Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies said that onshore wind power is not suitable for the country.
His comments came in response to the industry’s trade body admitting that England is not windy enough to sustain any more onshore wind turbines.
Hugh McNeal, the head of RenewableUK, said that while there was a case for more onshore windfarms to be built elsewhere, wind speeds in England meant new plants were economically unviable without a subsidy.
Mr McNeal said new windfarms in England would not be able to compete with the price of power produced from gas. Some gas plants are eligible for government subsidies.
He said: “We are almost certainly not talking about the possibility of new (onshore) plants in England. The project economics wouldn’t work; the wind speeds don’t allow for it.
“If plants can be built in places where people don’t object to them and if, as a result of that, over their whole lifetime the net impact on consumers against the alternatives is beneficial, I need to persuade people we should be doing that.”
But Mr Davies said: “I’ve always argued that is not windy enough to sustain windfarms in England, Wales or indeed the whole of Great Britain.
“Wind energy has been heavily subsidised and that has now stopped. Windfarms are just not viable. However, the wind lobby is not giving up and appears to want to attain subsidies and some sort of payment through another route because onshore wind is less expensive than gas.
“But this doesn’t take into account the impact on the landscape and the fact that there is no alternative energy produced when the wind isn’t blowing.“There are also horrendous costs involved in the infrastructure. Wind power represents a poor investment for energy delivery in Britain – it is defunct and long may it stay in the doldrums.”
Mr Davies said there is enough gas available to meet Britain’s energy needs for the next 30 years. “We need to move the gas industry forward so that we can move off coal and reduce carbon emissions,” he said. “According to all the projections I see, gas is crucial if we don’t want our lights to go out.”
Former Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, North Shropshire MP, has called onshore wind “a failed medieval technology which during the coldest day of the year so far produced only 0.75 per cent of the electricity load”.
Windfarms granted planning permission before the government changed its policy on subsidies will see onshore wind capacity double as part of ministers’ commitment to produce 15 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.
Of the 5,300 onshore wind turbines in operation across the UK, about 1,200 are in England. The cost to UK taxpayers has been more than £800m a year in subsidies, equivalent to an extra £10 a year on an annual domestic energy bill.
Powys Wind Farm supporters say April was the first month in the UK’s history in which wind provided more of our power than coal. In April 2016, wind generated 2,290 gigawatt hours (GWh) in the UK, while coal generated 1,755GWh, according to official National Grid statistics.
The Government has said that in future our electricity needs to come from nuclear, gas and renewables.
Onshore windfarms currently produce about 60 per cent of the UK’s wind power output. Although they are set to remain the predominant form of renewable energy in the next few years despite opposition in Westminster – which has stopped subsidies and given the final say on whether a project should go ahead to local residents – supporters of green energy say the country is missing a chance to maximise their potential.
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