HAYES IN THE HOUSE: By South Holland and the Deepings MP John Hayes
The nation needs a mix of energy generation - both environmentally sustainable and secure. Our commitment to a greener future has meant unprecedented investment in clean power sources and new technology – such as carbon capture – that could enable coal to play a part in meeting our future energy needs. In an uncertain world we must not become dependent on fuel imports, or unreliable means of generation.
Back in 2012, I took on a combination of the zealous bourgeois utilitarians, and those oblivious to the interests of others where there is a fast buck to be made
David Cameron made me Energy Minister in 2012 knowing of the growing alarm that subsidies, concocted by the previous government, distorted the energy market, with the resultant likelihood of excessive investment in onshore wind turbines. Concerned that unsightly wind turbines - imposed on communities against their will, on the false prospectus that it was in the national interest - were undermining communal wellbeing,
I led a national debate about the future of onshore wind, knowing that we could never rely on the unpredictable and uncertain power of wind to meet energy requirements. Even if the costs of expensive wind generation decreased over time, as the wind doesn’t always blow it could only ever be one part of a balanced strategy to meet our needs.
As Energy Minister, I faced many self-interested opponents -from an industry bloated by excessive government support- who were determined to frustrate the popular will. So, I am delighted that the Government has now announced the early demise of these subsidies in 2016, preventing thousands of proposed turbine developments from going ahead. In addition, my friend, the Communities Secretary Greg Clark, has further tightened the planning restrictions I devised. In future councils will only be able to approve turbines on sites that have been clearly designated as part of a local or neighbourhood plan, and where the proposed project has the backing of local people.
Back in 2012, I took on a combination of the zealous bourgeois utilitarians, and those oblivious to the interests of others where there is a fast buck to be made. Now the government has delivered on my promise, completing the work I began then, exposing my critics as being out-of-touch, out-of-date and out-of-time.