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David Cameron Versus The UK Wind Industry

Speaking to the House of Commons Liaison Committee on Tuesday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron dealt a remarkably ignorant blow to the country’s wind industry by claiming the public were “fed up” with the construction of wind farms, before arguing that subsidies wind energy subsidies should be stopped. 6331616429_057c0f400b_z

Prime Minister Cameron had been asked about the possibility some in government were ignoring science. As if to purposefully make matters worse, Cameron ignored the question and moved on to dismiss onshore wind farms:

“On onshore wind farms I think the public are fed up with so many onshore wind farms being built.”

Cameron went on to say that the wind industry should lose its subsidies and be made to compete on a level playing field, at which point he added that he did not believe the wind industry would be able to compete without subsidies. (Note that other power sources that have been on the market for many decades retain their subsidies.)

A mere two days later, however, the UK government put out its latest Energy Trends update, which left renewable energy trade body RenewableUK confident in saying that “the Prime Minister was wrong to attack onshore wind earlier this week.”

“Electricity generated from renewables – up again. Clean power provided by wind for British homes – up again,” said RenewableUK’s Director of External Affairs, Jennifer Webber. “No wonder two-thirds of the public repeatedly tell every independent polling organisation from YouGov to Ipsos MORI that they support wind energy, and a majority of people want to see more onshore wind farms built near them.

“Their understanding of the importance of generating clean power from home-grown sources stands in sharp contrast to the misguided and quite frankly ignorant comments by the Prime Minister earlier this week, when he wrongly suggested that people are fed up with wind.”

Jennifer Webber’s comments come in response to the UK Department of Energy & Climate Change’s Energy Trends report for December, covering the third quarter of 2014.

Some of the highlights from the report go further to retroactively rebuke Prime Minister Cameron’s comments, if not disprove his assumptions regarding the British public — RenewableUK did that well enough.

Total energy production in the UK was 4.5% lower in Q3’14 than a year previously. Specifically, oil production fell by 11% against Q3’13, natural gas production was 3.5% higher, and total primary energy consumption fell by 4%.

Electricity generated by fuel type


Renewables’ share of electricity generation for the third quarter was 18%, up from 14% in Q3’13. Specifically, hydro generation increased by 6%, offshore wind generation increased by 14%, and onshore by 8%. Bioenergy generation was up 31%.

The full Energy Trends report can be downloaded here

Thanks to Jessica Shankleman and James Murray over at BusinessGreen for live-blogging Prime Minister Cameron’s question time

Photo Credit: Department for Business, via Flickr

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