Building wind farms in England is pointless because it isn’t windy enough, the boss of Britain’s biggest wind power firm has said.
Keith Anderson, chief executive of Scottish Power, which supplies gas and electricity to nearly five million homes, said he will put up more turbines – but only in Scotland and Wales.
He told The Mail on Sunday that although he believes the future of the UK’s electricity will come from wind, there is not enough wind or suitable land in England to make any new project financially viable.
Scotland, by contrast, has ‘the best wind in Northern Europe’, Anderson said – making it his preferred destination as his company ploughs £1.7 billion into the technology this year.
His decision is expected to be welcomed by campaigners in England, who have called the 280ft turbines an eyesore and have lobbied the Government against new wind farms.
The boss of Scottish Power – the UK’s leading wind power generator with 40 sites creating enough electricity to supply 1.7 million homes – said: ‘There are very few high wind-speed sites in England and certainly not of large scale.
‘It’s not just the controls in the planning system [in England], but economically, it’s unlikely to look attractive because the wind speeds and the price don’t make economic sense.’
Scottish Power, which generates, distributes and supplies energy, last year sold its last remaining fossil fuel power stations for £700 million, becoming the first energy business to rely only on wind farms to generate electricity.
Anderson said the move was to ensure the UK can generate its own power and not have to rely on imports to keep the lights on.
In 2015, David Cameron pledged in the Conservative manifesto that onshore wind farms would not be allowed to bid for a multi-million-pound pot of subsidies set aside for energy firms.
Local planning laws were also tightened in England to make it harder for new wind farms to be built.
However, campaigners had feared the rules could be loosened after the Government was said to be reviewing them as the cost of electricity production by wind fell. But Anderson said even if the rules were relaxed, he would still not want to build Scottish Power turbines in England.
He said: ‘Our view is future development comes from Scotland… and to a lesser extent Wales.’
In 2018, wind accounted for 17 per cent of energy generation in the UK and was the biggest contributor to electricity on the grid on several days.
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