The British Wind Energy Association has hired a professional planner to help its members install more turbines.LONDON, England (UK) 2002-02-04 [SolarAccess.com] Wind power capacity in Britain is expected to increase by 40 percent this year, making it the “single most successful year” for the industry, according to BWEA. The new employee, Chris Tomlinson, will provide liaison between government agencies and the wind industry, to facilitate the growth in windfarm development. He will also oversee the integration of wind energy within local plans and the revision of key planning policy guidelines for wind energy in Scotland, England and Wales. “I am committed to working with both industry and the community in pursuit of an expansion in wind energy development,” says Tomlinson. “I feel optimistic that planning can play a key role in facilitating this process and therefore contribute to cleaner energy and a more sustainable environment for all.” Although 4,000 MW of wind capacity is due to be processed this year, Tomlinson notes that the planning system approves only 40 percent of applications, a statistic he wants to improve. BWEA predicts significant expansion in coming years and says its previous forecast of 2,005 MW of installed wind energy capacity by the year 2005 likely will be surpassed in light of recent announcements, including plans for the world’s largest windfarm of 600 MW on the Isle of Lewis, and another 800 MW of proposed developments in Scotland. A 48 MW ‘brownfield’ windfarm is planned for Tees-side and another 50 MW facility may be approved for Wales. Currently, the United Kingdom has 941 grid-connected turbines installed, for 473 MW of capacity. Fifteen new projects for a total of 196 MW have been confirmed for construction this year in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. By 2010, wind power is expected to provide 5 percent of Britain’s total electricity, requiring an installed capacity of 7,000 MW. Government estimates that onshore facilities will supply 2.6 percent, with offshore installations supplying 1.8 percent towards the national target for renewables of 10 percent. Meeting the government targets for wind energy would displace the emission of 14.4 megatonnes of carbon dioxide. The price of electricity from a wind turbine has fallen by a factor of four since the first windfarm started in Britain in 1991. BWEA says wind energy now is as cheap as conventional fossil fuel generation.