From mines to turbines

British coal company eyes wind

by Michael Smith

The sites of disused coal mines in Britain (and obviously elsewhere too, methinks) could be used to house wind farms in a transformation, which would be not only symbolic, but would breathe new life into brownfield land with few other options for commercially viable use.

UK Coal plc has teamed up with wind farm developers Peel Energy to look at the possibility of erecting turbines at 14 separate sites.

If all those wind farms considered were to get through the planning process, which one could but hope, but knowing the NIMBY-ism in this country I doubt, the initiative would see 54 turbines installed to produce 133MW of power.

The chief executive of UK Coal, Jon Lloyd, said: "We believe there is significant opportunity to develop wind farms on parts of our land portfolio.

"By allying with Peel Energy, we are joining forces with one of the UK's most active and knowledgeable wind power companies. This will accelerate our alternative power business whilst maintaining total flexibility on the level of investment we make in it and without distracting us from our core mining and property development operations."

Steven Underwood, director of Peel Energy, said: "This agreement is an important step for Peel Energy, significantly expanding its onshore pipeline and gaining access to some of the UK's best potential wind farm locations. We look forward to working with UK Coal to realise the wind power potential of its extensive land portfolio. "

The biggest problem with any kind of projects like this is the inherent NIMBY-ism in the British, the not-in-my-backyard attitude. Be this a waster incinerating plant that also produces energy at the same time, or wind turbines; it is always the same. Not here. The same when it comes to Gypsy Caravan Sites as well.

With the right attitude this country could have a lot more renewable energy provisions. Alas there are always some people that make lots of noise against such developments.

With regards to the energy from waste plants we have even had the likes of Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace protesting together with the NIMBY campaigners against such facilities, the former, however, with the slogan “we need more recycling” regardless of the fact that there is and will always be some waste that just cannot be recycled but still can produce energy by being burned.

Oh well... such is Britain, however. While this works all well in other countries in Europe here, in the UK, we seem to be forever battling with a variety of obstacles, and not just as far as renewable energy is concerned. A lot of “green” issues that work well in other countries just cannot seem to work in Britain.

Maybe one day...

© M Smith (Veshengro), December 2008