Analysis: Should the proposed wind farm get the green light? - No, says Stuart Young

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CONTRARY to popular myth, electricity generation by coal and gas is not subsidised at all by taxpayers or consumers, while subsidy for renewables is expected to total £1.78 billion in 2012

That will be paid for by 66 million people in the UK – which means £27 per head.

For years, the wind industry’s propaganda machine has been pulling the wool over people’s eyes, pretending green energy is free, yet deserving of ever more subsidy. Every time electricity bills rise, supporters of wind point the finger at fossil-fuel prices, insisting wind subsidies can’t be to blame because all forms of electricity generation are subsidised. This is a blatant untruth. Oil and gas receive no meaningful subsidy, while wind will cost consumers more than £1.8bn in covert subsidy by the end of the year.

Wind energy is a flawed technology – take away the subsidy, and no-one would build any more turbines.

Consumers have to fund the oncosts of wind energy. This means the ever-increasing costs of expanding and upgrading the grid to collect the energy from thousands of turbines spread across the UK, plus the costs of maintaining and developing base-load generation (for when the wind doesn’t blow).

More renewables means more guaranteed profiteering for the wind energy firms and their hangers-on, but, for the rest of us, it means ever higher bills, fuel poverty and an economy crippled by some of the highest energy prices in Europe.

The level of subsidy required to induce investment in offshore wind farms cannot be sustained. When public outrage forces politicians to reduce subsidy for offshore wind and it become less profitable and, as the years go by, more expensive to maintain, then it is quite conceivable they will simply be abandoned.

If this wind farm gets planning consent, it is essential the Scottish Government ensures guaranteed and ring-fenced funds are put in place for their eventual decommissioning or the public will be fleeced once more by experts funded by government – ie, us – to remove them.

• Stuart Young is an independent consultant for Communities Against Turbines Scotland and chairman of Caithness Windfarm Information Forum.