Main navigation

Social sharing options

You are here:

  1. Home
  2. Blog


It would be madness not to harness the wind to create clean energy and jobs

As an island nation, the UK is lucky to have some of the best wind resource in Europe –  it would be madness for us not to use this natural, secure, sustainable and free resource!
We are committed to supporting the development of both off and onshore wind.  Even without emissions reduction and renewable energy goals the UK would still need onshore wind.  It protects us against over-reliance on other sources such as gas, which is also part of the mix but where prices recently reached a six-year high. 

The UK must replace around a fifth of our ageing electricity generation over the next decade. New nuclear power won’t be generating till towards the end of the decade, or fossil fuels with carbon capture and offshore wind prices will take time to reduce.   This is the gap that onshore wind can fill. We recognise that some people dislike it, and we are making changes to give local communities more of a say and a stake in the windfarms they host. They can be reassured the country won’t be carpeted with wind turbines: most of the development we need is already built or in the planning system.

And wind farms also bring other benefits. Since the start of this financial year, we have seen over £600 million of investment in the industry, and the creation of hundreds of supply chain and manufacturing jobs which will drive economic growth.
Investors should be assured that we are committed to wind for the long term. – It is a vital to our low carbon energy mix, to tackling climate change and creating economic growth.


16 Responses to “It would be madness not to harness the wind to create clean energy and jobs”

  1. Stephen Rinsler says:

    I read the rail infrastructure improvements with interest but wonder: if we were to be able to reduce CO2 by switching more freight to rail would we have sufficient electrical energy to drive the freight trains? Where are the parallel investment plans joined up??

  2. Mairede Thomas says:

    Politicians and energy companies will be punished by voters and consumers if they inflict unwanted and damaging onshore wind turbines on communities.
    I can see the sales pitch of canny energy companies in a few years time thus “our electricity is sustainable marine energy because we know our customers care about the natural beauty of our green and pleasant land”.

  3. Ian F says:

    I think it is good to see the realisaion of the fact we need to switch from nuclear power in a decades time. However I agree with some of the comments already posted. This does seem to be a strategy that puts all our eggs in one basket. Surely there are many other ways to create and enhance renewable energy so that all mediums are integrated to produce suffecient amounts.

  4. Douglas Broadhurst says:

    Mr Hendry, your erstwhile Secretary of State Mr Huhne announced in the forward to his “UK Renewable Energy Roadmap” (July 2011) that “renewable energy already employs [in the UK] more than a quarter of a million people; by 2020 it could be over half a million.”. In February the EurObserv’ER reported that in 2010 there were [only] 31,700 so employed in the UK.

    Would it be madness to believe anything that comes from your department?

  5. Vik Waters says:

    Why do we not fit tidal turbines on to the existing wind turbine towers offshore? At the moment it is an either/or You build a wind turbine or you build a tidal turbine. Surely tidal turbines could be retrofitted to wind turbine towers. In addition the excess power produced by tidal turbines during low use periods (night time) could be used to power desalination plants in order to produce water that we are increasingly short of. Maybe I’m being simplistic, but has anybody actually looked into this?

    • David Gelder says:

      Yes we need lots of wind power BUT:
      will we have a nuclear baseload and a near all electric economy with gas as a boost to power supply during calm spells in winter when the wind doesn’t blow?
      OR no nuclear power when we need a lot more wind power but also a lot more gas AND heating demand is best met by direct use of storable gas, boosted by hydrogen from ‘spare’ wind, biogas or whatever else come to hand?
      Until we know few renewable energy schemes deserve to go beyond a feasibility testing scale.
      AND the economy needs to be measured in terms which make cheap fuel GOOD even if it leads to hard decisons on climate change, not BAD as seen by the governemnt with a view to tax revenues based on the current measure of GDP.

  6. Lin Hong-bin says:

    What is the judgemental standard of developing renewable energy technology
    A little thinking, after reading “It would be madness not to harness the wind to create clean energy and job”.
    By: Lin Hong-bin

    Energy Minister Charles Hendry has issued his blog,” it would be madness not to harness the wind to create clean energy and job “ at 27 February, 2012. I think his blog has expressed that” Britain is luck to have abandent of renewable energy, such as wind, solar, wave and tide. and all these renewable energies are natural,secure,sustainable and especially free resources !
    Of course, not to harness these abandent, free energy resources, it will be not a intelligent thought.
    However, in order to utilize of these free renewable energy sources is not a easy task,for first of all, these renewable renewable energies are intermittent. Now , people knows that the technical development of the windturbines is only a few hundred kilowatts of each stand-alone at the beginning , after continuous efforts it reached to a MW, then to a three MW and now to a seven MW. It’s technological progress is very abvious. At the same time scientists from various countries also studied and developed many new technologies of using other renewable energies to generate electricity, there may be several hundred of them, such as, the technologies of tidal generation power, there are Horizontal axis turnine; Cross-axis turbine: Oscillating Hydrofoil; etc. and the technologies of wave generation power, Attenuater; Point absorber; Oscillating wave surge converter; Oscillating water column; Submerged pressure differenial etc. and ocean current energy and all these technologies both can generate electricity.
    So, what technology of which kind energy should we develop ? Therefore, we should have a judged standard. I think no matter what technology of which kind energy, it has the only one standard .
    The judgemental standard is:
    First, the technology of this kind renewable energy must overcome the intermittent and ensure to generate electricity continuously, unitermittently, smoothly throughout the year.
    Second, the unit investment costs of this technology must be at least equal or lower than the unit investment costs of conventional energy and the electric price generated by this technology must be lower than the electric price of conventional energy.
    Only in this way, the large scale power plant with this technology can be built and can be received by the majority of people and can be beneficial to the development of national economy.
    Also in this way, ……
    As for the questions of my basis, and there is, or no this technology etc, can be discussed continuously.
    The above mentioned is my personal opinion and don’t represent any one.


  7. roger parker says:

    Here we go again –
    ” This is the gap that onshore wind can fill. ” -all our eggs in one basket!; but silly me, windpower is capital intensive and the owners of capital will make a handsome return on their capital employed(ROCE). And Government love big sexy projects.

    But what of the fact that windturbines only produce electricity within a defined windspeed band? What about the 60% electricity loss inthe infrastructure delivering the electricity in the Grid system to the end users? What electricity is produced when the wind does not blow or blows to much? Who is going to pay for the spare electricity generating capacity somewhere else for when the windturbines are not producing?

    And it is predictable again, that a Government reeked havoc in the unsexy mico-generation Renewable Energy property-owner capital market by halving the FiT tarrif in one swoop. They instinctively hate people doing for themselves. It questions their role and the vested interests of all those DECC bureaucrats. Micro-generation in its many forms owned by the people capitalised by the people for the people is the way forward; but unfortunately is an anathema to this ROCE Government.

  8. [...] It would be madness not to harness the wind to create clean energy and jobs Energy Minister Charles Hendry’s blog post on the importance of wind energy. 27 February 2012 [...]

  9. [...] It would be madness not to harness the wind to create clean energy and jobs Energy Minister Charles Hendry’s blog post on the importance of wind energy. 27 February 2012 [...]

  10. Jon K says:

    It is questionable that it would be madness not to harness the wind.

    Ratepayers can pay 2 to 3 times as much for electricity generated from wind as from that generated by conventional sources.

    While the wind is free, the turbines are not. Most turbines wear out in 20 to 30 years. How economical are they, really?

    If the turbines are built in China, the domestic job situation is not helped.

    t seems that it is very unfortunate that there is such a delay in developing onshore wind power, in large part because of planning battles.

    On shore wind energy could be rolled out rapidly, and could quickly make a much larger contribution to carbon reduction and energy security.

    Give the on shore wind farms licences for say 15 – 25 years , by which time other renewable/sustainable forms of energy would have come into operation.

    than is happening at the moment, off shore wind , and other renewables are developed would be

  12. Tony Day says:

    Yours and Ed Davey’s blogs both refer to the need for a balanced portfolio of diversified electricity generating resources in order to reduce reliance on imported gas. This make eminent sense, provided that the replacements for gas do not increase the overall cost of the combined gas and electricity energy mix.

    You do not mention the generation of low cost decarbonised (or Carbon Neutral) Synthetic Natural Gas (SNG) as a means of replacing imported fossil Natural Ga, reducing emissions and reducing energy costs.

    The Carbon Capture Ready SNG technology fully developed by British Gas plc during the period 1955 to 1986 will deliver all the above objectives at a cost of £45/MWh for peak electricity; 45p/therm for decarbonised SNG, and deliver 33% of UK electricity demand at 65gCO2/kWh using UK’s existing and growing fleet of gas fired power stations, which will be decarbonised at zero cost..

    Decarbonised SNG will complement intermittent renewables and base load nuclear, to both of which HMG is already committed; reduce the overall cost of energy, and meet renewables targets. In short, decarbonising the gas grid is the most economical route to decarbonising the electricity grid. DECC’s recent 2050 Carbon Plan states that decarbonised gas is a “high risk” policy. Please can you advise why? Methane is not in itself necessarily a fossil fuel.

    Best wishes

    Tony Day

  13. Richard G says:

    I’m not certain that wind energy is what I’d call secure since if the wind speed is either too high or too low then no energy can be collected

    Except for the possible drought this year and thus no flow in rivers, ols fashioned undershoot water wheels could provide a more stable energy source
    This could be either generation (AC or DC) or heat pumps using the river itself as the heat source for the “ground coil”

    For a lot of people the visual effect would be a lot more pleasant than wind turbines both directly and probably without the need for so many more pylons to connect the more remote infrastructure

  14. John Trehy says:

    Good and bad points here Mr Hendry. Great to come out and enpower the sector at a very uncertain political time which i hope will pass soon with some semblance of reality returning. The country does not in any way need area carpeted by turbines, as there are areas where they are justified, viable and efficient and areas where the landscape could not, and should not be expected to facilitate their siting. I am worried however that you state that most of the development we need is already built or in the planning system. I think you have contradicted yourself in stating this after your call to arms for developers not to lose faith in future investment opportunities in this country.

Leave a Reply

DECC @YouTube

DECC's YouTube feed

Share DECC's YouTube Channel

view all

Partners & Help