Offshore Wind Farm Plans 'Are a Costly Mistake'
Byline: David Derbyshire Environment Editor
MINISTERS are backing the construction of too many expensive offshore wind farms too quickly, senior advisers on green policy warn today.
In a report into the future of energy, the influential Committee on Climate Change calls on the Government to scale back plans to build thousands of turbines off the coast of Britain.
Instead, the report calls for hundreds more wind turbines to be built onshore at a lower cost over the next eight years.
The committee also says renewable green power should play a central role in Britain's energy policy and that the UK needs a new generation of wind farms, nuclear power plants and other sources of green energy to keep the lights burning.
The Coalition is planning a massive expansion of wind farms to meet tough EU climate change targets.
By 2020, the UK will have to generate 30 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources such as wind, wave and wood burning. Currently it produces only 3 per cent.
Many of the 10,000 new turbines will be built at sea, producing up to 13 gigawatts of electricity. The rest will be built in the countryside.
The Government claims the wind farms are needed to slash greenhouse gas emissions from coal, oil and gas-fired power.
But critics say the plan is too expensive, the turbines ugly and that the UK will become overdependent on the variable power of the wind.
The report says the Government's plans for offshore wind are too ambitious and that the EU target could be met more cheaply.
David Kennedy, the committee's chief executive, said offshore wind was 'a very promising technology and one we are keen to support in the UK'.
He added: 'The renewable energy target is a legally binding one. …