Number of British Wind Turbines Set to Double, Costing Taxpayers Billions in Subsidies

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

The number of wind turbines in Britain is set to double, contrary to assurances from the government that they are putting the brakes on the wind farm industry.

According to recent figures from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), Britain currently has more than 6,200 turbines spinning on and around the country, but a further 600 are already under construction, and more than 4,100 have been given the go ahead. Applications have been lodged for a further 3,200.

In April, Energy secretary Amber Rudd announced the early closure of the subsidy scheme for onshore wind, saying there was already enough provision in the pipeline to meet Britain’s target of generating 12GW of electricity from onshore wind by 2020.

Her actions as minister came as no surprise – The Conservative Party had promised the early closure of the scheme in the run up to the election; last December Prime Minister David Cameron told a panel of MPs: “the public are frankly fed up with so many wind farms being built.

“We don’t need to have more of these subsidised onshore, so let’s get rid of the subsidy, put them into the planning system and if they can make their case, they will make their case. I suspect that they won’t and that we will have a reasonable amount of onshore wind. We will have safer electricity supplies as a result, but enough is enough. I am very clear about that.”

However, Mrs Rudd has failed to spell out what reaching 12GW of wind generated power will look like. Far from an end to unpopular new turbines, chasing the target will mean more than 2,000 new wind turbines built across the UK, in addition to the 4,800 already in place.

As of July this year, 2,564 turbines had been given the go ahead, and construction had already started on 558.

Offshore the picture is even more dramatic. Analysis of the latest figures by Breitbart London reveals that the number of offshore turbines is set to double. As of the end of June, 1,452 turbines peppered British seas, and 47 more were already under construction. But planning permission has been granted for a further 2,117, while permission had been denied for just 108 turbines.

In response to a Freedom of Information request lodged by Breitbart London, DECC said that they couldn’t provide estimates for how much in subsidies these extra turbines would cost because “the Government does not earmark budget for any specific technology. Instead, the Government wishes to develop a mixture of renewable energy technologies”.

However, the Renewable Energy Foundation has been kind enough to give us estimations of the costs. They have calculated that, for onshore capacity, based on a subsidy of about £40 per MWh, the subsidies will cost taxpayers an extra £600 million a year.

The figure for offshore wind, which is much more expensive, is startling. The REF estimates the cost of new offshore turbines to hit the taxpayer’s pocket to the tune of £3.5 billion a year in subsidy, based on a price estimate of £80 to £90 per MWh.

Roger Helmer MEP, Ukip’s energy spokesman told Breitbart London: “We had hoped the Government had become a little more rational concerning wind turbines and planning applications. Apparently not.

“This is throwing good money after bad yet again. Onshore wind farms are unaffordable and offshore wind farms doubly unaffordable!”

According to Dr Jon Constable, director of the REF, the cost is not only huge, it’s also unjustified as, if all the schemes which have been granted consent are built, the Government will overshoot its renewable energy generation target by 34 percent.

This represents “an overspend beyond the Levy Control Framework [the budgeted spend], at about £1.5 bn per year in 2020,” he said. “The wind contribution to this is of course very significant, but it is not the only sector that has run out of control. Solar generation is many times that expected by government in its National Renewable Energy Action Plan.”

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