By Sarah Phillips
Despite the current trend in favour of alternative energy sources, over a hundred Conservative MPs have urged David Cameron to cut subsidies for wind turbines.
This raises the topical debate once again regarding the spending of taxpayer’s contributions. The MPs questioned the amount of money being spent on wind turbines during ‘straitened times’.
The Government’s aim is for 15% of the UKs energy supply by 2015 to be provided by renewable resources. It responded that wind farms were a “cost-effective and valuable part of the UK’s diverse energy mix”.
However, the Government admits that these renewable resources are currently more expensive than using fossil fuels. Wind farms account for hundreds of millions of pounds worth of subsidies each year.
The MPs wrote in a letter to the Prime Minister that “In these financially straitened times, we think it is unwise to make consumers pay, through taxpayer subsidy, for inefficient and intermittent energy production that typifies onshore wind turbines”.
This current debate in parliament poses a particular challenge to Ed Davey, the new Energy and Climate Change Secretary who was promoted to the job recently following fellow Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne’s resignation.
What is more, the MPs are criticising the current planning legislation which makes it difficult for local people to oppose the construction of these onshore wind turbines.
The issue has equally created tension in the Welsh government at Cardiff Bay. Vale of Glamorgan MP Alun Cairns said: ‘’My scepticism about wind energy has been on the record for a long time.’’
“I think it’s inefficient, I think it’s expensive. I think it drives up people’s energy bills and that’s the core issue that needs to be focussed on,” He added.
An alternative opinion however was offered by the Liberal Democrat spokeswoman for business in Wales, Eluned Parrott, who said that “to pull the rug out from under one particular source of energy at this time is a mistake.”