Skip to main content

You are here

The power of wind in the energy debate

Wind power, both onshore and offshore, is an important part of our energy make-up, today and tomorrow. There is a broad agreement on this; but this fact has not prevented suggestions of a discrepancy on the extent of necessary investment in the onshore form of wind between key influencers.

The Government’s chief climate advisor, Lord Deben, was quoted in The Times as saying that there are enough onshore wind farms already approved to meet 2020 climate targets, and that this clashes with his own committee, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). But as much as this has been painted as something of a bizarre row, is it more of a storm in a tea cup?

Certainly that’s what astute blog The Carbon Brief understands. It says Lord Deben and the CCC agree that there are enough onshore turbines planned to hit 2020 targets, and likely with some ease. In actual fact, it’s the more challenging 2030 decarbonisation target where the big decisions are going to need to come.

A step up in onshore wind is the current plan to meet the goals, but there will be changes in government between now and then, not to mention changes in the performance and efficiency of renewable technologies. The plans assume wind turbines are performing to the levels of today; but dramatic leaps in wind efficiency, or a breakout technology that outperforms the rest at good investment value is far from beyond the realms of possibility.

Still, it is better these issues are being considered important enough to be discussed on front pages, even with differing editorial tendencies, than not at all. Raising awareness that the make-up of our energy supply is something that should concern us all is no bad thing.

With impeccable timing, the news of this apparent disagreement/misunderstanding came alongside news that wind power is the most popular form of energy in the UK.

The survey commissioned by The Guardian and polling across all incomes and political arenas showed nearly half of respondents would welcome a wind farm built within five miles of their home. Support was even higher for offshore wind, while public opinion of the idea of coal, nuclear power or fracking near their home fared rather worse, with 20, 27 and 19 per cent support respectively.

Gary Hartley is Energy Saving Trust's expert blogger. He has extensive experience researching and writing on a number of topics, with particular expertise in sustainable energy, policy, literature and sport. As well as providing regular blog content, Gary has also been published in numerous magazines and journals.

Post a comment