Dispersed Wind Farms

There has recently been planning application in with North Somerset Council  to build this wind turbine for a dairy farm. This would have been the view of it from my house just 280 metres away.

The claimed justification to build this turbine is the energy requirement of the farm’s milking parlour.

However the £250,000 installation cost of a wind turbine does seem extreme to offset a £16000 annual electricity bill so one can safely assume the turbine owners will pay the farmer a  generous rent.

These turbines are actually being provided by power companies to farmers who rent them space for the turbines.

So every farm that has one of these turbines is adding a branch to a ‘dispersed wind farm’ and for the investing company it’s rather easier to obtain planning permission for a lot of medium size turbines than one big wind farm.

But for the rural public it’s a worrying trend because if one turbine can be built within 280m of dwellings then it sets a dangerous precedent for more to be built. The planning rules are such that a farm could build a turbine without seeking permission and then apply retrospectively knowing that the precedent was set and the application could not be refused.

Such an example is the one at Bradworthy in Devon which was put up against massive local opposition. The turbine actually fell over in 2013 but never mind, they have permission to put it back up along with a second one…

from the Sunday Times of 30th March 2014, article by Charles Clover:

…planning muddles rising up the political agenda. One is the proliferation of applications for single giant wind turbines – 291 in the past year. This loophole, caused by the way single turbine applications are handled by inspectors, means that the largest number of landscapes will now be blighted in return for a pitiful amount of energy.

In April 2014 this application was refused and North Somerset Council are finally putting in exclusion zones to keep turbines away from houses.

Had this farmer had a genuine need to reduce his electricity bill I’m quite sure he would have put up some photovoltaic panels, but curiously there’s no sign of that happening.