Friday, 20 December 2013

Solar farms in East Devon: the approvals... and the debate...

Whilst the proposal for a solar farm near Sidbury has been turned down:
Futures Forum: Solar Plan for Sidmouth fails

the District Council is considering other projects:
13/2202/MFUL | Proposed solar farm comprising the installation of solar arrays, equipment housing, fencing and ancillary equipment and alterations to existing access onto B3179 and widening of access track. | Land North Of Liverton Farm Salterton Road Exmouth EX8 5BW
Plans for massive solar farm submitted for Exmouth land | Exeter Express and Echo
Objections to solar farm - Exmouth life - Exmouth Journal
I would query the figures - Exmouth life - Exmouth Journal
Liverton Solar Park Proposals - Clinton Devon Estates

12/2247/MFUL | Construction of 7MW solar farm comprising erection of solar arrays, installation of ancillary equipment, transformer stations, substations, c.c.t.v and security fencing and laying of access track. | Saundercroft (Land Adjoining) Whimple Exeter EX5 2PF
12/2410/MFUL | Solar farm (22ha) comprising the erection of solar arrays, inverters, transformers, equipment housing, security fencing, internal tracks and ancillary equipment | Land Opposite Woodcote National Substation Hawkchurch Devon
13/1202/MFUL | Proposed solar farm, comprising the erection of solar arrays, equipment housing, fencing and ancillary equipment. | Land To West & North West Pithayes Farm Whimple

and has approved others:
13/1390/MFUL | Construction of solar farm comprising solar arrays, switch gear housing, CCTV cameras and security fencing | Land To The Southwest & West Of Great Houndbeare Farm Aylesbeare Exeter
Solar farm bid wins approval - News - Sidmouth Herald

The District Council seems to be 'generally in favour' of solar farms:
Futures Forum: Solar Plan for Sidmouth: supporting comments

With reference to the solar farm at Aylesbeare:

The application proposal relates to the construction of a large scale solar PV 
farm to generate electricity through a renewable energy source for supply direct 
to the national grid. The scheme would make a significant contribution towards 
meeting renewable energy targets and supporting the Government's wider 
sustainability agenda. 
In accepting that the solar farm would have a degree of impact on the immediate 
locality, Government guidance contained within the National Planning Policy 
Framework (NPPF) is clear in stating that, subject to other material planning 
considerations, renewable energy developments should be accepted if their 
impacts can be made to be acceptable.


Solar farms are controversial locally:
Plans for massive solar farm submitted for Exmouth land | Exeter Express and Echo
Bright future for Axminster solar farm plan? - News - Midweek Herald
Fears for farm next to proposed solar array - News - Exmouth Journal
'25,000 panels will hit Port Isaac tourism' | This is Cornwall
Cheddar Gorge among targets for Coalition's 'vandalism' of the countryside | This is Somerset

The debate continues nationally...
BBC News - Grid capacity worries spark UK solar farm boom
Solar farm crackdown pledged | Planning Resource
Minister taken to court over solar farm ban - Telegraph
Consumers to pay 10 per cent too much for solar farms as subsidies 'too high' - Telegraph

As for the advantages and disadvantaged of solar power, beyond the understandable 'nimby' response:

solar resource potential

Advantages & Disadvantages Of Solar Power | CleanTechnica

Solar Energy Gets People Talking

One feature of solar energy is that it spurs discussion and re-assessment of the importance and interaction between economics, environment, and investment.
There is debate and polarization of perspectives and interests.
While not everybody is in favor of solar, the fact that there is discussion about the validity of the status quo is a fascinating development. The monopolistic nature of many industries, the pitfalls of solely focusing on economics, and environmental disregard, are increasingly central topics.
At a practical level, many governments and state authorities are encouraging solar use through incentives such as subsidies, rebates and tariffs. California is an interesting example of such measures in action.
Spain highlights the importance of long-term consideration with such incentives, and how they can fail if not handled correctly or if circumstances change – such as the global financial crisis.
Factors such as cheaper materials and installation as demand grows will make solar more affordable in the future, but for the moment, the fact is that producing solar electricity is financially expensive compared to conventional methods.
13 Fundamental Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy


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