A South Yorkshire steel giant has voiced concerns at the Government’s drive towards wind power, The Star can reveal.
Corus bosses have told Sheffield Hillsborough MP Angela Smith they fear the increased use of wind turbines will result in a less reliable power supply for heavy industry.
Ms Smith, who has promised to pass the concerns on to the Government, said ministers should adopt a balanced mix of green energy sources and not just jump onto the “wind energy bandwagon”.
Opposition to wind energy in South Yorkshire has grown following plans to build five wind turbines almost as tall as Blackpool Tower at Sheephouse Heights, by the side of the Stocksbridge Bypass and near the Peak District National Park.
The turbines would be Britain’s biggest ever at 410ft high.
Opposition to the expansion of wind power has often focused on the impact of turbines on the surrounding countryside.
But Ms Smith has revealed concerns within the region’s manufacturing industry.
She said: “Corus Engineering Steels in my constituency are very worried about the reliability of wind energy.
“For a company like Corus it’s about the security of supply. Effectively you need a back-up of fossil fuels.”
CES employs around 700 workers at Stocksbridge in the manufacturing of precision components for the aerospace, car and specialist engineering industries.
Ms Smith said the company relies on stable electricity prices.
However, Business Secretary John Hutton last month warned a massive shift away from fossil fuels to green energy will lead to higher energy costs.
The plan requires £100 billion of new investment but would lead to five years of higher gas and electricity bills from about 2015, he said.
Under the green energy programme, more than a third of Britain’s electricity would be generated from wind power by 2020 by 3,500 onshore wind turbines and 7,000 offshore.
But Ms Smith has argued for a better mix of other sources including microgeneration, ground source heating, hydro power, tidal power and nuclear.
She is opposed to the Sheephouse Heights proposal and warned ministers they are “sleepwalking” into the destruction of much-loved beauty spots.
She said: “They would be overlooking two conservation areas.
“The two conservation areas need to be protected and that point, combined with the fact they will be on the edge of a national park, makes it a very difficult application to support.”
She added: “We have to think carefully about the total contribution we want it to make and about how far we are willing to go and understand perhaps there should be limits on locating them onshore.”
By Mark Hookham
17 July 2008
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