Published on October 31st, 2012 | by Chris Milton0
Onshore Wind Farms: A Theoretical, Middle Class, Left Wing Article Of Faith
Controversy has erupted in the UK after one the Government’s energy secretaries slammed onshore wind farms as “a bourgeois Left article of faith based on some academic perspective.” He went on to say the countryside was “peppered” with wind farms and that “enough is enough.”
John Hayes made the comments to two conservative newspapers moments after addressing the Renewables UK 2013 Conference, during which he praised the country’s mix of renewable energy and said it was vital to secure long-term investment and job creation in the sector.
However, Hayes is not responsible for wind policy and the energy secretary who is has slapped him down and said there is no change in government policy. Renewables UK has expressed its disappointment at what appears to be blatent two-facedness from a Government minister and sought a clarification.
John Hayes is a long-standing critic of onshore wind farms because of the impact they have on local communities. What appears to have happened is that an anti-wind speech he was due to give at the conference was deemed to be against government policy, so he wrote another but went on to share the speech with the newspapers anyway.
However, he is not alone in his opinions, as 100 Government MPs wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this year to voice their opposition to onshore wind farms. This is enough to bring down the government should they decide to rebel.
The Government is on target to generate 13 gigawatts of power from onshore wind power by 2020. This is about 20% of the country’s capacity, and contributes to a further target of having 30% of the country’s electricity produced from renewables in the same time frame.
Onshore wind farms are seen as the cheapest way of meeting the government’s renewable energy target and it has made it clear there is no question of current plans being axed. However, what will happen once the target has been met has now been left deliberately open to question, raising fears that the UK may start to slip back into fossil fuel dependence.
Notably, over half of the population think that the country needs more wind power, but it doesn’t have nearly the support that solar power has.