Swedish energy company Vattenfall has announced its decision to stop the Nocton Fen and Nant Bach wind farms, one month apart.
Vattenfall released an email late July explaining that the UK “Government’s significant recent shift in national planning policy for onshore wind farms” caused the decision. Specifically, Vattenfall noted that “whilst this project would have satisfied the Government’s policy to drive down the cost of electricity from onshore wind farms, the expected changes to the planning system mean that a project of this scale will no longer be supported by national planning policy.”
“Over the past two years we have been grateful for the level of participation from the local community and I would like to personally thank all those who took part,” said Project Manager, Graham Davey. “Some in the community supported the project, some did not, and many others expressed no particular view either way, but we are confident that everyone will feel that they had the opportunity to engage with us, express their views, and influence our plans.
“The project at Nocton Fen could have delivered low cost, carbon free electricity in line with Government objectives to protect the consumer from high energy costs,” Davey continued. “Unfortunately, however, the project will not fit with the Government’s emerging changes to planning policy. To me this seems to be a missed opportunity to deliver the right kind of affordable electricity.”
A month later, on August 10, Vattenfall followed this news up with the revelation that they had similarly decided to stop the development of the 11 turbine Nant Bach wind project in north Wales, after ten years of development and four years since planning consent.
The 22 MW wind farm “no longer fits Vattenfall’s strategy of developing and operating the very best wind energy sites capable of delivering low cost, competitive green power that finds a route to market.”
“It’s obviously disappointing to have to stop the Nant Bach wind energy project after ten years of development,” said Jonny Hewett, Vattenfall’s project manager for the Nant Bach scheme. “We have had local support and the region’s economy would have benefited from any investment but the reality is that Nant Bach was a scheme conceived ten years ago when energy policy encouraged the maturity of the new wind power industry. The market has moved on and left Nant Bach behind.”
The UK’s renewable energy industry is currently under a lot of pressure as the newly re-elected Conservative Government turns its attention to reducing and removing financial subsidies for the industry. Though there are a lot of heavy hitters on the side of the renewable energy industry — not to mention the onrushing Paris UN Climate Change talks — one wonders just how long this political uncertainty will affect the country’s clean energy industry.
On the other hand, Vattenfall will not be without wind farms to fill its pipeline, but it looks like — for the moment — Vattennfall has ceased its involvement with Nocton Fen.
Image Credit: Vattenfall
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