North Hoyle offshore wind farm
While this blog frequently focusses on wind power reporting in national-level newspapers, the regional-level or local newspaper does not get as much attention as it perhaps merits.
Last month I was in North Wales – a coastline which is home to the UK’s first large scale offshore wind farm called North Hoyle. It currently has one other operating offshore wind farm – Rhyl Flats, and a massive development is underway further out to sea at Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm which, when completed in 2013, is set to provide electricity to cover nearly one-third of homes in Wales.
There is, of course, local opposition. On this particular stretch of coastline the opposition group is called Save Our Scenery – slightly ironic given that the new offshore farm is 18 km offshore and will be frequently out of vision thanks to the often dense banks of Welsh cloud.
Investors and potential investors in onshore wind energy in the UK can breathe a sigh of relief today after the government agreed to cut subsidies by 10% from April 2013, and not 25% as was previously feared.
“Renewable energy will create a multibillion-pound boom for the British economy, driving growth and supporting jobs across the country. The support we’re setting out today will unlock investment decisions, help ensure that rapid growth in renewable energy continues and show the key role of renewables for our energy security”, Ed Davey, UK Energy Secretary, said.
Some of the UK’s media is quick to publish anti-wind power stories, so it came as a surprise when this week British papers picked up on a new study by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change on onshore wind energy.
The paper entitled, ‘the case for and against onshore wind energy in the UK,’ says that onshore wind energy will be as cheap as fossil fuels by 2016 – just four years away.
Wind energy was front-page news in the UK this weekend with the revelation that Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne plans on cutting subsidies for onshore wind turbines by 25%, a move that would “kill dead” the industry, according to RenewableUK. At the same time, the Chancellor will maintain Government support for nuclear and fossil fuels which account for the largest proportion of Government support for energy.
The news came despite Prime Minister David Cameron’s election campaign promises to be the “greenest government ever” and in the face of a new poll which reveals that a majority of Britons actually want more wind energy.
Forecasting how much households will be paying for their electricity in the coming years is never an easy task and no government, especially in these austerity times, wants to tell the electorate that its policies will lead to increased prices. But the UK government this week published its draft energy bill, offering support for renewables, including wind power, and saying these measures will reduce consumer energy bills.