We need a voice in the corridors of power and Together against Wind is providing that voice. Chris Heaton-Harris MP has fought long and hard against wind and has behind him a goodly rank of back bench MPs and not a few Ministers. (Ministers are not allowed to make statements against the Government in public) Some, such as Davey and the Clegg, may think he is a cancer within Westminster that must be exorcised. That I take as a compliment as he is surely eating away at what support for wind and green taxes remains and will in time destroy it. I seem him more as a ray of hope that there are politicians that have an IQ above a gnat and actually hear what ordinary people have to say. Without the challenge of such as Chris and Andrea Leatham the Commons would be a far worse place.
It has been a few months since our last campaign – “Reduce wind farm subsidies now”. The campaign prior to that asked the government to “Stand up for local communities”. These campaigns fit perfectly with the mission of Together Against Wind – to provide an effective link between the Houses of Parliament and both individuals and groups campaigning against the construction of wind turbines across large areas of our countryside.
Both of these campaigns had a significant impact by making many more MPs aware of the complex issues to do with wind farms and the adverse impact that they have on our countryside and the people who live there. This in turn created an environment where more MPs were prepared to co-sign a letter to the Prime Minister in July and participate in the dialogue which is bringing about a gradual change in the attitude towards wind energy and in particular towards onshore wind. Policies can only be changed if MPs are aware of the issues and understand the impact that they have on their constituents.
Over the summer months, and especially last week, we saw confirmation that our campaigns are having an impact. There is no doubt that planning decisions and especially appeal decisions for wind farms are facing rigorous scrutiny over the impact that they have on communities. It is unrealistic to expect planning policies to turn on a sixpence but over the course of the last 12 months since Together Against Wind was set up, there has been a marked increase in the number of MPs who are opposed to onshore wind farms.
From the outset, we have been making the point that the high subsidy for wind farms is unsustainable. While wind power only provided 2% or 3% of the total electricity generated it had a minimal impact on average prices, even though the price paid for wind energy was 2 or 3 times more expensive than power from coal or gas. However, with the ever-increasing numbers of turbines, the percentage of power from wind is rising and now exceeds 5%. The high cost of wind can no longer be concealed from consumers. This has been brought to the fore by recent announcements of increases in electricity bills, which is of major concern to the Prime Minister.
The other recent announcement is that Hinckley Point nuclear power station is to go ahead and that it will be paid £89.50 per megawatt hour at 2012 levels. The surprise with this announcement is that wind, which claims to be the lowest cost renewable is currently receiving £100 for onshore wind and £150 for offshore. Not only is the price for wind much higher, the value of energy produced is lower because it is only available when the wind blows, whereas nuclear is available all the time.
Our new campaign is designed to make sure that every MP is made aware that wind, which claims to be the cheapest form of renewable energy, will cost consumers more than nuclear.
- The proposed strike price in the Energy Bill for onshore wind is £100, or just over 10% more than nuclear.
- The proposed strike price in the Energy Bill for offshore wind is £155 or 73% more than nuclear.
If the cost of providing backup for wind is taken into consideration, the differences are even larger. This campaign is designed to expose the true cost of wind energy.
The campaign will bring all of these matters to the attention of your MP, but it can only do this if you participate.
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In addition to this, it would also help the campaign if you could write to your local newspaper on the same theme. Rising electricity prices are a matter of widespread concern and many of the national and local papers have carried stories about the impact that rising prices are having on fuel poverty. The transition to more electricity from low carbon sources will double the wholesale cost of electricity over the next few years and thereafter it will increase with inflation.
The other new development at Together Against Wind is that we are expanding the team. It is for that reason that I am writing to you, rather than Chris Heaton-Harris MP, who is currently focusing his attention on the way in which green policies, linked to wind energy, are causing bills to rise.
With best wishes,
Together Against Wind Ltd