By Harry Phibbs
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The Sunday Telegraph this morning has some astonishing figures on the extent of the subsidies spent on the hideous wind farms despoiling the British countryside:
A new analysis of government and industry figures shows that wind turbine owners received £1.2billion in the form of a consumer subsidy, paid by a supplement on electricity bills last year. They employed 12,000 people, to produce an effective £100,000 subsidy on each job.
In Scotland, which has 203 onshore wind farms — more than anywhere else in the UK — just 2,235 people are directly employed to work on them despite an annual subsidy of £344million. That works out at £154,000 per job.
Donald Trump has warned the Scottish Parliament about the loss of tourism and danger to wild life of proceeding with wind farms. As well as the more fundamental point that they are pathetically inefficient at producing energy – which is why other countries such as Spain and Germany are giving up on them. If subsidy is regarded as justified to provide low carbon energy then nuclear power is much more realistic. Better still, of course, is shale gas which can reduce carbon emissions while making a profit.
According to the Renewable Energy Foundation wind subsidies costs the average UK household £47 a year.
Eric Pickles has thankfully strengthened localism in the planning process to make objections to wind farms easier. But a more fundamental review is needed. The whole scam of subsidised wind farms makes no sense to anyone who isn't paid to lobby for them – or the Liberal Democrats.
If the absurdity is being continued at the insistence of the Lib Dems, then at least let's make this clear. Or if it is felt to be required by the EU, again let us at least make this clear.
I hope a majority Conservative Government will pursue a more effective policy. It is difficult to envisage a less effective policy than wind farms.