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ONSHORE PLANNING


DAVID ELSY,MANAGING DIRECTOR OF THE ALTERNATIVE ENERGY COMPANY GIVES US THE BENEFIT OF HIS EXPERIENCE.


COMPANY HISTORY


David explained how the company came about “The company really started from experimentation at our family farm in the Yorkshire Dales – I still own 10 acres. The planners are very much against wind turbines in that area but I had some very small ones which require a lot of electronic control and had been experimenting with that. I became very interested in the challenges that came with that development.”


And continued “I worked with computers at the very start more than 40 years ago and my IT company CCS2000 which had been running for more than 20 years was stable so thought I would look at the possibility of wind energy being a commercial prospect in a new industry. I was very interested in getting in there at the beginning.


I spent a considerable time in the Far East looking at equipment constructed there and looked at the rights and wrongs of manufacturing wind turbines.”


David further explained that the company is also involved in other areas of energy sourcing hence the company title but sees the wind energy industry as a major player in the future because it ticks so many boxes – if the planning issues could be sorted out!


“An area which could be very lucrative in conjunction with the wind energy market is the ground source heat pump which is a great multiplier where you can take 2KW from the wind turbine and that can become 10KWof energy.” (David is a founding member of the Ground Source Heat Pump Association).


“Photo Voltaic (PV) in solar energy production has also become very interesting and is growing very quickly particularly since the feed-in tariffs have come in.” David added.


PLANNING


“Building onshore wind farms and even single wind turbines is very difficult as far as planning goes. It varies so much from area to area with some welcoming them and seeing the bigger picture and some not even meeting to listen to the possibility – very frustrating.


Our company has more than 100 building applications on the go at the moment, one of which has been going for 2½ years – back and forward with appeals! There is particular resistance in the ideal areas i.e. high up in the hills where wind is more prevalent. The UK has deemed a lot of those areas as National Parks. Some of the planning officers however look at wind turbines in a positive way as long as they do not break the skyline which in some ways diminishes their effect on energy production. We are however talking about micro generation (up to 50 Kilowatts) and probably most of the wind turbines used in the National Parks would be in the 10 to 20 KWrange.” David explained.


He continued “There is not much reasoning behind why planning permission is not given, just a general pointer to spoiling the natural beauty and very much a ‘not in my back yard’ culture in a lot of areas.


Something which I have experienced in my role in local public office (David is Mayor of Ripon) has been the lack of pre-planning advice and therefore a great waste of money and everyones time in submitting and resubmitting applications. A kind of ‘Just apply and we will see what happens’ which is really no help to anybody.


This happens a lot in the process for wind turbine development and planning permission.


One area which is worth mentioning is Anglesey which is designated as ‘an area of outstanding natural beauty which welcomes wind turbines. It just seems to come down to who the planning officer is and how they view their particular area or site – there is no standard throughout the country.”


DAVID’S CV


David qualified as an electronics engineer and his first real job was at RAF Fylingdales then swapped over into computing in process control. “We were controlling the radars, analysing signals, communications with computers.”


He then moved on to work in more industrial projects at Harwell in Nuclear Physics controlling plant with computers, then worked on the Concord project. He then worked for Filton Underwater Weapons and worked in many areas throughout the UK. David also worked overseas in Geneva for CERN.


Originally from Ripon, David spent more than 20 years working and travelling and started a family. He then returned to Ripon and completed his family and is now the proud father of 3 daughters, one of whom is employed within the company.


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Wind Energy NETWORK


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