CO2 savings overstated!

Here is an extract from a well informed letter of representation sent to Dorset Council. It casts serious doubt on the developer’s general claims about how much CO2 would be saved by the proposed North Dairy Farm solar plant.

The writer states:

CO2 Claims not verified and overstated:

“In my view the CO2 figures and ‘green’ claims by the developer are overstated and not backed up by peer reviewed scientific evidence and data.

The fact that the existing greenfield site is already a carbon sink and is sequestering CO2 emissions from the atmosphere is overlooked or not stated. A full ‘through life’ audit of the costs in terms of CO2 to produce manufacture, install and decommission the Solar Park is not stated by the developer, for example, tens of thousands of glass and steel solar panels come at a very considerable CO2 cost and yet this cost is not stated by the developer only the so-called CO2 benefits.

Since the full and true ‘through life’ CO2 budget for the Solar Farm is not provided, the CO2 benefits stated for the site are one sided and hence inaccurate in my opinion.

I also note that although the solar park is notionally carbon neutral in operation, the facility does not sequester emissions from the atmosphere at all, it’s CO2 gains can only be realised when other fossil fuel generators of the electricity network are decommissioned.

Due to fundamental inefficiencies of solar energy however, the panels simply
produce zero energy at night and their generating efficiency is heavily impacted on heavily overcast and short winter days), base load power generation must remain in place and cannot be fully decommissioned.

The so-called CO2 benefits of the site are therefore considerably eroded once
these underlying issues are factored in.”

And from the SHS Web pages:

Wind generation costs us less carbon than solar

The wrong time? – and definitely in the wrong place! Increasing the amount of energy from renewable and low carbon technologies is helping to make sure the UK has a secure energy supply and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to slow down climate change. Planning has an important role in the delivery of new renewable and low carbon energy infrastructure in locations where the local environmental impact is acceptable – Hardy’s Vale is not an environmentally acceptable location.

“There is a balance to strike between the need to secure our energy future while preserving the UK’s natural environment for future generations.” Offshore wind is an important clean energy source for the UK, and can provide a considerable source of ‘home-grown’ energy with minimal CO2 emissions. The energy produced is also significantly cheaper per kW than solar.

And in the end….

Solar energy is “green” but solar panels are not.
The CO2 figures stated are biased in favour of the Application and do not reflect the whole story of solar power because the following factors have not been calculated and accounted for in the whole life cycle of the product:

Solar panels are manufactured at 2000C, a temperature so high it requires fossil fuel

The manufacture of steel is the 2nd largest producer of CO2 accounting for 7-9% of all fossil fuel emissions.

Transport from the manufacturing plant (2/3 are manufactured in China) to the site also has a large CO2 cost.

The CO2 absorption by the existing grass and soil also needs to be taken into account. These omissions have led to overexaggerated CO2 benefits in the application.

They are also made using rare earth elements, the supply of which has both capacity and political issues. They also contain valuable precious metals and toxic materials that can contaminate landfill sites. At the end of their life, solar panels are not easy to recycle and so many will end up in landfill.

PV modules have a 30-year lifespan and the volume of modules reaching the end of their operational lifetime by 2050 could total 80 million metric tonnes.
Currently, only one crystalline silicon PV-dedicated recycling facility exists in the world so BSR/Dorset Council would need to find another solution for the safe disposal of these panels.

Please visit ‘ ‘Writing to the planners‘ and ‘Why refuse the application

Case Officer: Simon McFarlane – Major Projects Officer Email:
Support Officer Mrs Jackie Witt – Planning Technical Support Team Leader – Northern Area Email: Tel: 01305 838336

Or you can write to:

Case Officer: Simon McFarlane – Major Projects Officer Planning Team D Development Services South Walks House
South Walks Road

Remember to include the application number: P/FUL/2021/01018


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