Significant amount of energy being produced by wind turbines in Fenland

A ‘SIGNIFICANT’ amount of energy is being produced by wind turbines in Fenland but figures for each development are not available.

Fenland District Council’s overview and scrutiny policy panel will hear tomorrow that “for reasons of commercial sensitivity” the actual output from each site is not public information.

Figures for individual developments were requested from the Department of Climate Change (DECC) by the Local Development Framework.

In 2008 the total amount of electricity exported to the National Grid from turbines in Fenland was 167,475 MWh (167GWh) and in 2009 150,705 MWh (150GWh). The difference in output, councillors will hear, could be due to various factors including lower wind speeds or closure of turbines for periods of time.

A report says: “Despite this slight variance a significant amount of energy is still being produced by wind turbines in Fenland”.

The 167GWh is equivalent to 82 per cent of the domestic electricity used in Fenland in 2007. Latest figures exclude the Abbey Road site in Whittlesey which was not operational until half way through 2009 and would skew the data.

The Local Development Framework review team had also asked for information on the Section 106 requirements and benefits related to turbine approvals and benefits already seen by communities.

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Although the council does not have a policy for a Section 106 contribution framework on wind turbine applications, a developer has to make contributions towards environmental education, renewable projects, promoting renewable energy in the district, and decommissioning bonds.

The initial contribution is spent in consultation with town and parish councils, an example being the funding of windows in Benwick Village Hall. The money was granted to reduce the need for heating and therefore cutting the carbon footprint.

Projects funded from Section 106 agreements linked to wind turbines include a programme educating local children about renewable energy with visits to wind turbines, improvements to community spaces through planting and pathways, and improvement of nature reserves.