Examination of Witnesses (Questions 60-79)|
WEDNESDAY 30 JANUARY 2002
60. Do you encounter less resistance in Scotland
than in Wales from the general public?
(Mr Goodall) All wind farms to be built have to achieve
planning permission. There was a study commissioned by the Scottish
Executive which was published last year which had nothing to do
with us and which reported that not only did the approval of wind
farms increase the closer people lived to them but there was also
a much higher level of tolerance and acceptance than had previously
been expected. Anecdotally, it is worth pointing out that most
new wind farms now quite often come with a mandatory layby on
a road because people like to stop and look at them. It is true
that there is always suspicion and curiosity about any new development
but it may well be that, when a local community considers all
the factors including the opportunity presented locally, the closer
knit that community is the more rapid is the understanding. It
is true that planning success is swifter and tends to be more
universal in Scotland than we found elsewhere in the United Kingdom
(Mr Still) In north Wales, a 20 to 30 turbine project
was approved by the local authority but was immediately called
in by the Welsh Assembly about a year ago. We are still waiting
for a decision. The local people made the decision but that was
then taken away from them.
61. The DTI has said that there is a current
fragmented situation for obtaining consents on offshore wind farms.
Is this being addressed?
(Mr Goodall) The DTI have indicated they intend to
facilitate a one-stop shop which will enable developers of offshore
sites to take a streamlined approach to the necessary consents.
There are effectively two major consents. They are going to help
make that process go as seamlessly as possible. We are at the
early stages in taking any projects through that process but Mr
Still is taking at least one of those projects through the process.
He might be able to offer a more useful commentary on that. It
is considerably easier than it was when the first and the United
Kingdom's only wind farm was built.
(Mr Still) There are several departments of government
interested in offshore wind. One is DEFRA with its MAFF FEPA licences
and the second is either getting consent from the DTI under the
Electricity Act or the Coastal Protection Act from DTLR. The problem
is that the DTI has said it will set up a one-stop shop. That
is more likely to be probably a two stop shop but they will coordinate
the two key departments, one for electricity and I guess one for
working in the water, which is DEFRA. It is a system which has
not been confirmed to us yet and it has taken a long time to evolve
through government. Although projects were awarded early last
year, we still do not know the final consents that we can take
to get our projects consented.
62. Was the last description you gave an England
(Mr Still) England and Wales.
63. The offshore projects would all be over
(Mr Still) Normally, yes.
64. The renewables obligation set a target of
ten per cent electricity from renewables by 2010. What proportion
of this do you think wind can realistically provide?
(Mr Good all) There is enough wind energy resource
in the United Kingdom to meet as much as anybody cares to. It
is a rather glib comment but technical resource is something like
eight times total United Kingdom demand so achieving ten per cent
should be technically possible. The effect of the obligation is
what is perhaps most relevant here in terms of the obligation
itself is an obligation on suppliers to procure renewable energy.
It is a market device. It therefore puts it out to the market
as to what they are going to buy. For reasons indicated in the
note, wind energy is the cheapest renewable technology available
in any large quantity in the United Kingdom. It is apparent from
the market interest in developing wind both on and offshore that
it appears to be attracting the market to wanting to take forward
wind proposals. It is interesting to note that even in the original
DTI guesstimate, based on figures of perhaps four years' vintage,
approximately 4.7 per cent was what the DTI imagined then would
be met. We tend to suggest it would probably turn out to be somewhat
greater than that for a number of reasons, not least of which
being the effect of the obligation, but also because of the effect
of the obligation and other factors on other technologies. Here,
notably, I am talking about energy crops and so forth which are
mired in a number of additional issues related to land use, rural
diversification, rural regeneration, CAP and so forth, and there
is a longer lead time for energy crops. We have working numbers
on projects in process in wind which suggest that although the
rate of deployment is increasing it is still relatively laggardly
in terms of achieving ten per cent on its own by 2010. Whatever
figure we are at by 2010, the lion's share is likely to be from
wind both on and offshore, simply because of what we know is already
in the process and what we believe is not in the process in terms
of other technologies.
(Mr Still) 5,000 megawatts would be five per cent
of United Kingdom electricity. Currently, we have slightly less
than 500 megawatts installed. There are at this moment 800 megawatts
in the planning system or going very immediately into the planning
system for onshore projects. The first round of offshore projects
could be up to 1,500 megawatts perhaps to be installed by 2005/6.
If that all happened, we are already in the region of 2.8 per
cent and we still have a number of years of onshore and some more
offshore projects so we could easily get to five per cent by 2010.
65. I take it you were choosing your words carefully
when you mentioned the lion's share.
(Mr Goodall) It was a glib comment. Read nothing into
66. We have done a few calculations of our own
which suggest that meeting the RO requirement would require an
additional 29,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy. That is
about 3,000 megawatt hours a year. Even for wind to meet 50 per
cent of this would amount to 1,500 megawatt hours per year. Do
you think 1,500 megawatt hours is realistic?
(Mr Goodall) In terms of installing turbines?
67. In terms of bringing that power on line
and into service.
(Mr Still) That is not very much.
(Mr Goodall) Do you mean 15,000?
68. 1,500 megawatt hours a year.
(Mr Goodall) That is not very much at all.
69. Are you going to be able to meet that increased
level of demand over the next eight years?
(Mr Still) The figures given here are what is in onshore
planning now, which is short term, what can come from the first
round of offshore, which is just the start. That is going to be
2.8 per cent. If we get to five per cent, that is more than possible
within the timescale, by 2010.
70. You are fairly optimistic about meeting
the government's target?
(Mr Goodall) With a fair wind, if you will allow us
that terrible pun. If I give you the example of what was built
in Germany last year in terms of installed turbines in megawatts,
that was the better part of 3,000 megawatts built in one year.
We can install turbines at a fair rate if the process lends itself
71. The potential is there?
(Mr Goodall) Absolutely.
72. It is a question of whether you get the
(Mr Goodall) With your permission, we can verify these
numbers and give a detailed analysis to you in due course, but
we were somewhat puzzled by that because it struck us as a relatively
73. Perhaps we can have a note on that.
(Mr Goodall) Absolutely.
74. We have not had time to digest the document
you have presented to us but have you used any formula or made
any calculations about what you think the employment estimates
might be for wind energy in the United Kingdom?
(Mr Goodall) The first principle is that employment
tends to follow a domestic market. We can see that self-evidently
in the Danish population involved in wind energy. Something like
14,000 people are directly employed in wind energy and a similar
number indirectly. It is interesting to note that, with the activity
in Scotland in particularMr Still recently announced aspirations
for a project on Lewisaccompanying that will be the necessary
manufacturing that will support that. That is manufacturing and
construction and therefore the creation of jobs. There are formulae
which have been suggested from time to time and there are approximate
job creations per megawatt. It is never quite as simple as that
because one is looking at the availability of turbines elsewhere
and if there is a shortage of supply because the world demand
for turbines is growing constantlysomething like 23,000
megawatts have been installed. I am given to understand that there
are no turbines available from the two major manufacturers in
2003, so therefore will be an increase in output from other manufacturers
and perhaps opportunities for local assembly plants in the markets
where there is clear growth.
(Mr Still) The key thing is that there needs to be
a market which is firm for people to set up a business to manufacture
and assemble turbines etc. Without thatand we have not
had that to date, apart from the example in Scotland starting
last yearwe have not seen the local manufacturing opportunities.
Spain took advantage of a large deployment of wind turbines and
I think there are now five or six manufacturing plants around
Spain sourcing components from the home market and contributing
to the local economy.
Mr Francois: I take your point about needing
to make an estimate for the purposes of the market but under the
circumstances it is only fair that if you want to do some calculations
on that too, we would like to have them.
75. So far today I have had a wonderful time.
The questions and answers are illuminating and that is helpful
for all of us. One of the difficulties is this matter of having
planning permission, having the theoretical stuff all worked out
and then somebody has to deliver the generator and manufacture
it. It brings back memories that I have of the 1950s, 1960s and
1970s. You could build a power station only if the generating
capacity was available from someone like C A Parsons and their
order book was several years ahead. All these things are, as they
say about the wind, variable. I listen to the shipping forecast;
you probably do as well. The references to the wind and the variable
nature of that and the power generating capacity and the supply
of the generators raise for me questions about certainties in
what is going to be an essential planning element for industrial
development and generation. I would like some observations from
you about the lack of certainties and what it might mean. There
is something which has always been a kind of magical, hopeful
element in the provision of power and that is the ability to store
it. With wind, it being variable, you cannot store. Have you given
any thought to the storing of water and the relationship between
hydro and wind?
(Mr Goodall) Yes indeed. The relationship between
hydro and wind is a rich opportunity that particularly applies
in Scotland. We are in discussions and many of our member companies
have interests in both camps as to how we can maximise the output
of wind generation. It is worth considering that with wind it
is not captured, converted or wasted. It comes around again. We
are not looking at a lost opportunity because of an energy source
that we have squandered. Related to that is the more complex question
about what wind one can put into the system to ensure system stability.
We are looking increasingly at hybrid systems, particularly for
the export market, where we are seeing the partnering of two renewable
technologies to ensure that one gets the best and most constant
supply out of putting two well suited technologies together.
(Mr Still) The 500 megawatts of wind which is on the
system now is not seen in the system by the National Grid. They
can accommodate probably up to ten per cent without any changes
to the system because we keep a large spinning reserve to allow
for outages or a cross channel link or a major power station.
Wind is intermittent in that we cannot forecast it and that is
where we suffer under NETA. Quite often wind is blowing on the
west coast when it is not blowing on the east coast and vice versa.
There is a lot of symmetry around the system. If you look at the
modelling, you can see that wind will become a firm part of the
overall power solution and not just something which goes on or
off at full output. It is a gradual change around the country
and it is seen as a benefit to the system and to displacing conventional
76. The last power station construction that
I worked on was a long time ago but there were four 500 megawatt
sets. It was coal fired, Ferrybridge in Yorkshire, and they had
one 500 megawatt set running continuously for a year, an amazing
piece of engineering skill and maintenance. That provides security
of power generation into the National Grid. I am looking for that
kind of certainty from wind and other natural sources. I am not
sure that we are going to be able to offer that. When you think
about the capital costs of taking advantage of variable winds
around our coastlines, having plant standing by in the hope that
it might blow and the generating capacity linked up and so on,
it is an enormous engineering project, is it not?
(Mr Still) Yes. I commend the operation of that generator
during that time because it is very good to get such a high availability.
We lose generators and nuclear power stations on a relatively
frequent basis. We can lose the cross channel link. What we have
is a lot of smaller generating units. They are not 500 megawatts.
They may be 200 megawatts in the future and the variability that
we may find from either maintenance or wind, because they are
on different sides of the country, will bring a firm power element
for the National Grid to use.
(Mr Goodall) I am always reluctant to make comparisons
between countries but there are other countries with greater wind
penetration than the United Kingdom, as I am sure you are aware,
and the system disruption is not the problem that it is often
painted to be. We regularly lose generating set in the United
Kingdom, much larger than the envisaged amount of wind might be
and nobody notices. That is because of the way we run our system.
It is quite important to remember that. The big, scary story is
what happens when the wind blows. When the wind does not blow,
turbines do not go round, quite clearly, but the system does not
suffer. NGC have reported quite publicly that they could routinely
take ten per cent availability of intermittent, maybe as high
as 20 per cent, and you will see the nature of the grid, as you
heard from our colleagues in CHPA, changing to reflect that.
77. Why do conventional power stations get taken
out of the grid?
(Mr Goodall) They get shut down for various reasons.
(Mr Goodall) Yes, popped fuses, all sorts of mundane
79. Quite involuntarily?
(Mr Goodall) Sometimes it is deliberate. Sometimes
they get shut down for all sorts of unexpected reasons.
11 For clarification of the Committee's question and
the BWEA response, please see supplementary memoranda from the