Environment Secretary David Miliband has paved the way for a new generation of giant wind turbines to be built at schools, hospitals and other public sites.In his keynote speech to Labour’s annual conference, Mr Miliband announced £10 million funding to encourage the construction of hundreds of new wind turbines on publicly-owned land, including sites owned by the Ministry of Defence.
No details of the planned sites was available, but they are certain to include locations in the Westcountry, which is viewed by renewable energy experts as having some of the best wind resources in the country.
Anti-windfarm campaigners reacted with dismay. The Renewable Energy Foundation, which has opposed several windfarm projects across the Westcountry on the grounds that they are inefficient and unsightly, urged the Government to focus on other forms of renewable generation.
Spokesman Tom Constable said: “We hope the programme recognises that wind is not always the best, most suitable renewable energy for a particular location. We very much hope this initiative is not going to adopt a crude, one-size-fits-all attitude.”
Mr Miliband said the initiative aimed to attract up to £500 million of private money to fund the construction of projects generating 500 megawatts of renewable energy, mainly from windfarms. He said the energy generated would be enough to supply all the homes in Exeter, Norwich, Newcastle and Oxford combined.
The Carbon Trust, which will oversee the initiative, said it would involve dozens of “smaller” projects, typically comprising a couple of 1-2 megawatt turbines, each standing up to 300 feet high.
Mr Miliband mocked campaigners who oppose the construction of windfarms, saying it demonstrated that they were not serious about “green living” and tackling climate change.
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