Why, then, are we so “fixated” with wind?
Part of the answer may be that wind turbines are visible, tangible
political commitment and moral righteousness. Mr Clegg’s party wants
of them, and the Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, also a Lib Dem, has
described them as “beautiful”. The Lib Dems are also fiercely against
nuclear, though their Tory partners are not.
The rest of the answer appears to be subsidy. The Government pays an
subsidy, a “renewable obligation”, or RO – and putting up a wind
the cheapest way to collect it. In contrast to better renewable
technologies, a turbine is inexpensive to build, perhaps around £2
and it lasts at least 20 years.
The total RO paid to the wind industry last year was £400 million. So
Britain’s wind turbines earned, on average, £138,000 in subsidy last
more than Mrs Clegg’s husband makes. Add in the profits from selling
electricity they generate and after construction costs are cleared,
be making nearly £300,000 per year per turbine, half of it courtesy of
Apparently that wind power thing isn’t working out quite as planned in the UK: