RenewableUK has expressed deep concern at the announcement by the Energy Minister Michael Fallon that the Conservative Party would seek to end financial support for new onshore wind farms, and would attempt to introduce draconian new planning restrictions on renewable energy projects, if they were to win the next election.
RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Maria McCaffery said:
“Onshore wind is the lowest cost form of renewable energy we have, and cheaper than new nuclear. The industry has already seen a reduction in financial support, and a trajectory for further reduction is clearly laid out. However cutting all support overnight amounts to a moratorium as the Minister has suggested.
“That’s bad news for jobs and energy bill payers. Nearly 19,000 people currently owe their jobs to the UK’s onshore wind industry, with potential for thousands more over the next decade.
“It’s also bad news for bill-payers. As the Royal Academy of Engineering showed earlier this month, limiting onshore wind means having to rely on more expensive technologies to keep the lights on, increasing our dependency on costly fossil fuel imports and exposure to price hikes.
“It’s also a bad move electorally. Two thirds of voters back onshore wind and voters of all parties prefer it as a neighbour to fossil fuel technologies like shale gas.
“We urge the Conservative Party to work with the industry on cost reduction, and stop making arbitrary comments which threaten investment in all energy types. It’s unfortunate that we seem to have reached a point where the Conservatives are allowing UKIP to dictate Tory energy policy.
“When it comes to something as important as guaranteeing the security of the UK’s future energy supply, the British public deserve better than ill-considered, short-term policy making on the hoof like this.”
Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said:
“Before the last election, David Cameron promised to lead the greenest government ever – that promise lies in tatters now, as he prepares to fight the next election dancing to the tune set by UKIP.
“It’s a shameful abdication of his responsibility as prime minister, to put his party before the country in this way.
“We need an energy policy that makes sense, environmentally and economically, one that can give us energy independence, lower bills and abate climate change. What we have instead is one that only makes sense politically, an energy policy for the Tory party.
“Last week’s YouGov poll shows very clearly that wind energy onshore is overwhelmingly popular, contrary to Cameron’s claims.
“The same poll shows that we Britons would rather have a windmill in our neighbourhood than we would a fracking rig – by an overwhelming three to one.
“That’s the real ‘scourge’ yet Cameron is intent on forcing this on the country – this government have short circuited the planning process for fracking, removed any proper environmental risk assessment, taken local people out of the decision making process and provided enormous subsidies for an industry that we simply don’t need.
“Just this week they announced plans to change trespass laws to allow fracking without landowner consent. All of this stands in stark contrast to their actions regarding onshore wind, our cheapest most abundant form of renewable energy.
“If we are serious about meeting our legally binding environmental targets (and that is of course an open question) by 2030 we will be using 40% less gas in Britain and the North Sea can provide it all. We simply don’t need to take the risks of fracking, and we clearly don’t want it or need it.
“That’s where the moratorium should be. But big business interests dictate otherwise”
David Cameron is “burying his head in the sand” over the IPCC’s hard-hitting report by threatening to end onshore wind subsidies, a leading renewable energy expert said yesterday (Thursday).
Paul McCullagh, CEO of Glasgow-based UrbanWind, said:
“Abandoning green policies and initiatives, like this, that are taking us towards a low carbon economy may be a good general election sound bite for a Government under fire from UKIP, but it is a backwards step in all senses.”
He stressed the Government’s focus needed to be on delivering a policy to reduce emissions and keep Britain’s lights on. Wind power and other renewable technologies will be a critical part of this.
“What is needed is a mix of energy solutions that will start to deliver the security of supply that we urgently need, whilst also meeting the recommendations of the IPCC’s recent report. This clearly warned about the dire consequences of failing to switch to low-carbon power generation.”
“The Prime Minister is burying his head in the sand to the stark reality of the IPCC’s findings and the growing threat of power blackouts.
“We need a Government to commit to renewable energy and not withdraw support. Recent pronouncements like this do not give potential investors any confidence.
“The renewable industry is here. It is powering ahead. What it needs is the support and commitment from a Government that will drive it forward further.
“That, in turn, will reduce emissions and improve energy security, as well as helping the economy through investment in renewable technologies and the jobs that will create.”