In a previous incarnation, Greenbang spent a little of his working life in the civil service. He’s not exactly breaking the Official Secrets Act for revealing from his own experiences that it’s a slow moving beast.
Imagine a sloth, taking an idle stroll, getting bored and stopping for a cigarette break and you’re half way there. Honestly, take a peek through the keyhole into an office full of civil servants and you’ll see something that resembles work, albeit in dangerously slow motion.
Getting anything done means generating warehouses full of acronym-laden paperwork – and enough to turn the most productive of workers into an idle fop.
Given Greenbang’s painful first hand experience of the civil service, it’s hardly a surprise to read The Guardian reporting that it’s taking up to five years for the government to grant planning permission for wind farms.
Now that folk are in a bit of a hurry to get renewable energies projects off the ground (cough 15 percent renewables by 2015 cough), ministers have now pledged to cut out the hurdles which are holding back the windy projects.
The Grauniad also mentions that the average time to make a decision on wind farms has risen over the last four years to reach 24 months and that it can take two to three times longer to get an application through the Scottish planning approval process compared to the English one. Argh.
According to the latest stats from the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA), there are 172 wind farms churning out the electrical goods. It sort of pales in comparison to the 217 projects currently in planning though.
That said, Greenbang has news of a farm which has made it through the planning process recently: Airtricity has revealed that the 504MW Greater Gabbard offshore farm “will begin shortly” and will be the largest offshore wind farm around with 140 turbines and should be up and running by 2011.
All the planning delays aren’t putting Scottish and Southern Energy, involved in the Gabbard project, off its wind stride. Here’s what Ian Marchant, chief executive of SSE, said:
“A major construction project of this kind, in potentially challenging conditions, is not without risks, but these have been managed through the procurement and project management strategies which we have adopted.
“We are actively planning further offshore projects in the UK and throughout Europe, and the successful partnership approach that we have taken on Greater Gabbard will underpin our participation in the next round of offshore developments and beyond.”