Category Archives: News

After years of campaigning, pylons in Lucan and Adamstown are being moved: The Journal, 1 July 2016

LOCAL COUNCILLOR FOR Lucan William Lavelle has welcomed the news that controversial pylons and overhead cables are to be moved from Lucan and Adamstown.

After years of campaigning by locals, the cables and pylons are to be moved as part of Eirgrid’s West Dublin Project, a project which aims to build a new 220 kV gas insulated switchgear substation to supply energy to the Grange Castle Business Park in west Dublin.

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It would also be good to know from Paddy how much of the A Team’s time was taken up with LOF activities: The Irish Times, 14 June 2016

Decisions of public bodies must be clear enough for people to decide if there is legal basis to challenge them, court hears.

A woman has won a High Court order overturning a grant of permission for a development of four wind turbines near her home in Co Clare.

In a judgment strongly critical of absence of clarity and specificity in An Bord Pleanála’s grant of permission, Mr Justice Max Barrett said decisions of public bodies must be clear enough for people to decide if there is a legal basis to challenge them.

“Proper planning was never intended to be, nor can it be allowed to become, a perk reserved for the few who can afford expert lawyers, with something less than best being the lot of the many who cannot.”

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(Poland) Position of the National Institute of Public Health – National Institute of Hygiene on wind farms

The National Institute of Public Health – National Institute of Hygiene is of the opinion that wind farms situated too close to buildings intended for permanent human occupation may have a negative impact on the comfort of living and health of the people living in their proximity.

The human health risk factors that the Institute has taken into consideration in its position are as follows:

-the emitted noise level and its dependence on the technical specifications of turbines, wind speed as well as the landform and land use around the wind farm,

-aerodynamic noise level including infrasound emissions and low-frequency noise components,

-the nature of the noise emitted, taking into account its modulation/impulsive/tonal characteristics and the possibility of interference of waves emitted from multiple turbines,

-the risk of ice being flung from rotors,

-the risk of turbine failure with a rotor blade or its part falling,

-the shadow flicker effect,

-the electromagnetic radiation level (in the immediate vicinity of turbines),

-the probability of sleep disruptions and noise propagation at night,

-the level of nuisance and probability of stress and depression symptoms occurring (in consequence of long exposure), related both to noise emissions and to non-acceptance of the noise source.

In the Institute’s opinion, the laws and regulations currently in force in Poland (regarding risk factors which, in practice, include only the noise level) are not only inadequate to facilities such as wind turbines, but they also fail to guarantee a sufficient degree of public health protection. The methodology currently used for environmental impact assessment of wind farms (including human health) is not applicable to wind speeds exceeding 5 m/s. In addition, it does not take into account the full frequency range (in particular, low frequency) and the nuisance level.

In the Institute’s view , owing to the current lack of a comprehensive regulatory framework governing the assessment of health risks related to the operation of wind farms in Poland, an urgent need arises to develop and implement a comprehensive methodology according to which the sufficient distance of wind turbines from human habitation would be determined. The methodology should take into account all the above-mentioned potential risk factors, and its result should reflect the least favourable situation. In addition to landform and land use characteristics, the methodology should also take into consideration the category, type, height and number of turbines at a specific farm, and the location of other wind farms in the vicinity. Similar legislative arrangements aimed to provide for multi-criteria assessment, based on complex numerical algorithms, are currently used in the world.

The Institute is aware of the fact that owing to the diversity of factors and the complicated nature of such an algorithm, its development within a short time period may prove very difficult. Therefore, what seems to be an effective and simpler solution is the prescription of a minimum distance of wind turbines from buildings intended for permanent human occupation. Distance criteria are also a common standard-setting arrangement.

Having regard to the above, until a comprehensive methodology is developed for the assessment of the impact of industrial wind farms on human health, the Institute recommends 2 km as the minimum distance of wind farms from buildings. The recommended value results from a critical assessment of research results published in reviewed scientific periodicals with regard to all potential risk factors for average distance usually specified within the following limits:

-0.5-0.7 km, often obtained as a result of calculations, where the noise level (dBA) meets the currently acceptable values (without taking into account adjustments for the impulse/tonal/modulation features of the nose emitted),

-1.5-3.0 km, resulting from the noise level, taking into account modulation, low frequencies and infrasound levels,

-0.5-1.4 km, related to the risk of turbine failure with a broken rotor blade or its part falling (depending on the size of the piece and its flight profile, rotor speed and turbine type),

-0.5-0.8 km, where there is a risk of ice being flung from rotors (depending on the shape and mass of ice, rotor speed and turbine type),

-1.0-1.6 km, taking into account the noise nuisance level (between 4% and 35% of the population at 30-45 dBA) for people living in the vicinity of wind farms,

-the distance of 1.4-2.5 km, related to the probability of sleep disruptions (on average, between 4% and 5% of the population at 30-45 dBA),

-2,0 km, related to the occurrence of potential psychological effects resulting from substantial landscape changes (based on the case where the wind turbine is a dominant landscape feature and the rotor movement is clearly visible and noticeable to people from any location),

-1.2-2.1 km, for the shadow flicker effect (for the average wind turbine height in Poland, including the rotor, of 120 to 210 m).

In its opinions. the Institute has also taken into account the recommended distances of wind farms from buildings, as specified by experts, scientists, as well as central and local government bodies around the world (usually 1.0-5.0 km).

Energy REFILE-Danish government says wind power became two expensive; Reuters, 13 May 2016

The Danish government said on Friday it wanted to scrap plans to build five offshore wind farms as their output would become too expensive for consumers.

The government estimates it would cost consumers 70 billion Danish crowns ($10.63 billion) to buy electricity from the plants with a total combined capacity of 350-megawatts.

“Since 2012 when we reached the political agreement, the cost of our renewable policy has increased dramatically,” said Lars Christian Lilleholt, energy minister in Denmark’s Liberal party government.

“We can’t accept this, as the private sector and households are paying far too much. Denmark’s renewable policy has turned out to be too expensive,” he said.

Denmark produced more than 40 percent of its electricity from wind power last year, a world record, and it has a goal of increasing this share to 50 percent by 2020.

Subsidies for wind power producers had to increase as power prices fell sharply since 2012, and producers had to get more money to make production profitable.

Nordic average power prices fell to 21 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh) in 2015, down from 31 euros/MWh on 2012. ($1 = 6.5876 Danish crowns) (Reporting by Erik Matzen; Editing by Jon Boyle)

Action to halt pylon project rejected by High Court: The Irish Times, 13 May 2016

Judge rules that EirGrid oral hearing on plan for North-South pylons can go ahead.

An action aimed at halting an oral hearing for EirGrid plc’s application to erect about 300 pylons as part of the proposed North-South electricity interconnector has been rejected by the High Court.

The challenge was brought by North East Pylon Pressure Campaign Ltd, representing almost 200 landowners in Cavan, Meath and Monaghan.

Mr Justice Richard Humphreys refused to grant the group permission to challenge An Bord Pleanála’s decision to hold an oral hearing as part of the process concerning EirGrid’s application to erect the pylons. He said such processes should be allowed to conclude.

Bavarian court to find in favour of wind power opponents: Spiegel Online, 9 May 2015

New wind turbines could be built in Bavaria only by a large margin to settlements. This was decided by the Bavarian Constitutional Court. The Federal Environment Agency already warning of an off the energy transition. In Bavaria wind turbines can continue to be only two kilometers away from settlements. With this decision, the Bavarian Constitutional Court rejected several lawsuits including the opposition.

In February 2014, the CSU had succeeded in ensuring that the distance of a wind turbine to the nearest settlement should be at least ten times (“10H”) the height of the wind turbine. In modern 200-meter wind turbines this limit is quickly reached. However, municipalities may decide one exception to the rule.

The judges argued: The lower new wind turbines are that more can still be built – even if they are not so profitable. However, it is not necessary to look to the best possible use of the technical possibilities, the court ruled. It alone depends on whether a reasonable scope for wind power remains and you must not forget about the wind turbines with a height below 200m.

Decision already in Hessen

As early as last September, the minimum distance of wind turbines has been clarified to settlements in the highest court in Hessen. New wind turbines could be built in the State only if they are at least 1000 meters from the nearest settlement. The Hessian Administrative Court rejected an action brought by a company that wanted to impose a shorter distance as laid down in the 2013 National Development Plan. A revision is not allowed to the court.

In the case of Bavaria, the Federal Environment Agency had warned the other provinces do likewise: The potential of wind power development in Germany would “almost zero” sink with a minimum distance of 2000 meters for residential buildings, the Authority has calculated. The energy transition would probably be at an end.

Translation: German to English – Click here to read the original article in German

Conference warns health effects of wind turbines should be taken seriously: The Irish Times

Sleep disturbance emerging as major public health concern, particularly affecting children and older people

Health studies into the effect of wind turbines on those living in their vicinity must be explored to prevent potential health problems, a conference on public health heard yesterday.

Alun Evans, Professor Emeritus of Epidemiology in Queens University, Belfast was speaking at the 2014 Summer Scientific Meeting at the Royal College of Physicians the second day of which was held in Dublin yesterday.

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Pylon protestors support EirGrid race: Meath Chronicle, 6 April 2016

You could call it cheeky, you could call it opportunistic – EirGrid’s sponsorship of the Dunboyne Four-Mile Road Race on Sunday and the support they have provided for the GAA through the provincial and All-Ireland u-21 football championships.

Equally, you could call it cheeky, you could call it opportunistic – the action by a number of enthusiastic runners who made it to the start for the EirGrid Dunboyne Road Race on Sunday.

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Residents seek to halt oral hearing on EirGrid pylons plan: The Irish Times, 18 March 2016

Group claims North-South connector poses health risks and will damage the environment.

A group opposed to overhead pylons as part of the proposed North-South electricity interconnector project wants permission to bring a High Court action aimed at halting an oral hearing of EirGrid plc’s application to erect 300 pylons across three counties.

The North East Pylon Pressure Campaign (NEPPC) Ltd, representing almost 200 landowners in Counties Cavan, Meath and Monaghan, wants the court to give it permission to bring proceedings against An Bord Pleanála over its decision to hold an oral hearing as part of the planning process.

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