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"Onshore wind is the future, and it works" - Chris Huhne

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 23 February 2011 at 11:32 am

Chris Huhne expressed his strong support for onshore wind at yesterday's launch for the repowering of Good Energy's Delabole wind farm:

"I wish our fellow country people were more open-minded about onshore wind. It is the most competitive of renewable technologies, on a base with nuclear. And at anything over $100 a barrel for oil the strategy of low carbon means will save money [oil is currently at $104 a barrel]. It is the future of low cost electricity compared with the alternative of relying on oil. Officially, not only is it the future, but it works."

This wasn't the only interesting thing the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change said:

On the feed-in tariff review

"We have not pulled the plug on large scale solar, we are looking at the levels of subsidy again. We are determined that renewable energy grows in a steady and sustainable way."

[He said the government taken by surprise with the speed that large scale projects came through – they weren’t expected to get off the ground so fast.]

"Any one who wants to do solar PV at scale will be annoyed, and I quite understand that. The key point is that if people want to do solar PV at scale on the same subsidies which were designed for small solar, we need to be careful as the comparison will not be with small solar, but with onshore wind. In that comparison onshore wind looks much more economic.

"I’m technology agnostic I don’t want to play god with one technology over another. My main interest is to make sure the British consumer of electricity wherever he or she may be, is going to get secure, clean, green electricity, and that we get off the oil price hook, and that they can get it for generations to come. That means I’ve got to look out for costs. I am not in the business for writing blank cheques to anybody, because this is real money that’s got to come out of consumers' pockets, it’s got to come out of taxpayers pockets.

"What I do want to see is the whole industry develop in a sustainable manner and not go through boom and bust, and I can tell you that if we’d not had a review of large scale solar, we’d have had a massive boom and bust, and in a year’s time you’d have had no business left at all."


On community schemes

"I am very much in favour of community schemes – I see that as part of the way forward. The big conundrum for on shore wind is that this is the cheapest, most economical, most competitive form of renewable energy, yet it is the one that often runs up against the most resistance in local  communities. That’s because I think we’re not doing enough to get buy-in, and getting people to understand that they’ve got a real benefit from wind schemes. The more we do that, the easier it’s going to be to get public perceptions for what might be extremely friendly and acceptable form of renewable energy."

Photo: Chris Huhne, secretary of state for energy and climate change and Juliet Davenport, founder and CEO of Good Energy


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