THE UK Government must end its “completely bonkers” ban on public funding
for onshore wind developments, a Big Six energy boss has demanded.
Keith Anderson, chief executive of Scottish Power, attacked the
Conservative government’s “bizarre” funding model which supports fossil
fuels but will not fund onshore wind, at a time when the price of wind
power is plummeting and carbon emissions are rising.
The UK Government ended onshore wind subsidies in 2014 after former prime
minister David Cameron insisted the public were “frankly fed up with so
many wind farms being built”.
However, the UK Government’s own energy public attitudes tracker reported
last month that more than three quarters of the British public now support
onshore wind developments.
In a speech at the All Energy Conference in Glasgow, Mr Anderson said:
“Politicians have been known to say that ‘they have had enough of listening
to experts’ – but they have never, ever said that they have had enough of
listening to the public.
“Onshore wind should be at the heart of our industrial strategy and
“I can’t quite get my head round the fact that I am here again having to
make the case to build more onshore wind in 2018.”
With rising tensions between the UK and Russia which supplies 40 percent
of Europe’s gas nearly three quarters of the public said they are
concerned about energy security.
Mr Anderson said Scotland has “endless supplies of wind and no reliance on
Two thirds of those surveyed said they would be happy to have a large-scale
renewable energy development in their local area, and a similar proportion
said the UK is not investing in renewable energy fast enough.
Mr Anderson added: “Back in 2014 we were told that people were ‘fed up’ of
onshore wind – well it wasn’t true then and it’s certainly not true In
April 2018 – more than three quarters of the public support onshore wind.
“The fact you can still get support for a diesel generator or keeping your
old and dirty coal plant open.
“But bizarrely for a low cost, efficient, job creating, quick to build,
green energy onshore wind turbine that the public loves – you get nothing.
It is completely bonkers.”
There were signs that Tory attitudes to onshore wind were softening at the
last party conference, with UK energy ministers Richard Harrington and
Claire Perry indicating a possible return to onshore wind subsidies.
Ms Perry also addressed the All Energy Conference in Glasgow yesterday, and
insisted her party are “absolutely not against onshore wind”.
However, any return to offshore wind subsidies is likely to meet with
resistance from the Scottish Conservatives, who returned their largest
number of MPs in recent years on a pledge to resist onshore wind.
The Scottish Conservatives’ 2017 manifesto stated: “While we do not believe
that more large-scale onshore wind power is right for England, we will
maintain our position as a global leader in offshore wind and support the
development of wind projects in the remote islands of Scotland, where they
will directly benefit local communities.”
Meanwhile, citing a “talent crisis” in the UK energy industry at the
conference, Lindsay McQuade, chief executive of ScottishPower Renewables,
said: “Our renewables business has a better starting position than others
in the engineering sector with women making up 28% of our people.
“But renewable energy has to inspire women with a varied range of careers
beyond the core of engineering. Don’t get me wrong, we need electrical,
mechanical and civil engineers but our team also reeds ecologists, lawyers,
economists, community champions, marine biologists and planners.”