Britain needs more windfarms to help power the electric cars of the future, David Cameron has said.
The Prime Minister defended the Government’s renewable energy policy by suggesting that the country needed more wind farms to create electricity to power electric vehicles, which will replace petrol powered cars.
The Government’s policy over windfarms suffered a jolt last week after a Conservative energy minister admitted that many people had had “enough” of large wind farms being sited near rural communities.
Speaking to students in the United Arab Emirates, Mr Cameron justified the Coalition’s policy – which is deeply unpopular among some Tory backbenchers – by insisting that the UK needed more capacity to power people’s cars as electric vehicles replaced petrol powered ones in the future.
He said: “All countries have to understand that as we move to electric vehicles from petrol vehicles we are going to see a big increase in electricity demand.
“So if we want to meet targets for reducing carbon emissions and recognize that electricity demand grows we must try to meet more of that demand from nuclear or renewable sources or where necessary gas.”
Electric cars typically cost a third more than cars powered by conventional combustion engines. Last year the Coalition introduced a plug-in car grant, worth millions, to try to boost sales and increase their popularity.
Mr Cameron referred in his remarks only to “offshore wind farms” which is likely to be interpreted as offering backing for Energy Minister John Hayes, who signaled that he was more in favour of offshore rather than on-shore wind farms.
He told the students: “We have the largest amount of renewable energy in Europe in terms of tidal power and offshore wind power, and are enhancing that with a system of subsidies which will build offshore wind and wave energy projects. Our vision is one where there is a balanced energy policy – some nuclear, some renewables and then also gas.”
Mr Hayes said in the interview: “We can no longer have wind turbines imposed on communities. I can’t single handedly build a new Jerusalem but I can protect our green and pleasant land.”
When the remarks were first reported last week, there were claims that they could alarm major renewable energy investors.
Mr Cameron will today meet with representatives from the UAE’s $625billion sovereign wealth fund which has invested in a £1.7billion offshore windfarm, with 151 turbines, which started generating on 29 October, in a move which will be interpreted as cementing Britain’s commitment to renewable energy sources.
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