An overwhelming majority of the public in the UK approve of the government providing financial support for renewable energy technologies, according to a new survey. The YouGov poll for the Sunday Times found support from across the political spectrum, with Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem and UKIP voters all agreeing that the government should continue investing in low-carbon technologies.
The survey found 65% of respondents in favour of government spending money for wind power, while 76% said the same for tidal energy and 78% backed financial support for solar. In comparison, only 49% approved of public financial support for nuclear, 57% for clean coal and just 40% said the government should provide support for shale gas. 47% of respondents considered shale gas projects as damaging to the environment.
Despite this, Chancellor George Osborne recently revealed tax breaks for the fracking industry, with a 30% tax rate for onshore shale gas production, much lower than oil taxes. Osborne called his new tax regime “the most generous for shale in the world”.
Alarmist headlines in the UK today proclaimed the “tripling” of energy bills to pay for “green energy”. But the scaremongering belied a story that is positive for the British economy, the climate, the consumer and the European wind energy industry.
The feature of the upcoming energy bill most media seized on was that energy firms will be allowed to triple the amount of money consumers pay for so-called “green” measures, including renewables but also nuclear power.
EU Energy Minister John Hayes
It’s been a tumultuous week for the wind power sector in the UK with reports and developments underscoring the industry’s benefits while a furor was breaking out over whether Energy Minister John Hayes had overstepped his position on the popular renewable technology.
By Thursday, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas was wondering publicly if Hayes’s mis-directed anti-wind farm views allow the new Conservative energy minister to even have a future in Britain’s energy department.
Lucas, in a Guardian story, said Hayes’s comments “represent the latest intervention in a co-ordinated campaign by an anti-renewables lobby with vested interests in propping up the declining fossil fuel industries. They peddle a number of myths – on effectiveness, cost and public opinion – which must be challenged.”
Earlier this month wind power in the UK produced a record amount of electricity – some 80 GW hours, or the equivalent to over 10% of the UK’s total electricity generation. While that record is something to be celebrated, it prompted several articles in the UK media claiming that backing-up wind by ramping fossil fuel plants up and down according to wind output, pumps out more carbon than running them at more consistent levels. But a blog published by the Guardian today highlights hard statistical evidence that puts paid to that claim.
According to the Guardian, the ramping up and down carbon claim comes from the fact that a different type of gas power plant is required to produce gas-fired electricity in shorter time frames – open cycle gas turbines and not combined cycle gas turbines that are the most common producers of gas-fired electricity in the UK. Open cycle gas turbines are less efficient to run than combined cycle leading to the claim that backing up wind increases carbon emissions.
Wind power provides an effective way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as well as being a secure and reliable source of energy for the United Kingdom, according to a new report.
The 22-page report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) notes that much of the opposition to wind power in the UK appears to be based on the mistaken belief that it is an ineffective technology.
“Wind power can significantly reduce carbon emissions, is reliable, poses no threat to energy security, and is technically capable of providing a significant proportion of the UK’s electricity supply with minimal impact on the existing operation of the grid,” says the report — Beyond the bluster: Why wind power is an effective technology.
“Claims to the contrary are not supported by the evidence.”