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Community wind farms unite against nuclear threat

05-02-2010 | Members of the public are invited to have their say on plans to build a nuclear power plant on the site of the UK's oldest wind farm. Kirksanton in Cumbria, home to the Haverigg wind farms, is one of ten new nuclear sites proposed by The Department of Energy and Climate Change in November 2009. A major power company, RWE, has submitted plans for a nuclear power station at the site, which is on the edge of the Lake District National Park. If plans for the nuclear plant go ahead then the current eight turbines will have to be demolished. Triodos Renewables, Baywind and Windcluster, owners of the Haverigg wind farms, have come together with other support groups to urge local residents and other stakeholders to let Government know their views on the plans during the current consultation phase.

Key points

  • A new nuclear power station is proposed at Kirksanton in Cumbria, home to the Haverigg wind farms.
  • Triodos Renewables is urging stakeholders to express their dissatisfaction at the proposal. It is joined by Baywind and Windcluster, who also own turbines on the site. Baywind Energy Cooperative has already contacted its 1300 members inviting them to register their views with the Department
  • Members of the public have until 22 February to take part in the consultation phase.

"Contrary to their public support for renewable energy, the Government appears intent on supporting nuclear power ahead of sustainable wind energy. Finding and securing new sites that have local support and work commercially is one of the biggest challenges for renewable project developers. So it seems crazy to decommission productive, operational wind farms and replace them with nuclear," says Matthew Clayton, Triodos Renewables' Operations Director.

Colin Palmer, founder of Windcluster Ltd, says, "At a time when the Government is failing to meet its renewable energy targets, it beggars belief that they are supporting plans that will result in the destruction of existing renewable capacity. I also do not understand why the nominated sites are so large. There is land earmarked at Sellafield that is more than enough to absorb all the connection capacity in West Cumbria. There is no need for RWE's two 'greenfield' sites at Braystones and Kirksanton."

Members of the public have until 22 February to contribute to the Government's consultations phase at www.energynpsconsultation.decc.gov.uk . The website includes information about the plans and a section on how to respond.

"We're encouraging our shareholders and customers to take an active part in the consultation," says Matthew Clayton. "Our investors have taken a stake in the fight against climate change by supporting sustainable energy, and we share their dismay with the Government and the energy company's approach."

Local residents have also rallied together against the proposal, forming the Kirksanton Action Group. Visit www.savekirksanton.org.uk for more on the proposal and its potential impact on the Kirksanton site.

Notes to editors

Triodos Renewables is a public limited company, with over 4,000 investors who want their money to make a practical difference in the fight against climate change, and recognise the long-term business potential of renewable energy. Triodos Renewables' objective is to exploit opportunities in a growing renewable energy market by taking advantage of projects that generate clean, green electricity from renewable sources. It also works with partners to develop and acquire projects, and invest in innovative companies in the sustainable energy sector. Its portfolio includes eight investments with a total capacity of 23.45 MW, saving approximately 60,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and producing enough clean, green renewable energy for the equivalent of over 15,500 homes.* Triodos Renewables has financed innovative projects, such as the Haverigg II Wind Farm in Cumbria, a re-powering wind farm project at Caton Moor in Lancashire, a single wind turbine in the Orkney Islands, and the Beochlich Hydro Electric project in Argyll in Scotland. Triodos Renewables is a trading name of Triodos Renewable Energy Fund plc. *Figures correct at 31 December 2007.

Triodos Bank only finances enterprises which create social, environmental or cultural added value. Key sectors include organic food and farming, renewable energy, social housing, and fair trade. Transparency is a core value: customers are informed about the bank’s lending and can target their savings to particular areas of investment. A range of personal savings accounts is offered, and full banking services are available for businesses and charities. Triodos Bank is an independent bank founded in the Netherlands in 1980. Its principles and independence are protected through a special shareholding trust. The UK office opened in 1995 and is based in Bristol.

Colin Palmer established Windcluster Ltd in 1988. It was one of the first wind energy development companies in the UK. In 1992 Windcluster Ltd commissioned its first project at Haverigg and commenced the development of a four turbine second phase. The Haverigg I windcluster was financed by a pioneering group of ethical investors. The second phase was acquired by Triodos Renewables and the Baywind Energy Co-operative.

In 2005 the original five Haverigg I turbines were replaced with four larger, more modern units, using further investment from the original investors along with finance from Triodos Bank.

The Haverigg airfield is an exceptional wind energy site. It is very productive due to the exposure to winds from the Irish Sea and allows the normal farming activities to proceed unhindered. The new turbines are less than five years old and are designed to run for at least another 20 years.

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