Tory backwoodsmen attack on renewables is potty

If one wanted a clear example (out of many) where ideology trumps common-sense in Cameron’s Tory party, you couldn’t do better than their latest knee-jerk reaction against onshore wind turbines.   They are a significant and fast-growing source of electricity in the UK and by far the cheapest source available to provide the low-carbon energy to meet Britain’s mandatory target of 15% of all energy consumption to come from renewables by 2015.   Cameron appears to be floating the idea of including in the 2015 Tory manifesto either a cap on onshore turbines’ output or lower subsidies to make it harder or even impossible to operate them or tighter planning restrictions to prevent them being built.   This crackers.   To meet the legally binding target it would then be necessary to build more offshore windfarms or more nuclear power stations, both of which are far more expensive.   Electricity from offshore turbines costs over 60% more than that produced by onshore turbines, whilst the new nuclear station at Hinckley Point C (if it is ever built at a cost of £14bn) is expected to produce electricity at twice the current price.   Is Cameron mad or simply the cat’s-paw of his more wacky backbenchers? 

So what are the arguments of the Tory energy dinosaurs?   First, they say that the subsidies given to onshore windfarms make them too expensive.   In fact, households paid £9 in 2013 for this purpose, which is just 0.7% of the average dual-fuel bill, and polling shows subsidies at this low level have majority support.   Moreover green energy receives far lower subsidies than the nuclear or oil and gas industries received in their early stages of development.

Second, a lot of bigwigs in the Tory party complain that wind turbines disturb the view across their estates.   Did they similarly object to electricity pylons?   And are they aware that several of their kindred have claimed hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money for the privilege of being able to site turbines on their land?   Some people, including in most cases me, believe that turbines have a certain elegance about them provided they are sensitively placed.   Reaching agreement on this requires local communities to be properly and genuinely consulted about proposed locations till a reasonable consensus can be reached.   Better still, the turbines should be owned by local communities as in Germany, not by large and deeply unpopular energy companies or by the landowners on whose land they are built.

Cameron’s policy instead of winding down the current green levies – “cutting the green crap” in his own words – which fund the energy saving and low-cost renewables  that will more than anything else lower household energy costs in the long term, is frankly barmy.   Cutting off your nose to spite your face, even for blatantly short-term electoral reasons or to keep his out-of-control backwoodsmen quiet, was never a good policy for people in trouble, least of all for prime ministers.

4 thoughts on “Tory backwoodsmen attack on renewables is potty

  1. No I have say that for once I agree with Torey’s.

    I’ve reviewed the science, (particularly some of those infamous statical models,) that is supposed to underpin these policies and I find it unpersuasive; at best the court is still out on this and certainly the confidence with which these predictions are being made on the basis of insufficient data and flawed models and questionable science seems premature if not simply wrong.

    So if the science remains entirely unproven, (which it is,) any polices based on conclusions arising from must equally remain open to question.

    Particularly with amount of commercial lobbying and behalf of the almost entirely taxpayer financed commercial climate industry going on.

    The way this theory, (speculation,) has been adopted as an article of faith, particularly by the left is muddying the waters.

    Sadly this has become a political and commercial issue,some would argue even a almost religious one and not a scientific one and rigor, objectivity and weight of evidence based proof have all been driven from the discussion which becomes ever more hysterical and strident by the day.

    On several occasions recently I have invited anyone who accepts, “climate science,” to state the scientific case for this theory in a clear, brief and comprehensible manner.

    I have yet to get any sensible response.


    For anyone interesting this an informative article that I read recently which illustrates some of problems:

    “Forecasts of summer Arctic ice in recent years have registered some lukewarm results at a time when the demand for accurate projections is increasing, according to a new study led by a Boulder researchers.”

    “Stroeve and colleagues at the University of New Hampshire and University of Washington found that in years when the sea ice extent departed strongly from the trend, such as in 2012 and 2013, predictions on September sea ice extent failed, regardless of the forecast method utilized.”

    This seems pretty typical.

    I’m not saying that case for man caused climate change is necessarily completely wrong, but it’s certainly very far from being scientifically proven and predictions based on it are as wrong as often as they’re right.

    But then even a stopped clock is still right twice a day.

  2. well Germany seems to be going its on sweet way opened up new coal pits for their fuel for suppling gas while Britain closes its coal fired power stations down yet cams is off on one about green power if it cost them then theyl never like it up em jeff3

  3. an attack on windfarms could be a vote winner in some rural communities. don’t underestimate the low cunning of the tory party.

  4. If some Tory bigwigs are concerned about their view being spoilt by wind turbines, wait until they get a fracking rig at the bottom of their garden. In the USA the abundance of gas obtained by fracking has led to a reduction of subsidies for wind power leading to companies pulling out of renewables.

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