§ 5. Mr. Speller
asked the Secretary of State for Energy if he will take steps to allocate funds for the installation of wind turbines for agriculture.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy (Mr. David Hunt)
Wind energy is one of the most promising renewable energy sources of electricity generation in the United Kingdom, and my Department's programme, which plans to spend more than £6.5 million this year, is concentrated on large turbines for electricity generation.
§ Mr. Speller
The provisions of the Energy Act 1976 have allowed people to erect wind turbines to generate power into the grid. Is my hon. Friend aware that one can produce energy for intensive farm use, such as piggeries, at half the grid price, and yet receive a grant for connecting the farm to the grid system? Should we not think about some form of grant to aid the installation of wind turbines? Is my hon. Friend further aware that as wind turbines have become more popular, rating authorities have not infrequently made a rateable charge per annum equivalent to half the revenue obtained, which is negating all the advantages of the Energy Act?
§ Mr. Hunt
My hon. Friend will know that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment is responsible for rates. I am delighted that my hon. Friend referred to the potential for agricultural applications, because recently my Department funded a study which showed that at present prices and costs nearly 2,000 farms could operate wind turbines economically.