Saturday, 9 May 2015

Cost Benefit Analysis obligations for Ireland's Renewable Action Plan - Part Three

What is being used to justify the approval of wind farms in my vicinity?

By Pat Swords BE CEng FIChemE CEnv MIEMA

That wind farms have a negative financial and environmental impact is very clear, so what is the actual benefit in terms of alleged climate change impacts. As previously documented, no actual quantifiable data in this regards actually exists. Yet wind farms engage the Directive on Environmental Impact Assessment, in which there is a legal obligation on the competent authority for the planning decision under Article 3 of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive to complete the following.

  • The environmental impact assessment shall identify, describe and assess in an appropriate manner, in the light of each individual case and in accordance with Articles 4 to 12, the direct and indirect effects of a project on the following factors:

(a) human beings, fauna and flora;

(b) soil, water, air, climate and the landscape;

(c) material assets and the cultural heritage;

(d) the interaction between the factors referred to in points (a), (b) and (c).

In reality this occurs in the planning inspector’s report, if at all. If we consider a number of An Bord Pleanala reports for wind farms, which were granted planning permission, we get the following typical wording:

  • With regard to the operational impact of the proposed development, I would concur with the findings of the EIS that the generation of renewable electricity by the proposed turbines will have a wider positive impact on climatic considerations in terms of reducing carbon emissions thereby contributing to national and international emission reduction objectives through the displacement of traditional methods of energy generation by the unsustainable combustion of fossil fuels such as coal and oil.

  • The generation of electricity from the wind farm will result in an avoidance of greenhouse gas emissions that would otherwise occur from fossil fuel power generating plants.

  • Along with other wind energy developments in the area, the proposal will contribute to national targets for renewable energy generation.

  • The proposed development will contribute to limiting CO2 emissions.

In other words they haven’t a clue. So you can believe in this Green Agenda and welcome it. However, if you question it, you will quickly find that like the financial crises, it is based on nothing but Groupthink, hype and the failure to follow proper regulatory procedures.  

1 comment:

  1. Installed capacity does not reduce emissions it is the output from that capacity that does. 84 installed megawatts in Mount Lucas and a capacity factor of less than 20%. That does very little for reducing co2 emissions. The 37% target is unachievable it is about time the wind program was abandoned