Pen y Cymoedd, the largest wind farm in England and Wales, cannot power blast furnaces in Port Talbot or production at Shotton. Developer Vattenfall admits the wind doesn’t always blow.
The billions of pounds spent subsidising wind farms just escalates electricity prices, while carbon taxes levied on coal mean energy costs are crippling the Welsh steel industry. Steel producers in China and the US are not burdened in this way and Germany has evaded EU CO² laws, giving €9bn in subsidy to industry.
Green levies have effectively curtailed investment in reliable UK power stations. Instead we are building unreliable power generators that are incapable of meeting peak demand.
National Grid has been forced to pay businesses to stop using network power at critical times. On windless days, when National Grid has insufficient power, large power users turn to diesel generators or shut down power-hungry operations.
None of this is a model for “sustainable” manufacturing, yet Welsh Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru want more wind turbines. Local communities don’t, but they won’t have a say if wind and solar farms get permitted developments rights.
Plaid Cymru AM Alun Ffred Jones concluded the Assembly debate on March 16 saying, “We do have to prioritise local and community renewable energy projects, and those projects should be given permitted development rights. That could mean that we channel funding towards hydro, biomass, solar and wind energy projects in future, rather than major energy projects, although they, of course, will play a role.”
Labour has prepared the ground in The Environment (Wales) Act. Carl Sargeant excluded “landscape” from our natural resources so that wind turbines could be developed unhindered.
Menai Bridge, Anglesey
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