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United Kingdom

Report: Wind criticisms based on 'bogus' claims

UNITED KINGDOM: Criticism by UK politicians of the effectiveness of wind power is based on incorrect evidence and risks undermining the technology's potential to cut carbon emissions, create jobs and reduce energy bills, a study has found.

The report by the Institute for Public Policy Research think-tank and renewables consultancy Garrad Hassan said recent claims by backbench MPs that the technology was inefficient and unreliable were "false" and could harm a vital part of the UK’s future energy and economic mix.

Earlier this year 106 Conservative MPs wrote to the prime minister David Cameron claiming that wind power was inefficient and less reliable than other forms of energy production, and that public subsidies for the technology should therefore be cut.

But, claiming to debunk the myths about wind power, the peer-reviewed study said the evidence showed "unequivocally" that the technology reduces carbon emissions, is reliable and capable of providing a "significant proportion" of the UK’s electricity supply with minimal disruption to the existing grid.

"Claims to the contrary are not supported by the evidence," the report said.

The report calculated that every megawatt hour of electricity produced by wind power in the UK results in a minimum carbon dioxide saving of 350kg. On this basis, it said CO2 savings from wind energy were "at least" 5.5 million tonnes in 2011, with the actual figure likely to be "considerably greater" than this.

The IPPR's Reg Platt, co-author of the report, said: "We want to rid the debate of bogus claims that criticise wind technology and focus squarely on issues around costs and local community concerns – both of which should be thoroughly scrutinised. It’s worrying that these bogus claims are having an impact on government policy and creating uncertainty across the renewables sectors. This is not in the best interest of UK consumers or the UK economy."

Beyond the Bluster: Why Wind Power is an Effective Technology is available here

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