The government is lying to us about wind farms, says green energy boss Dale Vince

We asked the Ecotricity founder what he thought of the government suddenly pulling the plug on wind turbine support. He didn’t hold back

The government is being dishonest by ending wind farm subsidies early, energy company boss Dale Vince has told LondonLovesBusiness.com.

The Tories announced they would end the subsidy for wind turbines, the cheapest and most efficient energy source, a year earlier than planned.

The industry had previously said it planned to sue if the government pulled the plug early.

Energy secretary Amber Rudd said: “We want to help technologies stand on their own two feet, not encourage a reliance on public subsidies. So we are driving forward our commitment to end new onshore wind subsidies and give local communities the final say over any new wind farms. Onshore wind is an important part of our energy mix and we now have enough subsidised projects in the pipeline to meet our renewable energy commitments.”

Vince, founder of green energy company Ecotricity, said there were two major issues with the government’s plan.

He said: “Firstly the government justifies cutting wind support on the basis of saving money and wanting technologies to stand on their own feet. At the same time it awards a further 35 years of new subsidies to nuclear, and billions to the oil and gas industry to support it against falling energy prices. 

“The IMF recently reported that Britain spends £30bn a year subsidising the fossil fuel industry, that’s over £1,000 per household.  Onshore wind by contrast costs £10 per household. Government sentiments make sense, but they’re targeting the wrong subsidised energy source.”

There are no projects planned

The green energy boss said it was dishonest to hand over the responsibility for wind farms planning to local councils as there were no wind farms even in the planning stage.

“Secondly, it’s dishonest of the government to say they are changing the planning system to give local people the final say on wind farms. They are simply putting decisions about exceptionally large wind projects (over 50MW), which currently sit with government, into council hands.”

In fact, he said these wind farms are so exceptional that only five currently exist in England, a further three already have permission to be built, and there are none in planning.

“So the government have just given a say, but not final one, to local people, in zero new planning applications for onshore wind.  And projects of this size are so rare - it’s unlikely there will be any more coming forwards. It’s incredible to dress this up as giving new powers to local people - it’s a lie.”

Double standard

If the government is going to take this approach, it should have all energy projects decided at local level, Vince said.

“Putting aside the dishonesty of the announcement, this represents a glaring double standard. Planning regulations stipulate that all energy projects over 50MW are decided at national level – this applies to coal, oil, gas and nuclear – yet only wind will now to be decided by local councils - the most popular and least harmful of all sources of energy.

“If the Tories are serious about this one nation thing they cited today (they used to call it Localism) then they should apply it evenly across the board - give local people a say on all energy sources. But don’t call it the final say, since it isn’t.”

Fracking

“And then there’s fracking, probably the most unpopular of all energy sources, planning regulations and property law have been changed to make it easier, environmental standards have been dropped - even the requirement to tell someone you plan to frack under their house has been removed. There is no local say or veto here. 

“And it’s been promised the most generous tax regime in the world. These are double standards plain and simple and they show an incredible bias towards fossil fuels and away from renewables.”

Do you agree? Tweet @LondonlovesBiz with your thoughts.

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Readers' comments (4)

  • Dale, who is being dishonest here? Here's how it works in Scotland:

    1. Developer makes application for windfarm

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  • Another example of the so-called "free market" being distorted with massive public subsidies to the richest companies on earth.

    As for Amber Rudd's claim that "... we now have enough subsidised projects in the pipeline to meet our renewable energy commitments ...” - I'll believe that when I see it!

    The Tories exist for one purpose and one purpose alone - to shovel as much public money as possible into the pockets of a small group of private individuals.

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  • If that were so, the government would continue to subsudize wind farms, all of whichare privately owned. In fact, the government has realised, in face of moans from Grfeens, that turbines are a useless way of generating electricity, as the wind often fails to blow when needed, and expensive and carbon-emitting back-up is rquired.The only non-carbon-emitting currently available is nucleaqr, and anti-nuclear nutters have manged to prevent nuclear stations being built. Now the situation is becoming desperate. There are no 'renewables' capable of keeping the lights on without conventional power station, whether coal, gas or wood fired, other than nuclear.

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  • If that were so, the government would continue to subsidize wind farms, all of which are privately owned. In fact, the government has realised, in face of moans from Greens, that turbines are an inefficient way of generating electricity, as the wind often fails to blow when needed, and expensive and carbon-emitting back-up is required.The only non-carbon-emitting currently available is nuclear, and anti-nuclear nutters have managed to prevent nuclear stations being built. Now the situation is becoming desperate. There are no 'renewables' capable of keeping the lights on without conventional power station, whether coal, gas or wood fired, other than nuclear.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

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