Friday, 3 July 2015

Why the Conservatives cutting wind farm subsidies is bad news for the UK

Why the Conservatives cutting wind farm subsidies is bad news for the UK

The G7 Summit of leading world powers have just committed to getting the global economy off fossil fuels, [1] but that hasn’t stopped the Conservatives cutting off-shore wind farm subsidies.
The Conservative Government say their current renewable energy plans will create 250,000 jobs by 2030, [2] with the potential for that number to reach 1,000,000, [3] and just this month a record 43% of British electricity was provided by renewable energy sources. [4] The arguments for renewable energy are mounting, so why is it that the Conservatives aren’t interested in properly committing to clean energy?

Tom Burke, a former director of Friends of the Earth and now chairman of the E3G sustainable development charity said “There is nothing good for green energy about the Tories’ election.”
The Telegraph claims that ending onshore wind farm subsidies ‘will save hundreds of millions of pounds’, but once it is acknowledged that onshore wind farms are far cheaper than coal and gas when factors such as air quality, human toxicity, and climate change are taken into account according to an EU analysis, it is clear to see that there is good reason for the UK Government to incentivise renewable energy. [8]

Others are concerned that the view from their garden will be disturbed by the sight of a wind turbine, but what they must understand is that the sight of a wind turbine from their garden is a dirty coal or nuclear power plant out of the view of someone else’s; with the added benefit of cheaper bills, drastically reduced environmental impact, and major economic benefit, [6] the pros certainly do outweigh the cons:

Just three wind farms have the potential to generate enough clean energy to power 13% of all homes in Rugby, with homes within 1.4km of the turbines receiving a £180 annual discount towards their energy bills on top, [5] and the green economy is currently worth about £128bn a year, employing nearly a million people in renewable power, energy efficiency, and other industries. [7]
Energy Secretary Ed Davey has warned that Tory plans to put an effective moratorium on new onshore wind farms will be "disastrous for business and jobs".

Clean energy isn’t just about saving the environment and cutting energy bills, it’s also about the global economy:

We currently depend on a handful of major powers for our oil supply and if such suppliers wish to manipulate the global price of oil they can easily do so by increasing or decreasing their supply to the world. We experienced this last year when Saudi Arabia increased their oil supply, thus reducing the world’s price of oil, in a move that harmed Russia and Iran’s economies as they were forced to reduce their own oil prices in order to keep up with demand. [9]

Switching to renewable energy instead of importing foreign oil would allow the UK to improve its energy security and independence with the profit from which being reinvested into our national economy instead going to OPEC countries’.

Oil, coal, and other dirty energy sources are finite resources and, as such, can be monopolised; clean energy sources are renewable and can be obtained by any nation with the means to do so. If we wish to reduce our dependence on major powers, we must invest in the Green Revolution.

Renewable energy will supply the majority of Australia’s electricity by 2040 according to predictions by energy analysts [10] and Germany has a target of 80% by 2050. [11] When is the UK going to step up to the task?


By Max Anstey – Rugby Young Green & Rugby Green Party External Communication Officer
acknowledgements to roy sandison

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