CLIMATE CHANGE: THE CASE FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY
Wind power is a non-polluting and clean source of renewable energy. Unlike the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) to produce electricity, wind power generation does not release carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, which most scientists believe is a major cause of climate change.
According to Renewable UK “onshore wind offers the most cost-effective choice for new electricity in the UK, bar none – it is cheaper than gas, nuclear, coal and other renewables. This clean, modern technology is popular with the public, regularly enjoying support levels of up to 74% according to the Government’s own opinion polls.
Onshore wind already generates clean power to meet the annual needs of more than 7.25 million homes a year and produced 9% of the UK’s power needs in 2017. Overall, the UK has installed over 12 gigawatts of onshore wind capacity, which supports jobs and local economic growth.
The cumulative investment impact of the UK’s 1,500 operational onshore wind farms is over £35 billion, demonstrating the significant contribution which onshore wind can make to delivering low-cost, low-carbon energy that pays back to consumers.”
In Wales, National planning policy is supportive of onshore wind and solar. Planning Policy Wales 10 (PPW 10) is clear that planning authorities should facilitate all forms of renewable and low carbon energy development. In doing so, planning authorities should seek to ensure their area’s full potential for renewable and low carbon energy generation is maximised and renewable energy targets are achieved. (para 5.9.1)
Wales has an abundant wind resource and, as a result, wind energy forms a key part of meeting the Welsh Government’s vision for future renewable energy production.(para 5.9.10). Moreover, the draft National Development Framework (NDF) is an emerging 20-year plan for Wales up to 2040. It aims to identify where nationally significant energy developments should take place and how Wales can contribute to the fight against climate change. The Welsh Government consulted on a draft of the NDF in the Autumn 2019. The draft NDF policies 10-13 are noteworthy. The government’s policy is to direct large scale projects to the Priority Areas set out on p.42 of the draft NDF. Importantly, Policy 10 – Wind and Solar Energy in Priority Areas – states the Welsh Government supports large scale on-shore wind and solar energy development in the identified Priority Areas. There is a presumption in favour of development for these schemes and an associated acceptance of landscape change.