UTTOXETER’S MP has hit out at developers of a proposed wind turbine after questions were raised over the amount of power it could supply.
Andrew Griffiths spoke out after it was revealed the 255ft (78m) wind turbine on Uttoxeter Quarry, in Spath, submitted by Aggregates Industries and AGRenewables, is estimated to produce less power than originally stated.
The companies took a blow earlier this year when Staffordshire County Council’s planning committee rejected the plans but all hope is not lost as they have now appealed to the Secretary of State for Community and Local Government Eric Pickles.
However, the planning supporting statement, submitted to the inspectorate, originally stated the proposed wind turbine could generate approximately 1,314MWh of electricity per year.
This calculation was based upon RenewableUK energy generation calculations available at the time but, since the application was submitted, the company has revised this calculation method to reflect average capacity figures that have been collected from across the UK.
Using a more-up-to-date calculation it is anticipated the turbine could in fact generate only approximately 1,141MWh of electricity per year.
However, Tim Claxton, senior estates surveyor for Aggregate Industries, who revealed the appeal decision could be made by as early as the beginning of 2014, said this was ‘insignificant’ as the prediction is ‘likely to be exceeded’.
Mr Griffiths said: “I am not surprised that Aggregates Industries might be embarrassed about the lack of efficiency of their proposed wind turbine and might try to hide that fact in documents.
“However, everybody knows that onshore wind turbines are deeply ineffective and would not survive without the subsidies that push up prices energy to everyone close by.
“This latest evidence is yet another reason for the turbine to be rejected and the money that would go on subsidies saved.”
The inspector has so far received more than 400 signed letters objecting to the turbine including one from Mr Griffiths, The Uttoxeter Wind Turbine Action Group (UWTAG) and the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
David Bown, of UWTAG, said: "I do find it strange that Aggregate Industries have waited until after public comments have closed on the appeal to make this declaration. I do think the revised output figure is still far too optimistic given low wind speeds in this area."
Mr Claxton told the Post and Times: “The original annual estimate of 1,314MWh of electricity generated by the turbine was based on industry standard data produced by RenewableUK at the time the planning application was submitted in 2012.
“Since then, RenewableUK has updated its assumptions based on data published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in respect of actual wind turbine load factors over a five year period for both onshore and offshore wind developments.
“The national average load factor for onshore wind was used to update the predicted estimate for the proposed turbine in the planning appeal documents.
“Accordingly, it was estimated that an average of 1,141MWh of electricity would be generated by the proposed turbine.
“This potential reduction in generation is insignificant and we have commissioned specialist studies and calculations based on the proposed wind turbine which have confirmed that the predicted energy generation based on national averages is a conservative estimate and likely to be exceeded.
“If the wind speed in this part of Staffordshire was low then we wouldn’t be pursuing this project. The turbine proposed for Uttoxeter Quarry is a major investment and will cost more than £1 million to develop and build if it is approved by the planning inspectorate.
“The UK is one of the windiest countries in Europe making it ideal for on-shore wind projects like the one proposed for Uttoxeter Quarry. Once operational, the turbine would generate green, carbon free and pollution free electricity for the next 20 years.”