Windfarm campaigners today called for a re-think over plans to expand the UK’s turbine network after it was revealed domestic energy bills are helping prop up every job in the sector, effectively costing £100,000 a year in subsidies.
Wind turbine owners received £1.2 billion in consumer subsidies last year. Supporting 12,000 jobs, the subsidy – paid by a supplement on electricity bills – equates to around £100,000 per post.
The figure is yet another blow to the beleaguered wind industry, which already faces fierce opposition from residents in coastal areas ripe for hosting the technology.
Campaigners in Shropshire and Mid Wales, who are currently fighting a public inquiry over plans to build five windfarms and a connection line in Powys, described the figures today as “shocking”.
Jonathan Wilkinson, chairman of Montgomeryshire Against Pylons, said: “This figure is bad enough as it is and I have heard it could be even more than £100,000 in reality, but the bigger problem again is that windfarms cost other jobs.
“Certainly in this area, the impact of windfarms on the tourism industry would be massive and so as well as everyone subsidising these jobs, people are also losing their locally.
“How do you begin to even contemplate the affect these proposals will have?”
The inquiry, which could last nine months and is taking place in Welshpool, is into plans for proposed windfarms in Llanbadarn Fynydd, near Llandrindod Wells; Llaithddu, near Newtown; Llandinam, near Llanidloes; Llanbrynmair, near Machynlleth; Carnedd Wen, near Machynlleth; with a 132kV overhead electric line connection from a Llandinam wind farm to the Welshpool substation.
The inquiry was triggered when Powys County Council refused to support their construction.
Meanwhile people in Newnes, near Ellesmere, have been campaigning against plans for a 246ft high turbine. It is one of a number of schemes planned across the region.
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