Hayes vs Davey: The Coalition energy showdown shapes up

Posted: November 3, 2012 by tallbloke in climate, Energy, flames, government, Nuclear power, Politics, wind

Cracks are appearing in the the Coalition UK government over energy policy. Energy minister Lib-Dem Ed Davey is furious over statements made to the Daily Mail by junior minister John Hayes concerning wind farms:

A furious coalition row erupted today after a junior Tory minister declared that the relentless march of onshore wind farms is at an end.

Insisting ‘enough is enough’, energy minister John Hayes said turbines had been ‘peppered around the country’ with little or no regard for local opinion.

He said existing sites and those in the pipeline would be enough to meet green commitments with no need for more.

‘Even if a minority of what’s in the system is built we are going to reach our 2020 target,’ he said. ‘I’m saying enough is enough.’

But at an early-morning showdown with his boss – Lib Dem Energy Secretary Ed Davey – Mr Hayes was told he does not decide government policy.

Mr Hayes told the Mail he had commissioned research on the impact of wind turbines on the landscape and whether they drive down house prices.

He has also asked scientists to examine noise complaints and more sinister suggestions that the turbines endanger military aircraft by blocking radar signals.

The intervention by Mr Hayes, who became energy minister in last month’s reshuffle, will delight 100-plus fellow Tory MPs who have urged David Cameron to take a more sceptical approach to onshore wind power.

It does however risk a clash with the Liberal Democrats, who are enthusiastic advocates of renewable energy.

A source close to Mr Davey said today: ‘John does not decide government policy. There will be no change. We are in a coalition government, not a single party government and definitely not a single minister government.

‘We are determined to make sure the coalition lives up to the Prime Minister’s pledge to make it the greenest government ever.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2225531/Minister-signals-end-wind-farm-We-pepper-turbines-country–

However, the Lib-Dems commitment to green energy now extends to nuclear power, and this will be controversial within their own ranks, as environmentalists face the dilemma of their longstanding opposition to atomic waste generation against their desire to phase out fossil fuel energy production:

Hitachi’s £700m ($1.1bn) acquisition of Horizon Nuclear Power from energy companies RWE Npower and E.On is a big deal.

And not only in terms of the amount the Japanese company has agreed to pay.

Prime Minister David Cameron describes it as a “a decades-long, multi-billion pound vote of confidence in the UK”.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey hails its importance to the energy sector, which he says will “play a big role in the growth of the UK economy”.

The deal is big because:

  • it offers the promise of inward investment into the UK, somewhere in the region of £20bn,
  • it could result in the creation of thousands of skilled jobs in the UK with vast sums invested in the training and education of nuclear workers,
  • and it offers a potential solution to an energy supply challenge in the UK, where shortages loom within years, by building nuclear plants that would eventually power some 14 million homes.

Read more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20137573

Comments
  1. I see Scottish power is saying that 34% of their cost increases are due to gOVERnment initiatives.

    http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2012/11/1/scottish-power-on-cost-of-green-policies.html

  2. mitigatedsceptic says:

    Hitachi’s market in Japan has virtually closed and UK seems a fertile market were it not for the hysterical opposition to nuclear from the chattering classes. I just wonder if Hitachi has the ‘bottom’ to cope with all that?

  3. oldbrew says:

    Scottish Power says its 34% figure includes ‘the cost of schemes designed to protect the environment’. No mention of what that means. Keep it vague and bland and hope people will think ‘oh how nice’ and not notice what’s really going on.

  4. clivebest says:

    In 2010 just one aging AGR nuclear power station (Hartlepool) generated more electricity than all UK wind farms combined !

    Year Total Energy Net Power Source % of total
    2010 7950 GWh 0.9 Gw WIND FARMS 2%
    2010 7.1 GW Total Nuclear 16%
    2010 8100 GWh 1.0 GW Hartlepool 2%

  5. caz says:

    I would have no problem with windmills if they stood on their own merits but as soon as politics and subsidies get involved then all scientific logic flies out of the window.

    On my smallholding I’ve tinkered around with many so called alternative forms of energy and I’ve always returned to the wood burner as the ultimate source of solar power and sustainable friend of the planet. Then there is also solar water heating and water power. I’m not yet convinced that PV panels are a net energy contributer and may indeed be an energy user when all their llfetime from cradle to grave energy balance is taken into account.

    We also burn 90% of our “rubbish” in the woodburner to produce household heat and I think the nation should be doing the same rather than transporting it away to landfill.

  6. tempestnut says:

    CAZ The rubbish you burn in your wood burner creates the same pollution and worse as that that comes out a car exhaust. In fact in many ways its worse, as hydrocarbon fuel is cleaned of sulphur and doesn’t have much of any other chemical. in it.

    It is an irony that we in this country are being asked to stop burying our waste and to start burning it when it has been known for a long time that incineration is likely to put all manner of carcinogen into the atmosphere. How ironic we add huge cost to diesel engines to reduce particulates to zero and then encourage the burring of biomass. So much joined up thinking that its making me dizzy.

  7. Zeke says:

    “Controversial: The Energy Minister said onshore wind farms are turning people against other sources of renewable energy such as offshore alternatives and solar power”

    These wind turbines are really making wind turbines look bad.

    That is a problem.

  8. ombzhch says:

    Amusingly Hayes dosn’t have to do anything more, He has announced that “The Emporer is Naked” and that is all it needs, given the existing opposition to windmills (or eco-crucifixes) and the investors have take heed and moved to the NEXT BIG THING.

    As for windfarms, in the UK, DE, NL Done es requiem!

    MFG, omb