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Wind Farms

Trade and Industry written question – answered on 17th July 2003.

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Photo of Bill Wiggin Bill Wiggin Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the development of wind power facilities in the United Kingdom.

Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Minister of State (e-Commerce & Competitiveness)

I am encouraged by the number of new wind farm developments coming forward in the UK.

There is no requirement on developers to inform the Department of when a project will commence construction or when the completion date for construction will be. The Department therefore has no details of how many wind farms are under construction or when they will be completed. The DTI only collects data for wind farm applications above 50 MW (1 MW for offshore applications). Proposals for wind farms in England and Wales with a capacity of 50 MW or below fall to be determined by the local planning authority under the normal planning regime. The Government have made a commitment in the Energy White Paper to improve our statistics gathering for all planning applications regarding renewable energy, and we are presently working on this.

There is currently 995 MW of generation capacity in the application process and an additional 671 MW capacity has been given planning consent for wind farms in England and Wales, under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989.

Powers under section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989, as they apply to Scotland, have been devolved to the Scottish Executive. In Scotland there is currently 1,060 MW in the planning process and an additional 292 MW has received consent.

In Northern Ireland wind farms with a capacity of 10 MW or above fall to be determined by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment for Northern Ireland under Article 39 of the Northern Ireland Electricity Order 1992. There is currently 115 MW in the application process and 62 MW have received consent and are commissioned.

The DTI announced on 14 July 2003 that it had asked the Crown Estate to invite applications for sites for offshore wind farm developments in three strategic areas around the coast—the Thames Estuary, the Greater Wash and the north-west (which covers the area of the Irish Sea from the north Wales coast to the Solway Firth). This invitation to developers is likely to lead to a significant increase in the number and capacity of offshore wind farms.

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