London mayor Boris Johnson has publically questioned the effectiveness of wind farms and claimed that shale gas is the best solution for Britain’s looming energy crisis.
The government’s approach to date has been to replace closing coal stations with wind and nuclear power stations. Despite significant progress in developing the wind energy industry, Johnson believes that shale gas represents a more secure supply.
He said: “Labour put in a load of wind farms that failed to pull the skin off a rice pudding.
“We now have the opportunity to get shale gas – let’s look at it. It is part of the 2020 vision we have for this city – power generation is vital.”
Experts have warned that the nation could see blackouts as soon as 2015, as energy reserves dwindle.
Wind farm subsidies
Johnson’s comments on wind farms came just days after the coalition announced it would offer developers generous subsidies to continue to install wind turbines over the next six years. Under these plans, wind farm developers will receive double or even triple the market rate for the electricity they produce.
According to the government, onshore wind farms should receive at least £100 per megawatt-hour. The market rate for electricity currently stands at less than £50 per megawatt-hour. Offshore wind farms will receive triple the market rate at £155 per megawatt-hour. City analysts have described this taxpayer-funded deal as “astonishingly expensive”.
No huge change in energy costs for consumers
According to energy secretary Ed Davey, these new costs are “broadly comparable” to 2013 prices. However, whether the new system will see consumers pay more for wind power is yet to be calculated
Shale gas has been touted by experts as cheap solution to Britain’s energy crisis. Mark Todd, founder of Energyhelpline.com, said a switch to shale could dramatically drive down energy bills in the UK and “turn the clock back” on soaring prices.
These comments came after the news that Britain is sitting on vast reserves of shale gas, which is contained within rock formations and extracted through a process known as fracking.
The potential dangers of fracking
The coalition has expressed reservations regarding shale gas after drilling near Blackpool caused a mini-earthquake in May. There are also fears that it could contaminate drinking water if the process is not carried out properly.
Johnson said that while it is right to investigate the dangers of shale gas, “it may be some people will benefit mightily from living near these reserves”.