Intelligent Energy for Europe 2009 Good practice in reconciling onshore and offshore wind energy with environmental objectives GPWIND
Issues highlighted by the European Commission • Inexperience of applying EU environmental directives in offshore environment = uncertainty = cost and delay • Lack of knowledge and information sharing on application of EU environmental legislation • Lack of data available on marine ecosystems and location of protected species and habitats • Uncertainty about suitability of sites = delays and disputes • Lack of awareness of information on impact of wind farms on species and habitats
GPWIND will: • Address barriers to development of offshore and onshore wind generation • Reconcile renewable energy objectives with environmental objectives • Address active involvement of communities • Develop good practice guidance & ‘how to’ tool kit • Comparative case studies
Issues it will address • Bird collision risk • Cumulative Impact Assessment • Noise • Pre and post construction monitoring • Peat slide risk assessment • Community engagement • Marine mammal protection • Land and habitat management • Information dissemination
Intended outcomes • Demonstrate and disseminate good practice across EU • Develop a common methodology • User friendly good practice guide • ‘How to toolkit’ to facilitate dissemination of good practice at local level • Focus on problem solving and practical experience • Valuable tool for policy makers, developers, administrative authorities, communities and environmental bodies
Partners • At least 3 EU MS • Government, NGOs, industry • Firm partners from Belgium, Malta, Greece, Ireland, Spain • Others involved: RSPB, SNH, DECC, WWF Scotland, JNCC • Looking for more!
Western Isles study • After the refusal of consent for the Lewis wind farm • SG commissioned independent study into potential for economic community benefits on the islands in harmony with conservation objectives and obligations • Involvement and joint working of key stakeholders and ongoing commitment to work together = essential to realising actions emerging from the study • Key environmental and economic stakeholders: SNH, SEPA, Western Isles Council, HIE, Scottish Government
Background: • Western Isles is dependant on imported fossil fuels = fuel poverty for many inhabitants • Western Isles has huge potential for electricity generation from wind and marine • BUT the islands have the most extensive coverage of environmental designations of any region in Scotland • Therefore there’s a constraint on the nature and scale of permitted development National Areas of Conservation National Scenic Areas
Findings • Renewables is the main economic driver • Onshore wind offers most opportunities short term • Marine playing increasing role longer term • Development of an Energy Innovation Zone – shared wind energy control centre including a wind energy testing site
Black Law wind farm • Implemented the largest and most ambitious habitat management plan • Demonstrates that wind farm developments and environment can go hand in hand
Habitat management plan • 1,440 hectares actively managed to create and improve conditions for wildlife. • Planting vegetation to improve conditions for birds and encourage species back to the area • Ambitious habitat restoration project: • - Restoration of an abandoned 150 hectare opencast mine and clearance of around 400 hectares of non-native forestry. • - Mine filled in and developed as wet grassland for breeding birds.
Outcomes of habitat management plan • Habitat restoration plan = land scarred by opencast mining and commercial forestry is being reclaimed by nature a year after it began. • Increase in bird species • Vegetation monitoring = regeneration of typical upland vegetation • Cleared forestry areas restored to blanket bog and acid grassland