Engineering news

MPs set to axe onshore wind subsidy

PE

onshore wind turbine
onshore wind turbine

Tory opponent says supporting technology is 'bad deal' for taxpayers

Tory MPs have voted to support a Bill to scrap taxpayers' subsidy for onshore wind turbines.

Backers of Tory MP Nigel Adams' 10 minute rule motion for the Onshore Wind Turbine Subsidies (Abolition) Bill staged a division – with MPs shouting aye or no - to demonstrate support for the proposal when speaker John Bercow called it to a vote. However, they narrowly won the resulting division with just two votes - 59 to 57.

The Conservative Party has already vowed to scrap subsidies for onshore wind turbines if they are re-elected in May's general election.

Moving his motion, Selby and Ainsty MP Adams said: "I am not against all renewable energy subsidies but we should be supporting technologies that are actually effective in producing power when we need it and not just when the wind blows.

"There are technologies that get a relatively poor deal from the subsidy market and when you look at the efficiency data for onshore wind you can see why wind is a bad deal for taxpayers.

"Onshore wind farms are dependent on the wind blowing at the right speed in order to reach maximum output. Because wind speed is variable so too is the output of Britain's onshore windfarms - as a result they are not able to respond to spikes in demand, in contrast to other forms of low carbon generation such as biomass conversion projects.

"Onshore windfarms generate below 20% of their stated maximum output for 20 weeks of the year and generate below 10% for nine weeks of the year.

"On average wind farms only exceed 90% of their rated output for 17 hours a year. This is about as much use as a chocolate fireguard."

Adams said a million pounds a week was spent last year on so-called "constraint payments" to turbine operators for them not to generate power, claiming that even if this created jobs, those jobs cost the taxpayer £154,000 each.

The MP added: "The cost is added to all energy bills, meaning besides households, industry and employers also pay, adding to the cost of all our goods and services.

"If wind power really is the cheapest form of renewable energy, as its supporters claim, then it should now be able to stand on its own feet without using any more taxpayers' money and increasing our bills."

 

Share:

Read more related articles

PE Magazine

Current Issue: November 2017

Cover_NOV
  • Smart cities: Blade Runner or utopia?
  • The artist-engineer
  • Journey to the future
  • Rebuilding hope at Grenfell school
  • Traffic unjammed

View all

PE app

  • Industry features and content
  • Engineering and Institution news
  • News and features exclusive to app users

Download the PE app

PE newsletter

A weekly round-up of the most popular and topical stories featured on our website, so you won't miss anything

Subscribe to the PE newsletter

Opt into your industry sector newsletter

Related articles