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Paterson on renewables

[Owen Paterson at the Conservative Party conference] warned renewable developments can upset communities and promised to make sure this is taken into account when subsidies for wind farms are put up for review.

"In my part of the world, local residents – 300 of whom turned up at a public meeting last week – are concerned about the impact of proposed wind farm pylons on their communities," he told the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.

"Nearby, dairy farmers are being outbid for land by those who want to grow maize specifically for anaerobic digestion. These are the unintended consequences of renewable technology.

"They risk upsetting the delicate balance of interests that underpins our living, working countryside."

At the conference, John Hayes, the new energy minister, also said turbines and pylons are an intrusion on the countryside.

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Reader Comments (23)

Well I hope they do something about it. We've had years of talk but no action. They need to:
Repeal the Climate Change Act
Ignore the EU renewable energy directive
Remove the ROC and FiT schemes.

Those will do for starters.

Oct 9, 2012 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Mr Bratby

We may disagree on some things but you are right on the money with this one ^.^

Oct 9, 2012 at 6:08 PM | Registered CommenterDung

Hmmm, but with Call Me Dave still in charge, to say nothing of theLibDems' baleful influence, I wouldn't get too excited. Political positioning, aka a refusal to take any decision that risks upsetting your carefully modulated image as caring, green and progressive, trumps reality every time. Especially when someone else is picking up the tab.

Oct 9, 2012 at 6:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

Here is a a very interesting and well researched article, by Microdave, which raises many questions about the effectiveness of renewable energy surveys. Thought it would be of interest ;-)

Oct 9, 2012 at 6:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterMax Farquar

Max, please check your link. All I can get is a 404.

Oct 9, 2012 at 7:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Porter

Hi David, maybe it was just a glitch? Seems OK from this end but here is the full URL, just in case : Many thanks ;-)

Oct 9, 2012 at 7:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterMax Farquar

If they are paid too much subsidy they can pay too much for land. I see that Element Power with their greenwire scheme seem to think that the Irish will be pleased to receive our subsidies to build our windfarms over there.

Oct 9, 2012 at 7:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrankSW

What's in a name? Sometimes a lovely tautology, I'd lend on that.

Oct 9, 2012 at 8:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterkim

I think that Owen Paterson has hit on a good point here:
"Nearby, dairy farmers are being outbid for land by those who want to grow maize specifically for anaerobic digestion. These are the unintended consequences of renewable technology."

So the potential collapse of the UK dairy farming is not actually down to the milk industry and supermarkets underpaying the dairy farmers out of business, but the subsidy-chasing parasites who are grabbing land to grow crops that would not be economical without the subsidies that they attract. This needs some serious investigation.

Oct 9, 2012 at 8:40 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Yeah - land - bird mincing whirligigs.................... and what about the whale in our own fish bowl?

Our - off shore seagull munchers - an even bigger waste of money, time, construction, effort and space. It is to be greatly desired, Mr. Paterson should be addressing his time and energies to these off shore monsters. Land built whirligigs are dying off due to public consternation at the awful waste, desecration and despoilating of the nation's green and once pleasant land.

But, there seems to be some tacit agreement whereby, the construction of the marine variety of bird slicers will somehow carry on and on - WHY?

Edvard Munch screamed, he must have had a nightmare vision of the north Kent prospect.

Oct 9, 2012 at 8:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

"the construction of the marine variety of bird slicers will somehow carry on and on - WHY?"

Because they get double the subsidy. Although I suspect that the installation and maintenance costs may be more than double, especially when a bit of corrosion sets in. Are there any figures yet for the reliability and running costs of existing offshore installations? I seem to recall Uncle Gordon claiming that we had more than anyone else at one time...

Oct 9, 2012 at 9:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Breaking story

Paterson puts foot down

Oct 9, 2012 at 10:28 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

The letter yesterday to Government from companies like M&S was a blatant attempt to strong-arm politicians to extend the subsidies to corporations not in the energy industry.

Imagine paying M&S subsidies to produce electricity?

Oct 9, 2012 at 10:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Indeed, Pharos. But note how everything is still qualified by an implicit assumption that global warming is real and that governments can/should/must put in place policies that somehow reverse it. Even for an apparent realist such as Patterson it is still not permitted to acknowledge that all such climate change 'initiatives' are not merely hideously expensive but pointless.

That said, a step, however timid, in the right direction.

Oct 9, 2012 at 11:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

I'm really starting to warm to Mr Paterson.

Oct 9, 2012 at 11:23 PM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook


Given the stranglehold the greens have had on the government I think the move by Paterson is a brave one and is an indication that Conservatives will move things in the right direction. However what I do not understand is why Cameron allows this Liberal Democrat Minister such leeway.
Cameron should tell Clegg that Davey should toe the line set by the Tories or he will lose his position. What is Clegg going to do, force an election at which his party will cease to exist?

Oct 9, 2012 at 11:26 PM | Registered CommenterDung

I've no real idea who levered Paterson into position in the reshuffle, I have my suspicions though, and its not Dave.

Oct 9, 2012 at 11:47 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

Plausible denial at work, I guess here, Pharos.
Doesn't want to p*ss off the in-laws by putting their investments at risk but still has enough integrity/self-preservation to tip the wink to others that he wouldn't oppose the appointment!

Oct 10, 2012 at 12:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR


You suggest Paterson assumes AGW is real and the Government must take action to somehow reverse it. I doubt if that’s true. He’s reported in that Telegraph article as saying that “he believes humans are contributing to climate change”. That’s consistent with his sensible comment to Farmer’s Weekly on 14th September:

… I am clear that climate change is happening – climate change has been happening and will continue to happen. And it is quite obvious there is a man-made element to that.

I think most contributors to BH would agree. OK, he says the Tory party is “not abandoning its green pledges”. But unfortunately that’s true and I suspect he regrets that as much as you do. Given the sensitivity of the subject, I find his comments encouraging.

And I hope he notices that this morning wind power (from throughout the UK – onshore and offshore) is contributing only 120 MW (0.3%) to our energy needs. In contrast, coal power (much of which is to be phased out soon) is contributing 19,200 MW (49.6%). We're facing potential disaster. That, not climate change, is our real problem. Let's hope Paterson is up to the challenge.

Oct 10, 2012 at 7:17 AM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

Let's forget about the scale, cost and injustice of the renewables rip-off and ignore the fact that it achieves little if any CO2 reduction. What we need are a small group of rich retired people to whinge about their loss of "view" and a few rich farmers to complain that someone else is getting more subsidy than they are. Then, and only then, do the Tories start to question the disruption to the "rural" economy!

I find it quite ironic that farmers who are happy to bank their single farm payments, and cash-in with massive solar arrays on their massive houses should complain that someone else wants to grow corn for the same reason. The sad fact is they do have a much stronger voice than the people they are helping into fuel poverty.

Another "disruption" to the "rural" economy that I have come across recently, is that several local estates have told their tenants that they can no longer take fallen trees. The estate wants all fallen wood for its renewable-heat-incentivised wood-chip boilers!

Oct 10, 2012 at 7:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterHeide De Klein

Robin Guenier

I can hear them already-
" wind power (from throughout the UK – onshore and offshore) is contributing only 120 MW (0.3%) to our energy we must build thousands more wind turbines as soon as possible to rectify the problem".

Oct 10, 2012 at 8:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Messenger: if we were to install 10 million 1 kW [E] domestic fuel cells, a condensing gas water heater with an SOFC stack in line, 10 GW would be match the average O/P [assuming 18% CF taking account of mandatory disconnection in gales] of 55 GW windmills, a bit more than is planned by DECC but with no more land being wrecked.

Because householders would earn revenue by using fuel cells in the day as standby [the 6 generator oligopoly is insisting its CCGTs are subsidised to account for the down time], they would recover their costs in a very short time indeed. Assuming 4 hours/weekday @ £.45/kWhr, that comes to £468/annum, a payback of ~3 years. Planned replacement time is I believe 40,000 hours.

Direct CH4 saving by trapping waste heat is 30%, 40% with standby because the thermal inertia of the decentralised system is so much higher than that of the steam generator part of CCGTs, the key aspect to CCGT thermodynamic efficiency.

Use the SOFCs to power heat pumps and you get 60% methane saving compared with the CCGT/windmill option and 12.5% efficiency loss to low voltage distribution. SOFC cost/kWhr is about the same as offshore wind. This is a no-brainer, the only way other than nuclear the greenest ever government can meet EU CO2 saving even part way.

Add in bio-gas with ag waste and local windmill grids with housing estates doing standby, and you get away from the grid being hijacked for totalitarian political control.

Oct 10, 2012 at 10:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Agouts Oct 9, 2012 at 11:08 PM

Paterson is using the guile of an astute politician. By saying what he did, he got his message out loud and clear while deftly deflecting the alarmists predictable 'denier' outrage.

Oct 10, 2012 at 7:36 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

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