JAMES Abbott (Letters, May 20) he claims that wind energy offers a real answer to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and expensive imported fuels. I would like to point our that, because wind is both intermittent and unpredictable, it is essential th
JAMES Abbott (Letters, May 20) he claims that wind energy offers a real answer to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and expensive imported fuels.
I would like to point our that, because wind is both intermittent and unpredictable, it is essential that there is back-up from thermal power stations if there are not to be power cuts when there is not 'the right sort of wind'.
Savings in carbon dioxide emissions are significantly reduced when the inefficient running of these power stations on standby is taken into account, so increased reliance on wind energy will not greatly reduce our need for expensive imports.
He asked why we are not training people to exploit the wind industry, but it is not quite true that we are not doing so. A new Wind Energy Systems Centre for doctoral training, funded from a £250million initiative of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council is being set up and will open its doors this autumn.
Apparently, the Green Party believes that the Government has not been totally behind wind power, whereas I believe that for decades wind energy has absorbed the greatest proportion of funding allocated to renewable energy projects, putting truly dependable sources such as tidal and wave power at a serious disadvantage. The Government decided to favour wind energy without any public debate or consideration of its cost to health or our natural environment.
The Government compels power companies to buy all wind-generated electricity from developers and there are massive subsidies, ultimately paid by consumers. Before the most recent increase, subsidising wind factories added £12 to a typical annual domestic power bill, but this amount is set to surge as more schemes are built.
At the same time, this artificial market allows personal fortunes to be amassed. A national newspaper recently reported that "there's big money to be made - particularly if you're Nigel Doughty, the venture capitalist, who donated £250,000 to Labour in the run-up to the 2005 general election. His investment company owns LMGlasfiber, the world's biggest wind turbine manufacturer, and has won many major contracts in Britain."
And, just last month, the Government decided to boost by an extra £525 million the subsidies for offshore wind generation. The Chancellor made the announcement and, of course, increasing the amount we are to be charged for our electricity also means an increase in the amount of VAT we pay.
I am a gardener. I walk a lot and use public transport, recycle and would like to see more jobs in so-called green industries, but I agree that inefficient sources such as wind in the UK should be abandoned.