Is Small Wind growing up?

Renewable UK, the British Wind Energy Trade Association, has published its report on the “State of the industry 2011” http://bit.ly/rM15lR. The headline reads that “Only 26 per cent of the onshore wind power capacity submitted for planning approval in England in 2010/11 was granted approval, according to new data.” However, more interesting than that, to my mind, is that the report notes a new trend in the increasing number of Small Wind developments being approved “…..particularly in England, where smaller schemes are receiving more favourable consideration, and larger schemes are increasingly likely to be rejected. In England in the year to July, none of the three schemes between 20-50MW were approved (compared to eight of 13 2009-10 and four of six 2008-9). Projects of 5-20MW achieved a 43% approval rate. However schemes below 5MW were much more successful, with 79% of capacity in projects between 2-5MW approved. This increased to an approval rate of 83% capacity for schemes below 2MW.”

Adverse public perception of Big Wind developments, centred around visual impacts, noise, efficiency, the (alleged) profiteering of developers and their “rampant spread across the land” (the wind farms, not developers, although…..?), as one observer recently described it, has led to an increased likelihood of Planning Refusal for Big Wind.

And this is where Small Wind schemes are benefiting, with their perception of eco-friendly efficient home-generation of electricity. Good luck to ’em I say.

And what about Permitted Development rights for domestic wind energy? Unless you’ve got a farm or large Country Estate with lots of exposed open land, forget it!

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