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United Kingdom

UK wind industry targets politicians with campaign

UK: The UK's wind industry has launched British Wind, a campaign group aiming to end "discrimination" against onshore wind.

British Wind is hoping to influence the next government's onshore wind policy
British Wind is hoping to influence the next government's onshore wind policy

Eight independent onshore wind generators and suppliers have set up the initiative to try and influence policy in the 2015 general election.

RES, Banks Group, Good Energy, Infinis, Infinergy, Renewable Energy Generation, Fred Olsen Renewables and Airvolution have joined to form the group.

It will target UK policy makers in all parties with "facts rather than myths" in a bid to increase political support for onshore wind.

"We are in the view that there is a fair amount of discriminatory and unnecessary attacks on onshore wind," said Gordon MacDougall, UK and Ireland nanaging director for RES.

"We feel the wind position is over-politicised at the moment and tend to think it's been misrepresented," he added

The campaign launched with an advert in the UK political magazine The Spectator. Representatives will also visit the autumn conferences of the three major political parties in the UK at the end of September and beginning of October.

The group will continue to lobby the country's policy makers as parties begin to prepare manifestos in the run up to next year's election.

MacDougall said: "We want to make sure [manifestos] are being created with the correct facts and the right considerations. Our aim is to get the cost of energy down and continue that drive towards grid parity. We need the government's help to achieve that.

"We have come a long away towards achieving that and what we are looking for the government to do is support us to that end rather than cut it off or strangle an industry just as it starts to look like it could achieve that."

MacDougall refused to name a party or politician the initiative was specifically targeting, but said, "If I was calling it an educational programme, some are better educated than others."

The Conservative Party in the UK has already pledged to end onshore wind subsidies if it wins a majority to form a government at the next election.

However, data shows installations have actually increased since the Conservative-led coalition came to power in the UK in 2010.

British Wind will be hoping its campaign on pushing facts will change the party's mind.

The group will be working alongside trade body RenewableUK to lobby policymakers, but the two will remain separate.

"We are already coordinating messages and are fully aligned [with RenewableUK], but the British Wind campaign is focused on one particular technology — onshore wind. There is room for both and we aim to continue to support and amplify each others' messages," MacDougall said.

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