A West peer yesterday hit out at the Government’s plans to create thousands of “monstrous” wind turbines across the country, all well over twice the size of Nelson’s Column.
Lord Stoddart of Swindon claimed the towering turbines would be an ugly scar in both the countryside or in shallow waters off the coast while being nowhere near sufficient to cater for the nation’s energy requirements.
The 82-year-old Independent Labour peer said: “It is not widely realised that the Government’s new proposals for the installation of 5,000 wind turbines in Britain requires them to be 400 ft high.”
This, said the former MP for Swindon, would more than double the usual 150ft that most existing turbines reach.
At the same time, they would dwarf Nelson’s Column which, including the statue of Britain’s greatest admiral, towers 169ft above Trafalgar Square.
Lord Stoddard went on: “These giant turbines are considered by many to be ‘clean power’ but wind turbine enthusiasts seldom take into account the hundreds of miles of roads that will have to be built to create transport links to these machines.
“Then there are the electricity sub-stations and miles of power lines and pylons that will be needed to connect these monstrosities to the Grid.”
The Stoddart, who was Labour MP for Swindon’s from 1970 to 1983, recently raised his objections to the wind turbine plan in the House of Lords when he asked whether the Government had had any discussions with the National Grid about its policy of building thousands of wind turbines.
He told the House: “Is not the National Grid concerned about the connection of these wind turbines and will it not require additional conventional capacity to be built to cover the time when the wind is not turning them?”
Responding for the Government, Baroness Vadera, Under-Secretary at Department for Business and Enterprise, said Lord Stoddart had made a valid point.
She said: “Wind generation is intermittent and therefore needs – may I use a technical term? – base-load capacity, which means we need to build for coal and gas to back up the wind.
“That is why it is not the most effective source in terms of energy security of supply, but it is very effective for climate change.”
Yesterday Lord Stoddart said: “In other words, even the Government admits that not only is wind power grossly inefficient but we also need to build more coal and gas fired power stations to support all these new turbines when there is no wind.
“I hardly think that our grandchildren will thank us for tearing up vast swathes of our most picturesque countryside to install highly inefficient wind turbines that contribute a tiny fraction of our energy needs.”
The row was sparked by the Government’s commitment to create more green energy over the coming years with the creation of thousands of wind turbines, both in the countryside and off-shore.
The Government has set itself ambitious targets of 15 per cent of all energy coming from renewable sources by 2020. The figure at present is around 1.5 per cent, so the plan requires a huge increase in green energy plants.
26 July 2008
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