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Campaigners cite renewable energy “oversupply” in planning system

Words: Huw Morris
Wind farm

Anti-windfarm group says processing too many energy planning applications is wasting local authorities' time and money

The planning system is bogged down with an oversupply of renewable energy projects, according to an analysis of government planning statistics.

The Renewable Energy Foundation, which campaigns against wind farms, said 35 gigawatt of capacity has already been consented, and is either operational or under or awaiting construction. It said this is enough to meet the government's renewable energy targets by 2020 with a 5 per cent margin.

But the campaigners say their analysis of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s renewable energy database shows there are 1,000 planning applications totalling a further 18 gigawatt of capacity in the planning system. This would overshoot the target by around 50 per cent.

“The necessity of assessing these planning applications leads to waste of valuable resources and increased costs for local authorities, statutory consultees and local communities,” the foundation said.
“Oversupply on this scale is clearly undesirable for investors and consumers alike. It also has important implications for decision-makers in the planning system, who should now be giving greater weight to negative local impacts.”