DECC rejects 4 Wales wind farms

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has rejected four planned onshore wind farms in mid-Wales with a potential capacity of more than 350 MW.

The reasons behind the refusals included adverse visual effects, local wildlife damage and a negative impact on tourism.

A DECC spokesperson said: “Careful consideration has been given to each application, and the planning and energy issues involved.”

A fifth windfarm was granted consent, but denied permission to build an overhead power line, putting its feasbility in doubt.

The decision, announced by DECC on Monday, followed a public consultation which closed in May this year. The full results of the consultation form a 1,162 page document here.

Devastating blow

The Government has already made plain its opposition to onshore wind, controversially scrapping subsidies for new projects from March 2016. A recent Policy Exchange report claimed that onshore wind would be price-competitive with gas generation by 2020 and was the cheapest way for the UK to lower emissions.

Welsh renewable energy groups said Monday’s decision was a “devastating blow” to mid-Wales and eliminated the potential for “tens of millions of pounds of community benefit”.

RenewableUK Cymru director David Clubb said: “It seems that with today’s decision, that investment into Mid Wales will be lost for good, and the people of Wales will be the poorer for it.

“Given the blows the UK Government are raining down onto the renewable energy sector on both consents and subsidies, ministers will be heading to the Paris climate discussions with their credibility in tatters.”

Crunch time

DECC is scheduled to make another important planning decision on Friday, with its ruling on the 120-turbine Navitus Bay offshore project. The Daily Telegraph reported earlier this week that the project was set to be rejected, but the developers dismissed it as speculation.

Only one offshore wind project has been thrown out by the Government. 

DECC spokespeople have repeatedly reiterated that the cuts are being made to limit the costs of green energy for bill payers, with the Levy Control Framework fast running out of money.

Brad Allen

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