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Ex-Chancellor Backs Prince Philip Over Attack On Wind Farms

Former Chancellor Lord Lawson yesterday led the backing for Prince Philip after he branded wind farms ‘absolutely useless’.

In a scathing attack, the Duke of Edinburgh said the turbines were ‘completely reliant on subsidies’ and ‘would never work’.

His comments are a rebuke to the Government, which is trying to increase the amount of energy generated by wind farms and other renewable technologies.

Last night Lord Lawson said the Duke was ‘spot on’ and speaking on behalf of ordinary people in fuel poverty.

Philip made the remarks to Esbjorn Wilmar, managing director of Infinergy, which is building offshore turbines around Britain.

Mr Wilmar said he introduced himself to the 90-year-old Duke at a reception and suggested he put wind turbines on royal property.

‘He said that they were absolutely useless, completely reliant on subsidies and an absolute disgrace. I was surprised by his very frank views,’ he said.

When Mr Wilmar tried to argue that onshore turbines are one of the most cost-effective forms of renewable energy, the Duke apparently replied: ‘You don’t believe in fairy tales do you?’

Mr Wilmar added: ‘He said they would never work as they need back-up capacity.’

And the Duke apparently told him: ‘You stay away from my estate young man.’

Electricity customers pay an average of £90 a year towards wind turbines and other forms of renewable energy such as solar power.

Yesterday Lord Lawson, a former Tory Chancellor and leading climate change sceptic, said: ‘[The Duke] is spot on. He rightly feels strongly about the issue and equally clearly knows what he is talking about.

‘If you tried to devise the most costly and inefficient means of generating electricity imaginable, you would choose wind power – which is also an environmental monstrosity, desecrating ever more of our English landscape.

‘And the cost of all this – to no benefit except to the wind power industry itself – is paid by all electricity consumers, including the poorest, and damages the British economy which is fragile enough as it is.’

Glyn Davies, Tory MP for Montgomeryshire, which has seen huge protests against wind farms in the area, added: ‘[The Duke] speaks for a large section of the population.

‘The industry is not just being subsidised but is making a big contribution to the increase in fuel poverty and reducing the competitiveness of British industry. We need to look at other technologies, such as solar and nuclear power, not put all our eggs in the wind farm basket which is sacrificing beautiful countryside at the altar of a false god.’

Britain has 3,421 turbines, of which more than 2,900 are onshore. Thousands more will need to be built if the Government is to meet its target of generating 15 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020. The current level is just 6.6 per cent.

Adam Bell, of Renewables UK, which represents the wind industry, said that last year wind farms generated enough electricity to power two million homes, and would cost the same to produce as fossil fuels by 2016.

He added: ‘Wind technology is working now. The era of cheap energy is over due to rising oil and gas prices and if we are first to invest, we will have a powerful technology which will create thousands of jobs.’

Yesterday the Government’s chief energy scientist, Professor David McKay, said that even if just 10 per cent of the country was covered in wind turbines it would only meet a sixth of our energy needs.

Daily Mail, 21 November 2011