Sunday, February 05, 2012

'101 Tories revolt over wind farms' - Telegraph Today.

Lot of media coverage today of the letter sent to the Prime Minister asking for a reduction in the level of subsidy given to wind farm developers, and a rebalancing of planning rules in favour of those who oppose these monstrosities. 101 Conservatives have signed it, including the 3 Welsh Conservative MPs I share an office with, Guto Bebb, Alun Cairns and Simon Hart. This letter is only the latest step in the growing concern amongst MPs about what is becoming seen as a policy in drastic need of change.

Better give you some background to this letter. About two weeks ago, my colleague, Chris Heaton-Harris, Conservative MP for Daventry arranged an ad hoc meeting of Tory MPs. He and I were the 'top table' but Chris is very much the public face of this. He's extremely effective and respected (despite the fact that he's a soccer referee most weekends !) Mine is a support role. Almost 40 MPs turned up - more than we expected. It was agreed to write a letter to the Prime Minister outlining our concerns. Chris (and a few others) agreed to put the letter together, and last week it was placed before MPs asking for their support. 101 signing up was beyond anyone's wildest dreams. The scale of opposition and concern is even greater than we thought. A small number of Labour and Lib Dem MPs asked to sign up as well, though there has not been any real effort to take it cross party yet. That could well be the next step.

Some people have asked me why my name is not on the list. Problem for me is that I am a PPS, and we cannot vote against the Government, or sign petitions etc. that can be seen to oppose Gov't policy. Well, I can actually, but I would have to resign first. Chris discussed the position of PPSs with the Whip's Office, and it was agreed that I should write a personal letter to the Secretaries of State responsible for wind farms and planning, Chris Huhne and Eric Pickles. My letter was less 'general' and more related to my constituency, which it seems is acceptable. I sent my letters off last Wed, same day as multi signed letter was sent. Its not a secret letter, and I will post it on this blog as soon as I can (I just don't have a copy with me tonight).

The next step will be to build on the publicity attracted by the letter to the Prime Minister. I will not be at Westminster until late Tues, evening, but intend to discuss next steps with Chris H-H as soon as I can. From my perspective, we are making progress in saving our country from punishing the fuel poor, diminishing UK business competitiveness, undermining economic recovery, and ruining our landscapes.


Anonymous said...

I really don't understand the argument. Surely wind energy is clean, wind is free, it is part of a solution. It will bring jobs and manufacturing to our country and not make us reliant on overseas sources of energy. Finally the windfarms bring a certain charm and beauty to some landscapes.

Anonymous said...

You say you won't resign as PPS. Have you considered a suitable tunnels to be dug in your constituency to contain the cables, to save your resignation or further embarrassment ? You could call them Chesham and Amersham.

Michele said...

Dear anonymous number 1 (whoever you may be). You say that you don't understand the argument. Can I suggest that you do some research for yourself instead of swallowing the same old propoganda churned out by the wind turbine industry time after time.
The vast majority of turbines are imported from countries overseas whose own governments have already woken up to this madness and slashed the subsidies. The turbines are erected by construction teams from overseas, and only a few people are actually employed on site once the construction phase is complete. As for your contention that windfarms bring charm and beauty to some landscapes, hundreds of turbines (some 180 metres high) all over the uplands of Wales and 50 metre high pylons through all our valleys can hardly be considered charming and beautiful (unless that is you stand to financially gain from such an industrial construction programme).
Good luck with your research.

ken said...

Unfortunately the windfarm are made abroad, its been proven they dont create more jobs but by destroying the tourism industry they will in fact cause a loss of jobs - anonymous I dont know of many people who would find all the hills lined with windfarms and great big pylons walking down the valleys a way of adding to the beauty of the landscape.
To cap it all they are not our green energy solution as wind is unreliable and the turbines very inefficient. We need to be looking at micro generation in order to reduce our reliance on large power stations

mairede thomas said...

Because of the extraordinary situation on Anglesey I have started to look into the facts around wind energy, and onshore wind turbines in particular.

The facts make very uncomfortable reading for anyone who is supporting onshore wind.

Before I found the recently published Civitas report 'Electricity Costs: The folly of wind power', I had already come to the conclusion that the morass of subsidy and legislation was creating a fantastic opportunity for financial wizards in the City and elsewhere to exploit the system and make a fast and easy buck at our expense.

It is incontravertible that wind power is much less cost-effective than coal, and gas.

It is also unreliable and particularly at times when power requirements are greatest.

It is destructive of natural and semi-natural landscapes, and of wildlife, and it harms the health of people who live close-by turbines.

It also destroys tourism businesses and other businesses that utilise 'the great outdoors' experience.

But the worst thing about wind power is that it is unable to deliver any significant savings in CO2 emissions. Indeed some research suggests that virtually no savings have or can be made using wind power.

The whole dash for wind is a huge con perpetrated by those who are stealing our money.

Anonymous said...

i.m sure wind energy is clean while it's working efficiently, but each site requires a gas powered generating station when it's not. the disruption to local residents during the construction of these sites. the permanent overhead cabling, pylons, hub stations plus the vast sums of public money being paid to landowners to secure land for road straightening, etc. annual rental for land on which the turbines are placed. all makes the proposed plans rather counter productive. surely it would be better to encourage as many people as possible to install solar panels, thus using existing facilities, feeding excess supply into the national grid at the same time as saving public money. at the risk of sounding cynical, maybe the plan for wind farms will be extremely beneficial to a very few already well placed individuals.

It doesn't add up... said...

@ Anon 1:

The wind may be free, but the cost of tapping it is substantial. In order to persuade companies to invest in onshore windfarms, they have been guaranteed twice the price for their electricity as that obtained by gas and coal fired power - which also have to pay carbon taxes and other green levies. Offshore farms are subsidised to three times the price.

Then there is the cost of connecting the windmills to the power grid, which is again substantial since the sites are typically a long way from the areas of demand. Just as with traffic, this creates congestion on the existing network, which has to be bolstered to cope. Marching power lines are big users of concrete foundations which require considerable CO2 emissions.

Then there is the cost of providing backup power, since windmills don't operate when the wind doesn't blow or blows too hard - in fact, they only generate about 25% of the time. The on-off nature of windmills makes creates all manner of extra costs for other forms of generation, including the need to operate as "spinning reserve", ready to send power out at a moment's notice, wastefully consuming fuel until that power is called on.

WannabeConda said...

So apt for a Party that has a green tree logo.

Richard Mid Wales said...

I love it when people leave comments and not have the guts to say who they are. Anonymous is clearly employed by the wind industry. Well done Glyn and you really have the multinational companies rattled as they can see their massive subsidies sliding off the table. By the way all these Companies are overseas based or have their head office/tax location offshore. So much for helping the UK economy

OxOn said...

@anonymous 3
"..each site requires a gas powered generating station when it's not"

I've visited at least 3 sites and never seen a gas-fired power station there.

Yes wind power requires some back up, particularly on the rare occasions when the wind drops all round the UK at once but this does not mean that every wind farm needs a gas generator - that's what the grid is for.

When coal or nuclear power stations go offline due to problems and for repair, the grid copes because it backs them up, too, and that requires far more backup than a single (or several) wind farms.

Michele said...

@ OxOn

Of course you do not see gas fired power stations at windfarm sites, the gas powered stations are built near the mass populations which they are needed to supply power to.

Windfarms are usually very remote from the areas where the power is required, and these remote areas do not have the grid infrastructure to transmit the power.

Do you not realise that power is lost through transmission cables as heat. This is why the large energy producing power stations are built near to where they need to supply power to. It is a long way to transmit power from Llangurig, Carno, Cefn Coch, Llanerfyl, Dolfor, Llanbrynmair etc. to the Midlands and further South.

JohnJ said...

Hope for the future.

Turbine towers are being manufactured in Wales at,
Mabey Bridge Limited
NP16 5YL
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1291 623 801
Fax: +44 (0) 1291 625 453

We are always behind the curve in the UK . When 4x4 Tractors first began to become popular and make inroads into the UK they came from Eastern Europe i.e Russia,Romania,Belarus, e.t.c. We in the UK were so slow to catch up eventually Massey Ferguson e.t.c got their act together.

6th Feb 2012 UK junior energy minister Charles Hendry is to push for UK domestic firms to supply over half the material and equipment used to build future offshore wind farms.

Why on earth keep knocking our manufacturing base give them a chance.

Regarding power stations near source of need this is complete rubbish,Wylfa Anglesey, X Trawsfynydd, Gas power station Pembroke, and loads more,are they built where the population is?

Anonymous said...

Transmission losses are much lower when a variable voltage direct current transmission lines is used. Essentially the positive current travels through the wire and the negative balance through the earth. Technology has moved on, so the losses on DC to AC conversion is considerably less than heat losses by long distance AC transmission. This efficiency can be seen in the 2,000MW high voltage direct current (HVDC) link between the French and British transmission systems, under the sea from France to England. It is very efficient and utilisation has consistently exceeded 93% since 2006. The argument that the massive subsidy and the costs associated with wind energy transmission from Welsh wind farms to the South East of England, where it is consumed, is that of energy security. Of course, should a war break out between England and France or the Réseau de Transport d'Electricité would become void due to the exit of the UK from the European Union. There is am isolationist policy of the UK government as this can be seen from the decision to invest in Wylfa but not in Dungeness, both of which are identical 'end of use' nuclear power stations. It's more expensive to transmit from Wales, due to distance and capital investment but it's apparently better "energy security" to plough taxpayer subsidy into Welsh generated energy (wind or nuclear) than to trade with the French. Ironically, there's an MP in Montgomeryshire arguing for less transmission lines in his constituency while there's an MP in Folkestone arguing for more transmission lines in his constituency. I'm not a Conservative but I do know which is closest to London and the South East where it's consumed.

Pete said...

Thanks Glyn for not allowing my last post regarding the truth re. turbines producing for 80% of the time not the 25% as stated. I also asked for the evidence re. losing tourism due to windfarms. Don't forget to mention the massive cost regarding the decommisioning of Nuclear, paid for by the tax payer for decades.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not keen to see pylons in mid Wales but the constant mis-truths regarding wind turbines is getting anoying. Yes,like many others in mid Wales, I do work in the wind industry.

wildaboutwales said...

Pleased to hear you touch on the subject of ruined landscapes.
And yet you do nothing about bringing the water authority to boot on the pollution of the severn.

JohnJ said...

Its the, Tourists,Tourists,Tourists,Tourists, we need in Newtown, but they wont come because of the Turbines,Turbines,Turbines,Turbines,or the Pylons,Pylons,Pylons,Pylons as Pete says it is getting rather nausiating and annoying when the truth is not presented and I'm not in the wind Industry.
We as a family go to Devon nearly every year. It has hundreds of Pylons, and Devon has loads more Tourists than Mid-Wales. Even one Super-store has low Pylon cables over the store! And when it comes to motorway noise much greater than Turbine noise you see people camping in fields near it! Please can we have the truth instead of all this hysteria. Oh I nearly forgot the subsidies,The cost is just £10 per household per year, according to the independent regulator Ofgem. Gas hit a three-year high of 75p per therm in Britain on Friday [3 February 2012] as a result of the cold snap across Europe. We have to get off the fossil fuel hook to stop our energy bills escalating."
Have always voted for the Tories, but this latest fiasco regarding the "101" and the anti business agenda for a party that promotes business accumen is alarming and very disturbing.
Please see video. copy and paste. Thanks, Glyn.

Anonymous said...

The real loss of jobs comes from the increase in costs to all businesses and consumers as a result of the massive subsidies required to produce inefficient wind energy. These extra costs lower employment much more than the few companies who produce these follies increase it.

JohnJ said...

Very sorry that link I used does not seem to work.Hope this one does.Copy and paste into google

Its very sad.
Not trying to offend anyone but personally don't think the pylons or turbines will keep many Tourists away,but some of the slow moving traffic could be be a pain.

JohnJ said...

To those who mislead others regarding wind subsidies, the figures below make it more clear which type of energy is subsidised the most.

Below are some very interesting figures:
1 Renewable Obligation Certificate (ROC) = approx £45 in December 2011,the price varies.
1 ROC is given for every Megawatt generated by renewable sources. Megawatt = 1,000,000 watts.

So one ROC is costing 4.5p per kw/hr, Thursday 29 September 2011 15.10 BST; Article history ... Renewable electricity contributed an all time high of 9.6% of the UK's grid mix

So for the total cost 4.5p kw/hr x 9.6% = 0.432p

Onshore Wind receives 1 ROC. Reducing to 0.9
Offshore Wind receives 2 ROCs.reducing to 1.9
Tidal and wave energy will receive 5 ROCs projects up to 30 MW from April 1, 2013.

So on Thursday 29 September 2011 it cost the British Electricty Consumer 0.432p per kw/hr (less than half a penny per kw/hr)

If we look to 2013 Tidal or wave electricity, the cost will be 0.432p x 5 = 2.16pence per kw/hr.