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OPINION: Gerry Lalonde, chief executive, Orenda Energy Solutions - 'Call to harmonise wind energy rules'

Supply is not being efficiently matched to demand.

Subsidy changes in the last few years have perhaps made wind developments less attractive than in previously ‘heady’ times, but there is still a clamour for small wind turbines that gives farmer self sufficiency as well as a financial return from the grid. Yes, in spite of these subsidies slowly being eroded, there is still a return to be made.

 

Imagine a farm located in an area where wind speed is erratic. Benign conditions are challenging enough and if these blades are not turning regularly, you would be correct in ascertaining ’what is the point’.

 

Then surely, there is a readily identifiable solution and one I would like to see the Government respond to.

 

Why can the Government not look towards relaxing the rules whereby any business – farmers included, can buy and install a turbine on a ‘wind-friendly’ landscape in another part of the country and have access to the equivalent amount of generated energy by these turbines from the grid?

 

Is this not a classic case of supply not being efficiently matched to demand?

 

Current legislation prohibits, say farmers based on the South Coast of England, to purchase a wind turbine and locate it hundreds of miles away in the North of Scotland, export energy to the grid and use the same generated amount of electricity albeit from the grid where they are located.

 

The situation differs for a large utility company that might own a mega-watt wind farm. It may have the resources to become a re-seller. However, for a farmer who owns one or two small turbines, this is currently very hard to achieve.

 

I believe the UK Government needs to facilitate a change in legislation that effectively harmonises the rules across the board. If a company based hundreds of miles away from its turbine location can generate vast amounts of energy within that location, then what should stop them from drawing the same level of local ‘green’ electricity from the grid? Is this not appropriate and fair?

 

Small investors, private landowners and farmers need parity with the big power suppliers.


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