Objection to 12 wind turbines, up to 126.6 meters in height, in the Blackwater River valley

The Irish Georgian Society has objected (September 2014) to the proposed siting of 12 wind turbines, each reaching up to 126.6 meters in height, on the Blackwater River valley. Following is the submission made to Waterford County Council.

Click here to read the full article: The Irish Georgian Society – September 2014

BW Energy Report 3 on behalf of ReThink Pylons – July 2014: Response to Irish Govt’s Consultation on May 2014 Green Paper on Irish Energy Policy

Press Release July 2014

The ReThink Pylons (RTP) Response to the Irish Government’s May 2014 Green Paper on Irish Energy Policy written by the BW Energy team, Dr. Anthony White and Malcolm Brown, July 2014.
In our statement on the launch of the Green paper just back in May, we in RTP called it a ‘cynical pre-election ploy to convince voters that the Government was working to rationalise Ireland’s skewed energy policy, because this was a strategy document for a policy the government was actually halfway through implementing’! It was a 2007 policy attempting to catch up with an All Wind government policy, which was good for its time then, but is now completely wrong for Ireland at this juncture, and there are far better and cheaper alternatives readily available to the nation now.
However, in our positive Response to the Green Paper, we show clearly the major changes that have dramatically altered Ireland’s energy landscape since the 2007 Irish Energy Policy Framework, and demonstrate why Biomass and Residential Solar PV are genuine alternatives, and we would claim, far better alternatives for Ireland NOW, and we show why.

Click here to read the full press release: RTP response to the Irish Government’s May 2014 Green Paper on Irish Energy Policy

To view the report, click on the link below: BW Energy Report 3 – Green Paper Response -July 2014

 

 

Landowners claim energy firm not honouring deal – The Irish Examiner, 28 April 2014

Protesting landowners in west Waterford have claimed an energy company is not honouring “previously-agreed conditions” over a planned wind farm.

Nine landowners in Ballyduff, who staged a protest last week, claim that under a 2003 agreement with a company called Barranafaddock Sustainable Electricity, they were entitled to €1,000 per annum from the year of planning permission in 2005 to the time of construction next June.

Click here to read the full article: Irish Examiner – 28 April 2014

Time for a clearer vision of justice, rights and the environment – The Irish Times, 28 April 2014

Environmental decision-making is a hot topic. It’s inherently controversial and highly political. Climate, energy, water, biodiversity and land-use planning all pose significant challenges for government and generate strong opinions on the best way to address these challenges.

Click here to read the full article: The Irish Times – 28 April 2014

New Report Offers Pylon-Free Alternative to Grid 25

Conversion of Ireland’s largest power station, Moneypoint in Co. Clare, from coal to biomass is a low cost alternative to Grid25 that would make it possible to meet Irish renewable energy targets for 2020 at a single stroke – while protecting Irish jobs and safeguarding the countryside from pylon blight, an expert report concludes.

The report, by consultants Dr Anthony White and Malcolm Brown of BW Energy, also makes clear that gradual conversion to biomass at Moneypoint, would enable Ireland to meet its renewable energy commitments cost effectively, without the massive Grid25 upgrade required by Ireland’s current “all wind” policy.

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.

To read the full report click on the following: BW ENERGY March 2014

Threat of blackouts if power grid not upgraded – The Irish Examiner, 28 March 2014

If the upgrade to the national electricity grid is not carried out, the country will face blackouts, Gridlink project manager John Lowry said yesterday.

Mr Lowry says changes in the electricity generation mix and increased use of wind energy means that, unless the grid is urgently upgraded there is a danger of the system collapsing.

Click here to read the full article: The Irish Examiner – 28 March 2014

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