Douglas Carswell

21 JAN 2015

The case for wind is running out of puff

A Ten Minute Rule Bill to outlaw public subsidies for wind farms has just been voted through the House of Commons. It squeezed through with 59 MPs in favour, and 57 against, the support of UKIP's two MPs proving decisive.

This wasn't just a victory for UKIP in the Commons. It was a defeat for the subsdised scam otherwise known as the wind energy industry.

Generating electricity from wind is an inherently costly thing to do. Unlike solar energy, which thanks to technology is becoming vastly more efficient, wind is - and will remain – a far more costly way of producing power than the alternatives.

Nor is it reliable. The other day, as Allister Heath points out, as UK electicity demand hit 52.54 gigawatts (GW), wind contributed just 0.573GW. That is to say about 1pc of the total. It was left to good old gas and coal to contribute the lion's share of 71 percent.

If wind is not an effective way to generate electricity, why have so many wind turbines been built? Because of the subsidy. Billions of pounds have been deliberately diverted away from more efficient ways of generating energy into wind farms.

Why did politicians and experts decide to plough so much into such a duff way of generating power? Partly it is because they failed to foresee technological change. Policy makers plumped for wind because they assumed that oil and gas would become more expensive. They failed to see the shale gas revolution coming.

At the same time, UK policy makers subscribed to the whole renewable energy shtick. Wind, they persuaded each other, had to be the answer in order for us to meet our renewable energy targets.

This has been a disastrous way of deciding energy policy. We need to scrap the renewable targets. Allow capital and technology to find innovative ways to generate energy. And scrap those subsidies.

Today was a step towards that.

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