Energy 2020 European Energy Policy focuses upon energy security, sustainability and competitiveness and the new EU energy strategy, Energy 2020 focuses on five priorities: Achieving energy efficiency in Europe Strengthening the external dimension of the EU energy market Extending Europe’s leadership in energy technology and innovation Building a panEuropean integrated market Empowering consumers and achieving high level of safety & security The Renewable Energy Directive 2009 • The Renewables Directive (2009/28/EC) The Directive addresses a number of issues relating to renewable energies within the EU including the legally binding share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption. RE share of energy mix to rise to 20% by 2020 (UK has 15% target). • In particular, Article 4 requires member states to produce a National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) by the end of June, 2010. EU countries are free to decide their own preferred 'mix' of renewables, allowing them to take account of their different potentials. In UK, wind power forms an integral part of the UK energy mix. • The directive set a series of interim targets, known as 'indicative trajectories', in order to ensure steady progress towards the 2020 targets. Monitoring & Enforcement • A compromise agreement rejected a regime whereby member states would have faced financial penalties for failing to reach interim targets towards the 2020 goal. • The Commission, however, reserves the right to enact infringement proceedings if states do not take 'appropriate measures' towards their targets, meaning the decision to take legal action will be at the Commission's discretion. 2009 Directive: Progress to Date • By 1st February, 2011 all 27 Member States had submitted a National Renewable Energy Plan (NREAP). • The ECN (Energy Research Network of the Netherlands) has collected all data from the NREAP documents. This has resulted in four products being available: – A full data report integrating and aggregating where possible data from the individual countries. – A summary of the above report, mainly containing the data tables – A database: all data from the published NREAP documents are available in a database. – A set of figures: all figures from the data report are available as separate image files. Energy Policy: Time to Act EU Summit 4th February, 2011 Four commitments to provide competitive, sustainable and secure energy for Europe: • Complete the internal energy market by 2014 • No Member State an energy island after 2015 • Boost energy efficiency initiatives • Greater coordination of EU external energy policy On 31 January, 2011, the EU Commission presented its Communication "Renewable Energy: Progressing towards the 2020 target“ which indicates that the 2020 renewable energy policy goals are likely to be met and exceeded if Member States fully implement their national renewable energy action plans and if financing instruments are improved. Wind Energy Regulation in the UK • In addition to complying with the Renewable Energy Directive, renewable electricity generation in the UK has increased significantly since 2002 when the Renewables Obligation was introduced. • The Renewables Obligation requires all licensed electricity suppliers in England and Wales to supply a certain amount of their electricity from renewable sources, and provides financial incentives for them to do so. Suppliers obtain what are known as ROCs – renewable energy certificates. Originally, suppliers obliged to source 10% of supply from renewables. In 2004, this obligation was extended to 15% of electricity supply by 2015. At the end of 2007, around 5 percent of the UK’s total electricity came from renewable sources (4.9 percent from RO eligible sources), compared to just 1.8 percent in 2002.. Onshore Wind: Financial Incentives • The introduction of the Feed-in-Tariff System (FITS) has undoubtedly encouraged many developers and landowners to seek land suitable for wind turbines. • FITS was introduced on 1st April, 2010 (see Feed-in Tariffs (Specified Maximum Capacity and Functions) Order 2010. FITS are payments made to renewable energy generators via the licensed Electricity Supply Companies. • FITS are comprised of: - a Generation Tariff which is paid according to how much electricity is generated - an Export Tariff which is paid for any electricity which is imported to the grid. • Tariffs only paid on renewable generation sites up to 5MW and an installation cannot claim FITS and ROCs. • FITS payments are guaranteed, at a fixed payment rate (Index-linked) for 20 years for wind and 25 years for solar (FITS also applies to anaerobic digestion and hydro projects). Wind Energy in the UK • At the end of 2007, around 5 percent of the UK’s total electricity came from renewable sources (4.9 percent from RO eligible sources), compared to just 1.8 percent in 2002. • More recently, the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) (December, 2010) show that statistics for Quarter 3 of 2010 demonstrate the biggest ever contribution from renewables to the UK's electricity supply standing at 8.6%. • Wind is the single biggest contributor to renewable energy supply and the statistics also show that contribution from wind has risen by a massive 37% compared to same quarter in 2009. Wind Projects in the UK Interactive Map of Renewables and Alternative Energy Projects in UK http:/www.renewables-map.co.uk/index.asp?Status=1/ (offshore/onshore as at 22nd February, 2011) Working 226 Onshore 11 Offshore Under Construction 38 Onshore 11 Offshore In Planning 321 Onshore 10 Offshore Offshore Wind: A UK Success Story? • Latest offshore wind statistics, released by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), confirm that the United Kingdom is the European and world sector leader . • How is offshore wind regulated? Who owns the seabeds? The Crown Estate (CE), a public body regulated by the Crown Estate Act 1961. Not part of the Government but works closely with government and statutory bodies. CE own seabeds up to 12 nautical miles from shore. • The Crown Estate have pursued a series of leasing rounds under which areas of seabed have been made available for the development of offshore wind farms. • Round 1 aimed to cater for demonstration scale projects of up to 30 turbines with the selection of sites largely driven by developers. Eighteen sites were awarded, totalling a combined capacity of up to 1.5 GW. Rounds 2 & 3: UK Offshore Wind • • • Round 2: Three strategic areas were identified for development and a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) was carried out for these areas, (the Greater Wash, the Thames Estuary and Liverpool Bay in the northwest). Round 2 Implementation: During July, 2003 the Crown Estate (CE) announced a competitive tender process for commercial scale Round 2 sites. Fifteen successful projects were awarded Crown Estate agreements for leases which amounted to 7.2 GW and included sites within and beyond territorial waters. Round 3: CE used spatial planning to identify nine development zones for which developers could bid. In parallel to the bidding process, the government carried out a further SEA for offshore energy. Once awarded, each of the nine zones will be managed by a single development partner (company or consortium) who will oversee development of the zone. Offshore Wind: Case Study • Thanet Offshore Wind Farm • Vattenfall acquired the Thanet Offshore Wind Farm project in November 2008. Construction was completed September 2010. There are 100 Vestas V90 wind turbines that have a total capacity of 300 MW. This is sufficient to supply more than 200,000 homes per year with clean energy. • Currently, it is the largest operational offshore wind farm anywhere in the world. It will make a significant contribution to the Government’s national and regional renewable energy targets. Offshore Wind: Regional Impact? • What can we learn? Pause for Reflection Success of offshore wind will create many opportunities in the supply chain and should not be regarded as having no relevance to business, developers and planners within onshore regions. Also, opportunity to exchange and learn from offshore ‘best practice’. Wind Energy: Generic Problems Intermittency & Wind Variability Financing of Projects Public Perception & Opinion Domestic Planning Barriers & Hurdles Grid Connections Considerations: Feasibility Before attempting to deal with planning issues, a potential developer will need to assess the 'feasibility' of any potential application for onshore wind. 3 key issues arise in this respect: • Assessment and calculation of wind speed . This can be done either by using the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) wind speed database or installing an anemometer mast to assess wind speed over set period of time. • Assessment of the distance to nearest national grid connection point and evaluation of cost. • A developer will also need to ensure that there are suitable access roads to the site or evaluate the potential cost of building them. Wind Turbines & Scoping If a project appears viable, a developer can move to the second stage in project delivery which is known as scoping. Scoping involves consultation with the various parties that have a significant influence over the outcome of a proposed project. Below is a list of key organisations whom a developer should consult at an early stage: • MOD and the Civil Aviation Authority: To assess potential interference of project with radar. • Local Planning Authority: Where the LPA determines your scheme planning officers and the local planning policy need to be consulted early. • Local Community Groups: Research indicates that community support and involvement is essential to planning for wind energy. This is an area which needs the development of ‘good practice’ as will be seen later. Environmental Impact Assessment • Any planning application for wind turbines will involve design and location considerations, but in particular will entail an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). • An EIA is a detailed assessment of all the local environmental data taking account of some of the following considerations: - Wildlife species types, movements and numbers; - Distance to the nearest dwelling/road; - Nature conservation areas; - Landscape conservation areas and other land designations such as greenbelt. Environmental Impact Assessment • The EIA will also need to address a number of visual issues: - height and width of blades - visual impact of access roads and hard standing - Flicker from blades • Noise and proximity to dwellings will also be considered and increasingly developers are finding interference with telecommunications problematic . • There will often be a number of local constraints found in other relevant policies such as green belt, conservation areas, ecological assets, protection of special landscape areas, national parks. Planning Policy & Renewables • PPS22 Planning Policy Statement on Renewable Energy (July 2004) provides a concise planning framework for such developments and 'encourages local authorities to take account of the positive benefits of renewable when considering applications.‘ • PPS22 is accompanied by a Companion Guide, which discusses the planning and development of renewable energy schemes across England. Planning & Climate Change • Also important to renewable energy developments is the supplement to PPS1, Planning and Climate Change – Supplement to Planning Policy 1, which takes precedence over other's in the PPS series and sets out how planning, in providing for the new homes, jobs and infrastructure needed by communities, should help shape places with lower carbon emissions and resilience to climate change. • This policy moves towards wider networks and neighbourhood-scale decentralised energy sources, it places a stronger emphasis on developers and local authorities to consider onsite renewables for all new developments, and it provides more robust guidance for the handling of renewable energy planning applications. Case Study: Carsington Water • Carsington Wind Energy Ltd applied to local authority to build 4 wind turbines, access tracks and ancillary substation. The proposed site overlooked Carsington Water, a large area open to the public and used for variety of tourism and leisure activities. Situated on boundary of the Peak District National Park. • After great opposition, planning permission refused by Derbyshire Dales DC. Carsington Wind Energy Ltd appealed. • Public Inquiry held and in 2008, Planning Inspector allowed appeal and granted planning permission subject to conditions. The proposed development expected to generate power for 5,500 homes. Carsington Water: Judicial Review Peak District National Park Authority and Derbyshire Dales DC decided to challenge inspector’s decision by way of judicial review. The appeal had related to 5 main issues: 1. Impact of the proposal on the character and surrounding appearance of the neighbourhood. 2. Impact of proposal on settings of Carsington and Hopton villages as well as Brassington conservation areas. 3. Effects of the proposal on public enjoyment of the countryside. 4. Whether as a matter of law and policy, there was a requirement to consider alternative sites. 5. Contribution that the proposals would make to achieving regional and national targets for renewable energy generation. Judicial review limited to points 4 and 5: ‘alternative sites issue’ and ‘strategic targets’ issue. Carsington Water: The Decision • • Alternative Sites: No positive legal obligation for inspector to consider alternative sites – left as a matter of planning judgement on the facts of any case. Strategic Targets Issue: Inspector had commented...”An approach which sought to keep individual planning applications and regional targets entirely separate would be irrational not only in terms of Government’s aim of securing substantially more renewable energy generation capacity but also of the whole basis of the plan-led system” High Court found no ‘error of law’ in inspector’s reasoning and application was dismissed. However...Planning & Public Opinion • A study carried out by Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) in 2008 indicated 83-85% of the population were in principle in favour of renewable energy. • However, between 2007 and 2009 approval rates for below 50 MW onshore planning applications in England were shown to drop from 57% to a mere 29% at first instance decision level. Despite the above approval for RE, it is clear that effective organised opposition at a local level is inhibiting chances of wind applications and causing delays. • Bell (et.al., 2005) suggests 3 explanations for such a discrepancy: Democratic Deficit Qualified Support NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) Community Engagement • Jones & Eiser comment: “Identifying the qualifications that people place upon their general support for wind, should help developers not only select more appropriate (i.e. less controversial) sites but also generate more appropriate community benefit packages that readily address the actual (as opposed to perceived) concerns of host communities.” • Research conducted by Jones & Eiser demonstrates that early (pre-application) and continued involvement of host communities is essential. • One of the main concerns is perceived visual impact and anticipated visibility. Deliberative Planning Strategies Need to move away from Decide, announce & defend approach Deliberative – bottom-up strategy allowing communities to show developers what would be acceptable The Way Forward • There is a real need to develop survey measures that more accurately register the ‘caveats’ which members of the public place on renewable energy technology. Also a need to understand the rationale for such caveats - is greater education and awareness of options/benefits of RE required? • Wind projects should be designed with community engagement strategies and recognise the importance of dealing with anticipated visibility concerns. For example, planning roadshows with artist’s impressions, CGI simulations, zones of theoretical proximity (ZTPs). • Weight of evidence clearly points to the importance of early, sustained and reciprocal communication between communities. Impact of Localism Bill? • The Localism Bill currently proceeding through parliament will allow councils, communities and individuals a much greater say in planning decisions, raising the prospect of more intense battles between developers and local groups opposed to projects such as wind farms. • One of the biggest changes contained in the bill are new rules allowing for local referendums where people, councillors and councils can instigate a vote on any local issue, including planning proposals. • The results of any referendum must be taken into account by decision-making public authorities and will increase pressure on planners to block projects that are unpopular at a local level. • The above measures could have negative effects for wind project proposals but could also offer possibilities for mobilising support, democratic dialogue and ultimately support for RE projects. Industry Protocol & Benefits • During February, 2011, in conjunction with the government, the wind industry accepted a protocol on payments from wind farms to community benefit funds (at the moment applies to England only). • The Protocol specifies a £1,000 minimum payment per year per megawatt of installed wind power. The decision on how the funds will be allocated will be determined by the community living in the vicinity of the wind farm. • The Protocol will ensure wind farm planning applications for projects with a capacity of 5MW or more are accompanied by a commitment to community funds or benefits. Those funds will be in addition to government plans to allow local communities to keep business rates paid by onshore wind farms in England. • The industry hopes the formalised payment will reduce opposition to wind farms from organised anti-wind farm groups and unlock projects currently tied up in the planning system. Discussion & Activity In 4-5 small groups, consider the following: - How can community engagement be taken forward? Will the Localism Bill create an opportunity or hindrance? - What mechanisms can RE developers use to encourage community support/engagement for wind projects? References 1. Jonathon Porritt in Freris, L. And Infield, D. Renewable Energy in Power Systems (John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2008).Freris, L. And Infield, D. Renewable Energy in Power Systems (John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2008). 2. see Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change Reports at: http://www.ipcc.ch 3. Energy 2020: A Strategy for Competititve, Sustainable and Secure Energy. [accessed online on 12.12.2010 at: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/publications/doc/2011_energy2020_en.pdf] 4. Ibid. 5. Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands at: http://www.ecn.nl/units/ps/themes/renewable-energy/projects/nreap/ 6. Energy 2020: A Strategy for Competititve, Sustainable and Secure Energy. Op.cit. 7. British Wind Energy Association, Briefing Sheet, Wind and the UK's 10% Target, at: www.bwea.com [accessed online 12.10.2010] 8. '91 per cent growth for UK wind energy employment', 1 February 2011, [accessed online on 10.02.2011 at: http://www.bwea.com/media/news/articles/pr20110201.html] 9. See http://www.thecrownestate.co.uk/offshore_wind_energy References 10. Jones, C.R., & Eiser, J.R., Understanding ‘local’ opposition to wind development in the UK: How big is a backyard? Energy Policy (2010), doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2010.01.051 11. BERR, 2008. Renewable energy awareness and attitudes research. Management summary: June 2008. Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, London. [http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file46271.pdf] 12. Bell, D., Gray, T., Haggett, C., (2005) ‘The ‘social gap’ in wind farm siting decisions: explanations and policy responses. Environmental Politics 14, 460-477. 13. See Jones & Eiser, op cit.