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Orby wind plan ‘to cost public £25m’

A wind farm proposal in Orby would cost bill-payers £25million in government subsidies while meeting the energy requirements of just 5,450 homes, an ‘independent’ study has argued.

The Renewable Energy Foundation’s study also indicates that developer Mark Caudwell’s nine- turbine proposal would only produce one hundredth of one per cent of the total UK renewable energy target in 2020.

And to subsidise that fractional contribution towards the government targets, the foundation argues that bill-payers would have to pay an extra £212 on their bills each year, totalling £5,000 over the wind farm’s 25 year lifetime.

But Orby Marsh Windfarm developer Mr Caudwell has hit back at the suggestions – arguing that the foundation is an ‘anti-wind farm protest group’ and that much of what is says “cannot be trusted”.

Publishing their survey, planning director at the Renewable Energy Foundation Dr Lee Moroney believes the government’s current targets are unrealistic and hit poor people the hardest.

She said: “The subsidy is a very expensive way of abating carbon dioxide and is an unjust system which has a far harsher impact on those of low income than those who earn more.

“Consumers are being made to pay so the government can take an express route to reaching targets which are probably impossible to reach anyway.

“The government could find a more economically viable way of reducing carbon emissions by replacing coal power stations with gas ones, rather than subsidising wind power.”

Opponents of the Orby wind farm proposal believe this study confirms their view that the application’s perceived benefits are far outweighed by its negative impact.

Coun Colin Davie said: “This study shows that the discussion that is going on in the government about drastically cutting the subsidies for wind farms is absolutely the right discussion to be having.

“It is obscene that one development, which is only an intermittent generator of energy, which requires back-up supply from conventional gas and coal, could even be considered and it shows individual greed of the very worst kind.

“The people who are going to pay are those who are already struggling with their bills.

“It’s a scam and a rip-off to provide such an inconsequential carbon reduction that’s not going to stop climate change.”

Coun Davie said he would prefer to see the money invested in schemes championed by Lincolnshire County Council to provide low cost insulation in homes, which he believes would provide more ‘bang for your buck’.

But responding to the criticisms, Mr Caudwell, who had not yet seen the report, said: “In response to Colin Davie and the Renewable Energy Foundation, who are a national anti-wind farm protest group, much of what they say cannot be trusted.

“Opinion surveys regularly show over 80 per cent of the general public in favour of wind farms and more than 900 locals have signed a petition in favour of a wind farm at Orby.”