Rift Develops in British Government Over Windmills

by Brian McGraw on November 2, 2012

in Cooler Heads Digest

A major disagreement erupted this week in the British government over future onshore windmill installations.  The number two minister in the Department of Energy and Climate Change, John Hayes, MP, declared that “enough is enough,” and that no more wind farms needed to be built in the United Kingdom.  Hayes complained that wind turbines had been “peppered across the country” without regard for public opinion.

Hayes’s boss, Energy Minister Ed Davey, MP, quickly and angrily responded that Hayes’s views are not shared by the Cabinet and that there is no formal change in government policy towards renewable energy.

Davey is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, which is the junior partner in the Conservative-Liberal Democratic coalition government.  Hayes, a member of the Conservative Party, clearly speaks for the majority of MPs in his party.

In response to a question by Ed Miliband, MP, leader of the Labour Party opposition, Prime Minister David Cameron insisted that government policy had not changed, thereby apparently backing Davey.  But then Cameron said that it was time for a debate about future policy on onshore wind installations.

Official British government policy aims for 13 gigawatts of wind capacity by 2020. Current capacity is 7.3 gigawatts, with hundreds of wind turbines currently under construction.

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