The future of our Planet and what our kids will inherit is now of crucial importance. Renewable Energy is clearly the key energy solution going forward and Wind specifically on-shore wind energy is the most productive source.
It harms almost no-one, it even has aesthetic beauty and it delivers energy directly to the people who need it.
So its time to ask your MP’s, Local Councillors etc why they don’t give it their 100% backing and to help you support this campaign the Pro Wind Group have produced the following letter.
Its extremely well crafted and if you agree with its points I urge you to print it and send it as soon as possible to your local representatives.
Its time that the majority had their say !!
Thankyou for subscribing to LGE.com
Open Letter to WDDC Councillors about Renewable Energy in Dorset
17th May 2015
Congratulations on your recent election to West Dorset District Council.
You and the other newly constituted local councils around the country are now in the hugely responsible position of facing a wide range of decisions that can make or break national aspirations for climate change mitigation.
The United Nations Development Programme estimates that over 70% of climate reduction measures are undertaken by local government.
Climate change is the issue of our times. Indecisiveness now will result in huge costs later.
The UK Committee on Climate Change states in its progress report for 2014 that ‘urgent and intensive action before 2020’ would save £100 billion, reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels from politically unstable countries and have a positive impact on energy prices.
Economic Benefits of Renewable Energy to Dorset
There is considerable merit in embracing the move to renewable energy purely on economic grounds.
According to Regen SW there are already 10,000 jobs in the renewable sector in the SW and this is expected to rise to 34,000 by 2020.
Currently about £30 million enters the local economy in the form of feed-in tariffs earned by households and there is potential for more.
There are increasing opportunities for people to invest in solar panels on their local school or village hall through organisations such as Dorset Community Energy, a not-for-profit community benefit society.
Standard practice for wind farms is to offer an annual community benefit of £5,000 per MW and solar farms £1000 per MW for the lifetime of the project. Existing solar farms across 11 Dorset parishes have already agreed a community benefit spend of £2 million.
Opponents tend to exaggerate the level of subsidy. Government figures calculate the total subsidy for UK renewable energy to be £38 per household per annum. The costs of the established technologies of solar and wind are dropping even faster than expected and it is highly likely that by 2020 they will be cheaper than other forms of energy and will need no subsidy.
The move to renewables in the UK will come. The only question is whether Dorset politicians will assist Dorset in benefiting fully from its huge natural resources of sun and wind.
Making Progress towards Renewable Energy in Dorset
There are already some great success stories in Dorset:
- The Piddle Valley community of 2500 homes is supplied with 100% renewable energy from solar and biogas
- The largest solar farm in the UK is the 60MW farm near Bournemouth airport that is so well screened that most people are unaware of its existence.
- Corbin Industries in Bridport employs 70 people to make frames for solar panels.
However there is still a mountain to climb during your tenure as councillor.
Much of the low-hanging fruit has been picked and the challenge is becoming clearer.
The Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole Renewable Energy (BDPRE) Strategy sets a 7.5% target for renewable energy generation for 2020. The strategy has been produced by the Dorset Energy Partnership that includes Dorset County Council, all the district and borough councils and a wide range of community groups. The latest figures (March 2015) indicate that 3.4% of total energy consumption can be covered by projects that have been built or are in construction.
So we still need to double the capacity in the next 5 years. This really is a minimum since further national targets beyond 2020 are increasingly ambitious.
The Dorset Energy Partnership, which includes WDDC, has clearly rejected widely circulated claims by some groups that targets have almost been reached.
Protecting Landscape, Wildlife and Heritage Assets
Last month no lesser person than the director general of the National Trust, Dame Helen Ghosh, made an unequivocal statement that climate change poses ‘the biggest threat’ to the land and houses in the care of the National Trust. She cited loss of biodiversity and wildlife on the land and the already substantially increased flood, stormwater, subsidence and gale damage to properties. She promised that the trust would lead by example in moving to renewable energy generation.
The Government’s ‘UK 2012 Climate Change Risk Assessment’ examines threats to the built environment and concludes that the risks posed by sea level rise and higher average temperatures will have a substantial impact by mid-century and that extreme weather events resulting from climate change are already causing substantial damage.
It is important to protect our landscape, wildlife and heritage assets for the current generation, but the only way to secure their long-term future is to tackle climate change.
Local Government Decisions
You are the tier of government best placed to show leadership and to bring businesses and communities along with you. You are in a position to turn good ideas into tangible results – cooperatives for local energy production are a good example.
You will face planning decisions that must be guided by key statements in the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) – ‘all communities should play their part in contributing to renewable energy generation’ and ‘local government should design policies to maximise renewable energy’.
The BDPRE Strategy is clear that to achieve the 2020 target the full range of renewable technologies will need to be exploited in the form of both small and large scale projects. In particular there will have to be some larger scale, appropriately sited, solar and wind farms in the mix.
Developers are aware that the number of suitable sites in Dorset is very limited, in particular because of the extent of the designated AONBs (Areas of outstanding Natural Beauty) and other environmental designations. Most developers consider site selection carefully before committing large sums of money to a project.
Councillors need to be clear that if they reject the projects coming into planning in the immediate future they are prepared to accept that Dorset will not reach its target. Dorset people will be refused the opportunity to play their fair part in the national endeavour to decarbonise electricity.
The next 5 years offer an exciting opportunity for councillors to make a real difference to our social, environmental and economic future by ensuring that initiatives and planning decisions are firmly focused on the achievement by 2020 of the targets we have set ourselves in Dorset for all the reasons we have outlined above.
The following groups are signatories to this letter:
Transition Town Dorchester
Dorset Community Action
Dorchester Churches Together (Ecology Group)
West Dorset Friends of the Earth
Charminster Clean Energy Group
Dorchester Quaker Meeting
West Dorset Pro Wind
Bridport Renewable Energy Group
Weymouth Environmental Action Centre
Transition Town Bridport