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Energy Committee takes evidence on economics of wind power

10 July 2012

The Energy and Climate Change Committee will hold a public evidence session on the Economics of Wind Power at 10.15am on Tuesday 10 July. The meeting will take place in Committee room 16, Palace of Westminster (location has been updated). 


At 10.15 am approx

  • Dr David Kennedy, Chief Executive, Committee on Climate Change
  • Professor Sam Fankhauser, Grantham Institute
  • Dr Robert Gross, Centre for Energy Policy and Technology, Imperial College
  • Professor Gordon Hughes, Global Warming Policy Foundation

At 11.05 am approx

  • Adrian Snook
  • Robert Robertson, Montgomeryshire Local Council Forum
  • Jeremy Elgin

At 11.35 am approx

  • William Heller, Chair of Economics and Markets Strategy Group, Renewable UK
  • David Handley, Chief Economist, RES
  • Sarah Merrick, Government Relations Manager, Vestas Northern Europe

What will the session cover?

  • What do cost benefit analyses tell us about onshore and offshore wind compared with other measures to cut carbon?
  • What do the latest assessments tell us about the costs of generating electricity from wind power compared to other methods of generating electricity? 
  • How do the costs of onshore wind compare to offshore wind?
  • What are the costs of building new transmission links to wind farms in remote areas and how are these accounted for in cost assessments of wind power?
  • What are the costs associated with providing back up capacity for when the wind isn’t blowing, and how are these accounted for in cost assessments of wind power?
  • How much support does wind power receive compared with other forms of renewable energy?
  • Is it possible to estimate how much consumers pay towards supporting wind power in the UK? (i.e. separating out from other renewables)
  • What lessons can be learned from other countries?
  • What methods could be used to make onshore wind more acceptable to communities that host them?

The Chair of the Committee, Tim Yeo MP, said:

"Government policy on wind power should be based on sound economics and engineering, not political pressure from a small vocal minority - whether that be green campaigners or anti-wind protestors.

In this session we want to cut through all the hot air talked about wind power and examine whether the economics really add up.

Wind farms are over forty times less polluting than gas burning power stations - per unit of energy produced - but there are concerns about the costs to consumers.

We will be asking if the Chancellor is right to consider cutting onshore wind power subsidies? And how much these subsidies really add to our electricity bills?

Does it really make financial sense to generate low-carbon electricity from wind? Or are there cheaper ways to cut carbon emissions from our power stations?"

Further Information