We’re already doing our bit

ANNE Wrangham writes that ‘people in this country, have not got round to a proper basic debate about our future power needs’ (Power to the people for our children’s sake, Gazette, March 1).

The debate has actually been going on for many years, as readers will know, and would be more constructive if those taking part argued from the facts.

She writes: “Durham has an enormous number of turbines and so far Northumberland has not done its share for the country as a whole when it has the resources to do so.” This is grossly misleading.

Energy targets are usually framed in terms of renewable energy as a percentage of consumption. Government statistics, available on the DECC website, show that though Durham has more operating renewables capacity in relation to energy consumption than Northumberland at the moment, it will be overtaken this summer and will soon be left far behind.

The official figures as of March 1, show Northumberland as having 3.17 per cent of consumption in operating plants and 15.76 per cent under construction. Wind arrays under construction include Lynemouth (13 x 121.2m x 2MW) and Green Rigg (18 x 110m x 2MW).

Durham’s equivalent figures were 13.54 per cent operating, 5.74 per cent under construction and only 5.00 per cent awaiting construction.

Northumberland has a massive 190.49 per cent awaiting construction.

Many of the consented turbine arrays which form part of this total will start construction this year. They include Middlemoor (18 x 125m x 3MW wind turbines); Wandylaw (10 x 125m x 3MW wind turbines); Barmoor (6 x 110.5m x 3MW; Blyth Harbour repowering (7 x 130m x 3.4MW); Boundary Lane (3 x 115m x 2MW); Kiln Pit Hill (6 x 120m x 2MW).

When you add all the consented renewable energy capacity that will be built in the near future we come to an astonishing total of 209.42 per cent of consumption. Durham’s equivalent figure is only 24.27 per cent.

On this basis, Northumberland is doing more than any other English county: over seven times more than Yorkshire and eight times more than Durham.

These figures do not factor in the significant fall in energy consumption in Northumberland since 2005, the base-line year. Consumption has reduced more in Northumberland than in other counties and will drop a great deal more now Alcan has closed.

The figures used here are taken from an expert analysis by business analyst Bill Short.

His paper, with graphs, is available on the Northumberland page of the Windbyte website.

Energy Minister Ed Davey confirmed the national figures in Mr Short’s analysis when he told Parliament on March 8 that there were already enough onshore turbines built or making their way through planning to meet the Government’s target for 2020.

Don Brownlow,


Grievestead Farm,