British strategy for wind power might be changing

Britain does not need more onshore wind energy, British energy minister Greg Barker said on Sunday, in a obvious diversion from former energy secretary Chris Huhne’s ambitious energy strategy.

Barker, the Minister of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), told the Sunday Times that there would be no significant expansion in the number of wind turbines on land beyond those already in the pipeline.

"Far from wanting thousands more, actually for most of the wind farm we need … they are either built, being developed, or in planning. The notion that there’s some spectra of a new wave of wind farm is somewhat exaggerated," he said.

Just five months ago, his department unveiled an ambitious plan for wind power in a report published by Huhne. Huhne was an enthusiastic proponent of wind energy, who in the report called for up to 32,000 new wind turbines, 10,000 of which could be onshore. Britain now has about 3,000 onshore turbines, with a few hundred offshore.

Barker dismissed the 10,000 figure, saying: "It’s about being balanced and sensible." He wanted a focus on offshore wind farm and admitted some onshore wind farm locations had been misguided, which are in unsuitable locations – too close to houses or in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Chris Huhne quitted his job as energy secretary as well as a British cabinet member in this February when he was charged with perverting the course of justice over a 2003 speeding case. His successor is Edward Davey, whose role oversees ministers at DECC.