BW Energy Report 2 on behalf of Rethink Pylons – March 2014: Review of the Irish Govt’s Strategy for Compliance with European Directive 2009/28 and Press Release

Press Release

4 March  2014

Conversion of Ireland’s largest power station to biomass is a low cost alternative to Grid25 that would make it possible to meet Irish renewable energy targets at a single stroke – while protecting Irish jobs and safeguarding countryside from pylon blight, expert report concludes.

The report, by consultants Dr Anthony White and Malcolm Brown of BW Energy, concludes that co-firing of biomass with coal or complete conversion to biomass at Ireland’s existing power plants would enable Ireland to meet its renewable energy commitments cost-effectively, and make the Grid25 upgrade unnecessary.

“There have been important technological advances in boiler design and a scaling up of the international biomass market in the years since Ireland made the costly decision to rely so heavily on wind power to meet its renewable targets,” said Malcolm Brown “Biomass now represents a real alternative’.

The report, Review of the Irish Government’s Strategy for Compliance with the European Directive 2009/28, is released today by ReThink Pylons, a volunteer organisation working to stimulate a rethink of Irish energy policy, including Grid25.

Click here to read the full press release: BW Energy Press Release – March 2014

Click here to read the full report: BW Energy Report 2 – Final Mar14

BW Energy Report 1 on behalf of Rethink Pylons – January 2014: Evaluation of Grid Link Project Stage 1 Report: Sept 2013 and Press Release

An expert report concludes that the case for Grid25, based on a need to upgrade the transmission system to accommodate additional wind generation and to allow exports via interconnectors, is without sound foundation.  

The report, by consultants Malcolm Brown and Dr Anthony White of BW Energy has been shared with ReThink Pylons, a volunteer organisation working to stimulate a rethink of Irish energy policy, including Grid25. Grid25, the planned upgrade to the Irish electrical grid, would crisscross the country with hundreds of pylons carrying over a thousand kilometres of high-voltage overhead line.

Click here to read the full press release: BW Energy Press Release February 2014

To view the Report, click on the link here: BW Energy – Evaluation of September 2013 Grid Link Project (Stage 1 Report)

 

BW Energy Report 1 on behalf of Rethink Pylons – Jan 2014: Evaluation of Grid Link Project Stage 1 Report: Sept 2013 and Press Release

Press Release

19 February 2014

**STRICT EMBARGO UNTIL MIDNIGHT, FEB 19th**

An expert report concludes that the case for Grid25, based on a need to upgrade the transmission system to accommodate additional wind generation and to allow exports via interconnectors, is without sound foundation.  

The report, by consultants Malcolm Brown and Dr Anthony White of BW Energy has been shared with ReThink Pylons, a volunteer organisation working to stimulate a rethink of Irish energy policy, including Grid25. Grid25, the planned upgrade to the Irish electrical grid, would crisscross the country with hundreds of pylons carrying over a thousand kilometres of high-voltage overhead line.

Key Findings

– Doubling Ireland’s wind power capacity to 3,500 MW threatens to destabilise the entire network, risking power ‘blackouts’.

– Major otherwise unnecessarycosts of €3.8bn (€3.2bn for Grid25 and €0.6bn for another interconnector) required to stabilise the system due to increased wind power

– Wind exports will become a technical necessity to avoid overloadingIreland’s transmission network.

– Current financial case for Irish wind power exports to UK is weak tonon-existent.

– The €3.8bn costs (€3.2bn for Grid25 and €0.6bn for another interconnector) will invariably be passed on to consumers – harming industrial competitiveness and squeezing hard-pressed households. 

Alternative approaches that meet EU targets more cost effectively, creating Irish jobs need to be considered.

Under a 2009 EU Directive, Ireland is obliged to increase its share of gross final energy consumption produced from renewable sources to meet a 16% target by 2020. Current Irish Government policy envisions achieving that target by doubling amounts of onshore wind power production.

The BW report, describes the hidden rationale behind the €3.8bn windpower related costs (€3.2bn for Grid25 and €0.6bn for another interconnector) associated with pursuing such a policy. The plan, which entails connecting a large proportion of variable wind power to a relatively small, islanded network, would increase the risk of uncontrollable changes in the frequency of the power network. Stabilising the system would be costly but unless the further reinforcements are made, the increased wind power threatens to destabilize the entire network, and could cause significant power ‘blackouts’.

Rather than offering an opportunity for the development of a “significant renewable energy export industry”, as suggested by EirGrid, exporting power through another interconnector would be essential to prevent overloading the transmission network. The commercial viability of such exports, however, is far from certain.

The BW report reinforces an earlier conclusion by the Irish Academy of Engineering, that Irish exports will not be sufficiently competitive for the UK or Continental European markets. They will, for example, be in direct competition with UK offshore wind for which the British Government has already indicated it will not agree to pay more than €120/MWh (£100/MWh) in 2020. Irish wind power exports – with a price close to €140/MWh – are unlikely to meet this target.

The case for Grid25 is not as advertised,” said Malcolm Brown, co-author of the BW Energy report. “Doubling Irish onshore wind capacity to meet 2020 EU targets will be very costly-Irish bill payers deserve a fundamental policy rethink.

The BW report also points out that the €3.8bn cost (€3.2bn for Grid25 and €0.6bn for another interconnector) of the Government’s policy will invariably be passed on to consumers –  harming industrial competitiveness and squeezing hard-pressed households, who already pay pre-tax electricity prices nearly 25% above EU average.

The BW report is the latest in a series of reports to question whether current government policy is best-suited to meet Ireland’s EU commitments and energy needs. It follows two earlier, recent reports by the Irish Academy of Engineering.

The report has been welcomed today by anti-windfarm and anti-pylon activists from around the country, including:  Cllr. Seamus Weir, Co. Mayo on the Grid-West project, Owen McMullan, Co. Tyrone on the North South Inter-connector project, Kieran Hartley, Co. Waterford on the Gridlink project, and Ray Conroy, Co. Laois of Laois Wind Energy Awareness Group.

In light of these findings, ReThink Pylons is calling on the Government to re-examine its energy policy and is asking for a fundamental rethink of Grid25, Grid Link and associated projects.

To view the Report, click on the link here: BW Energy Report 1 – January 2014

Colm McCarthy: Case for wind must be proven on costs – The Independent, 1 December 2013

If the policy makes no economic sense, the objectors’ arguments should win the day, writes Colm McCarthy

When a necessary and desirable economic development project comes along, there will often be objectors and the immediate instinct is to dismiss them as nimby and selfish. If the economic benefits stack up, sometimes the environmental costs will have to be endured and the trade-offs faced squarely.

Click here to read the full article: The Independent – 1 December 2013

Fáilte Ireland warns pylons may damage character of countryside: The Irish Times, 29 November 2013

The “character of the landscape” and the “cultural heritage” of parts of the country close to proposed electrical pylons could be at risk, Fáilte Ireland has said.

Responding to a parliamentary question tabled by Deputy Dara Calleary (FF), the national tourism development authority said it had met with electricity transmission operator Eirgrid to discuss the proposed schemes and outline its “objectives to protect the key tourism assets and amenities within the vicinity of these schemes”.

As part of a €3.2 billion, Grid 25 project, Eirgrid is proposing to build three new 400kV power lines across the south and north east of the country.

The North South Interconnector is to link Co Meath with Co Tyrone while a second line would link Co Kildare to Co Cork via Co Wexford. A third power line would link Co Mayo to Co Roscommon. Eirgrid has said the power lines are necessary to develop and upgrade Ireland’s electricity transmission grid.

Click here to read the full article: The Irish Times, 29 November 2013

Special report: Contentious Eirgrid €500m Gridlink pylon plan: Irish Examiner, 25 November 2013

There is a reason the current controversy on the planned erection of pylons has got people worked up.

These are not ordinary pylons. Whatever route is selected, these structures will dominate the landscape and tower above existing poles, homes and features.

Eirgrid has said the development is necessary. The power connections between the Dublin region and Cork are too old and prone to disruption. And reports have said that if wind turbines are developed on the scale proposed, the existing power lines will be inadequate.

Click here to read the full article: Irish Examiner, 25 November 2013

Blow for council as wind power fails to light up €20m park: Irish Independent News, 30 October 2013

WIND-powered park next to the abandoned Priory Hall apartment complex is incapable of generating enough spark to keep its lights on.

Built by Dublin City Council at a cost of €20m, Fr Collins Park in Donaghmede, north Dublin, was described as Ireland’s first “self-sustaining city park” when it opened in 2009.

Click here to read the full article

REPORT: Internoise – 2013 Innsbruck Austria, Noise Control for Quality of Life: 15-18 September 2013

Amplitude modulation (AM) sound, so called swish sound, is generally contained in wind turbine noise (WTN) and it causes serious annoyance in the areas around wind farms. Therefore, the methods to assess the characteristics of this kind of sound should be investigated in both viewpoints, physically and psycho-acoustically.

Click here to read the full article: Internoise – 2013 Innsbruck Austria (15-18 Sept 2013)

REPORT: 5th International Conference of Wind Turbines Noise, Denver: 28 – 30 August 2013

A synthetic study program on wind turbine noise titled “Research on the evaluation of human impact of low frequency noise from wind turbine generators” has been performed over the three years from the 2010 fiscal year sponsored by the Ministry of the Environment, Japan. In this study program, field measurements and social surveys in the immission areas around 34 wind farms across Japan and laboratory experiments on the psycho-acoustical effects of wind turbine noise have been performed.

Click here to read the full report: 5th International Conference of Wind Turbine Noise, Denver – 28-30 Aug 2013

 

Report on WHO Night Noise Guidlines (NNGL) FOR EUROPE

The aim of this document is to present the conclusions of the World Health Organization (WHO) working group responsible for preparing guidelines for exposure to noise during sleep. This document can be seen as an extension of the WHO Guidelines for Community Noise (2000). The need for “health-based” guidelines originated in part from the European Union Directive 2002/49/EC relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise (commonly known as the Environmental Noise Directive and abbreviated as END) which will compel European Union Member States to produce noise maps and data about night exposure from mid- 2007. The work was made possible by a grant from the European Commission and contributions from the Swiss and German governments.

Although a number of countries do have legislation directed at controlling night noise exposure, there is little information on actual exposure and its subsequent effects on the population.

Estimates made in some countries of the number of people highly disturbed by noise during sleep (see Figure 1 for the Netherlands as an example) indicate that a substantial part of the population could be exposed to levels that might risk their health and wellbeing.

Click here to read the full report: 2007 Report on WHO Night Noise Guidelines for Europe