Flexibility and capacity are the two fundamental issues which need to be addressed in order for renewable energy targets to be achieved.

That’s the view of experts in the field based in the eastern region of Carter Jonas.

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Andrew Watkin, who heads the Carter Jonas Energy Team, was among those who attended the recent East of England Energy group conference in Newmarket.

Mr Watkin, broadly welcomed the Prime Minister’s recent statement on wind power expansion in the UK but believes that planning authorities need to be flexible about wind farm developments which must be situated in appropriate locations – and that there are issues with grid capacity in parts of the country which must be addressed.

Under the Government’s plans, an extra 4,000 onshore and 3,000 offshore wind turbines will be needed and the Carter Jonas Energy Team is of the opinion that the East of England is ideally placed to capitalise on these plans.

The specialist Energy Team, which was established in 2004, is already working with landowners and developers on more 30 renewables energy projects in a number of English counties including Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Yorkshire and Sussex, as well as in the Scottish Borders and Wales and with more projects in the pipeline.

However, there are concerns that planning authorities and the National Grid are not geared up to accommodate the inevitable scale of charges that will occur in the future to rural, urban and suburban landscapes from the range of renewable energy systems that can be utilised.

The ability of grid connections to cope with current plans for wind turbine developments remains a major issue that must be tackled.

“The Prime Minister said that he wants to launch a national debate about how we achieve renewable energy targets.

“We suggest that to achieve or even get near to the Government’s targets, the fundamentals such as planning flexibility, site suitability and grid capacity must be addressed now, so that the race fro clean, green energy can be undertaken without simply hitting the panic button and opening the floodgates for renewable energy schemes in the wrong locations,” said Mr Watkin.

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