The deal came about because the two companies had previously submitted separate planning applications for wind farms on adjacent sites but both applications were turned down. As a result they decided to jointly put forward a single proposal that better addresses local concerns about the number of wind turbines in the area. The new proposal will see a reduction in the number of turbines 13 to five.
The agreement will see RES take responsibility for progressing the project and producing a full planning application for the scheme.
Daniel Leahy, the RES Project Manager who helped to finalise the agreement, said: “We hope that other major organisations like BT will follow this lead and seek innovative ways to work with the renewable energy sector to ensure that we can secure the energy generation capacity this country needs to maintain growth and prosperity in the future."
Review: Looking back at BT’s history of wind farm development the company doesn’t seem to have had a very high success rate with possible wind farm sites, mainly down to planning application problems. On that basis it makes sense to join up with a specialist such as RES to do the planning groundwork.
I can understand BT wanting to get involved, but it’s not core business. If you look at Google’s huge investment in renewables in the US, it’s much more of a hands-off approach, just putting in the investment with the developer. Perhaps the agreement with RES is a move in that direction. RES certainly has extensive experience of planning applications (one of which was actually made into a TV series). I guess the future of the partnership will depend on whether RES gets the planning application through.
It is also a good example for BT to set. The company has put a lot of effort into sustainability in the past and developing wind farms is an extension of that. The figure usually quoted is that BT alone accounts for 0.7% of the UK’s energy consumption, but ICT as a whole makes up 2-3% of global carbon emissions. I would like to see more of the other major industry players investing with companies such as RES.