Wind sector blasts Conservative manifesto

The Conservative party’s election pledge to halt the development on new onshore wind farms has been branded ‘idiotic’ and ‘illogical’ by members of the UK wind sector.

The party’s 2015 manifesto argues that cutting carbon emissions ‘as cost effectively as possible’ would be a new Conservative government’s chief driving force whilst nuclear and gas generation capacity would be expanded significantly.

It also argues that halting the spread of wind farms is justifiable due to a lack of public support, and an unpredictability of supply to the National Grid.

These claims have brought a barrage of criticism from the sector and claims from trade body RenewableUK that the Tories have glossed over numerous reports which point to high levels of public support for the technology.

“The Conservatives’ manifesto spectacularly fails to recognise the high level of support among ordinary voters for onshore wind, which stays consistently at two-thirds of the British public,” said deputy chief executive, Maf Smith.

“They’re seriously misinformed in their suggestion that wind power can’t provide firm capacity – the experts at National Grid say there’s no problem in taking maximum advantage of wind whenever it’s available, which can now be predicted with pinpoint accuracy.”

Greenpeace UK chief scientist Dr Doug Parr also delivered a stinging assessment of the policy announcement pointing to apparent double standards over the party’s contrasting receptiveness to local opposition over renewables and fracking.

He said: “The Tory manifesto pledge on energy is a recipe for higher consumer bills. Onshore wind is the cheapest form of low-carbon power. Stopping it whilst also committing to cutting carbon emissions only means we’ll have to invest in more expensive sources of clean energy, driving up bills.

“The Tories’ double standards and ideological bias are embarrassingly obvious. They’ll champion localism when it comes to wind farms, but they’ll run roughshod over local people’s concerns when it’s about fracking.”