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Over-reliance on wind farms ‘will lead to power cuts’

Britain could face power cuts within four years because of Government plans to rely on wind turbines, a leading think tank will say today.

A report by the Adam Smith Institute and the Scientific Alliance says that wind farms cannot meet the need for energy, leading to “a crisis by the middle of this decade”.

It estimates that five turbines would have to be put up every day to generate the Government’s targeted amount of electricity from wind, which is championed by Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary.

Martin Livermore, a director of the Scientific Alliance, said turbines cannot be built quickly enough to replace Britain’s current coal and nuclear stations, which will mostly have closed by the end of the decade

“It’s a real lack of energy security,” he said. “The rather frightening comparison is with South Africa, where they didn’t build nearly enough power stations and they’ve had rolling blackouts for a number of years.

“Clearly, if we made a real effort to encourage energy efficiency, the situation might not be too bad – it doesn’t look too rosy at the moment.”

The report challenges the Government’s claims that generating energy from wind will be cheaper in the long run.

Its authors say the market is “rigged” to make burning fossil fuels more expensive because emitting carbon dioxide is taxed. However, a Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said the report “completely misses the point”.

“Our policies are aimed at developing a mix of energy sources here in the UK rather than relying so much on expensive fossil fuel imports, so we can keep the lights on and cut emissions as old power stations close,” he said.

“It would be madness to put all our eggs in one basket, ignore the UK’s huge renewables potential and just give away Britain’s share of the green energy revolution.”

Renewable energy companies also said the report did not look at all the evidence.

Dr Gordon Edge, director of policy at RenewableUK, the industry’s association, said it was “simply another example of the same little clique of people repeating the same tired old arguments against renewable energy, regardless of the facts”.

The report comes as the head of the National Trust said plans to install turbines along the coast of Britain were simply an expensive way of “giving rich people lots more money”. Simon Jenkins, the chairman of the charity, attacked the “lunacy” of the industry, which is meant to provide a third of Britain’s electricity by 2020.

“They are a very, very expensive way of giving rich people lots more money,” Mr Jenkins told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. “The west side of the British Isles will be covered in these machines if the planning goes ahead and it will be entirely at public expense.”