A right wind-up?

Only 2 years ago, government seemed committed to a dash for wind energy as the best way to meet our climate change commitments. On that basis local authority planning processes were adjusted to facilitate the approval of windfarms. What seems to be happening now is that government thinking has changed, but local authority processes have not caught up.

The economics of wind farms depend on the renewables subsidy in present market conditions. Government policy was devised on the assumption that we were close to running out of fossil fuels (the “peak oil” hypothesis), so the price would rise and “soon” the subsidy would no longer be necessary. The development of technologies to extract shale gas has undermined the “peak oil” hypothesis. Even if the UK or Europe are unable to fully exploit shale resources in the short term, the availability of shale gas in the USA has resulted in that country being no longer dependent on OPEC sources at all.

It could be argued that the recent drop in petrol prices is an indicator of this. World markets no longer believe in the “peak oil” hypothesis. It is interesting that the government is clearly having doubts about the wisdom of a dash for wind turbines onshore, as indicated by the recent statements from Michael Fallon

Solent Protection Society cannot take a position on these global forces, but we can say that, until the situation becomes clearer, it would be a pity if planning consent for skyline turbines visible from the Solent were granted. With this in mind, SPS will be examining (or reviewing) each planning application for wind turbines individually