In a crowd-pleasing gesture beloved of politicians, British energy minister Malcolm Wicks announced consent for what will be England's largest wind farm yet during his visit to the British Wind Energy Association's 29th annual gathering. Unusual for such a large project, the 66 MW Fullabrook Down wind farm is to go up in southwest England in the pretty county of Devon, where opposition to wind farms has been rife. The consent follows a four-week public inquiry into the development at the turn of this year. Devon Wind Power applied for permission for the project over three years ago. The 22 turbine project was among 321 MW of large wind farm applications that have been sitting on desks of officials in Whitehall awaiting a decision. The BWEA is urging ministers and local authorities to determine at least 1300 MW of projects before the end of the year to help meet the UK's 2010 renewable targets (main story). "This government is matching words with action," claimed Wicks. "We said we needed to make tough choices if we are to achieve our clean energy objectives and that is exactly what we are doing. Fullabrook Down will make a substantial contribution to meeting Devon's renewable target of generating 151 MW of renewable electricity by 2010." Unlike in other parts of Britain where access to the grid is becoming an increasing problem for wind developers, transmission capacity in southwest England is plentiful.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol