By Gemma Childe on 14th Jun 2012
The development of more onshore wind turbines in appropriate locations should be supported by MPs, according to a non-partisan report.
The study, which set out to provide an unbiased view in the dispute over whether the green technology is cost-effective and reliable, found that fears over wind power were often exaggerated.
The London School of Economics (LSE) Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment joined forces with the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy to examine the issue.
The group's policy briefing reviewed evidence objectively and assessed how onshore wind could play a part in the UK's future energy needs.
Bob Ward, policy and communications director for the Grantham centre, said: "There's a lot of information going to MPs from industry or campaign groups such as the Global Warming Policy Foundation and we just felt they would benefit from a robust and academic assessment from people who have no vested interest in the matter other than wise policy-making."
The report states that the cost and grid challenges posed by wind farms are often exaggerated by anti-wind farm lobby groups and that onshore wind is currently the cheapest renewable technology in the UK.
It also dispels the myth that wind turbines are too unreliable to contribute significantly to the UK's electricity grid.
It was revealed last week that the Chancellor, George Osborne, was demanding cuts of 25 per cent to the Renewables Obligation (RO) incentive scheme for onshore wind farms, which industry insiders claimed would "kill off" new developments.
On the flip side, the report does warn that onshore wind raises potential local environmental issues which must be taken into consideration in planning decisions.
It sets out a series of policy recommendations to encourage onshore wind developments, which include setting a clear price on carbon that underlines the relative merit of wind and other low-carbon forms of power production compared with fossil fuels.
Conservative MP Tim Yeo, chairman of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, recently suggested that communities may need to be paid to accept new wind farms, and the report recommends ensuring appropriate benefit-sharing, or compensation, in certain areas.
"The biggest market failure that the UK needs to recognise is that fossil fuels have traditionally had free subsidies for producing greenhouse gases. That needs to be corrected," added Mr Ward.