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Prince Philip Has it Right on Wind Energy

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God bless the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Duke can always be relied upon to say it how it is. And in the reports of his views on wind farms, he is clearly speaking for many.

Like the child in The Emperor's new clothes, he has pointed out something which is clearly self-evident. Wind farms will never be able to meet a significant part of our power generation needs, for the simple reason that we cannot manage the wind. We aren't going to stop wanting power when the wind drops!

This is not to say that we shouldn't invest in wind generation. It is clearly good for the environment and conservation that we invest in methods of power generation that are environmentally sustainable.

But the rush to wind turbines has been encouraged through the provision of subsidies.

Someone has to foot the bill - and it will be customers through higher bills.

Consequently, when ministers summoned the energy companies to tackle the problem of rising energy prices, the energy companies quite rightly pointed out the consequences of environmental obligations on their costs.

My view is that we have spent too much on wind and not enough on other sources of energy, which would generate power more effectively. In doing so there is some risk to energy security.

It would appear that the mission at DECC, the Department for Energy and Climate Change, was perhaps too much about Climate Change, and not enough about energy. Thank you Mr Miliband.

So the subsidies towards wind would have been better devoted to investment in carbon capture technologies so that Britain could invest in a new generation of coal-fired stations. Instead, thanks to the EU Large Combustion Plant Directive, we are being forced to close a number of our existing coal-fired stations, without sufficient support to cleaner coal technology.

I am very pleased that my constituency is doing its bit to ensure that we can keep the lights on, and it is doing it in an environmentally sustainable way.

Tilbury Power station is in the process of transforming its coal fired station into the world's largest dedicated biomass station. The wood pellets which will fuel the generation will be transported by ship from America, so supply also enjoys a low carbon footprint. And it will generate in sufficient quantities to power hundreds of thousands of homes.

So I am with the Duke. Biomass and Clean Coal are the way forward. Any suggestion that our energy requirements can be met with ever more investment in wind is nothing more than hot air.

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