Ed Miliband has called an end to the public policy prejudice against onshore wind power.
In a keynote speech at the 40thanniversary celebration of RenewableUK in London last night, the former Labour leader urged political parties to show greater bravery on climate change issues.
Miliband, who was energy and climate change secretary during the last Labour government, added that the global warming issue “isn’t high enough on the agenda of any political party”.
“We need to end the prejudice in public policy against onshore wind,” said Miliband.
He said public opinion and the economics are on the side of bold action to respond to climate change but that there is limited time to do so.
And environmental justice had to be put at the heart of economic and social justice, Miliband said: “Will we be the first generation to get it or the last generation to not get it?”
Rachel Anderson, head of external affairsat the event’s sponsor RES, said: “In the last 40 years we’ve seen renewables move from the margins to the mainstream. We’ve cracked the energy trilemma, as there is no longer a trade-off between cheap energy and clean energy.
“Renewable power is now the most cost-effective energy source. This moment is a tipping point for the industry and there’s significant growth potential for renewables, including onshore wind – particularly as the market grows, with the need to electrify heat and transport”.
Prof. Peter Fraenkel, one of the handful of the founders of the-then British Wind Energy Association 40 years ago, said: “The biggest challenge, really, was the scepticism of the ‘energy establishment’. There was a general lack of belief, I think, that wind power would ever be anything which could seriously be used for powering the grid.”
”We had quite an uphill struggle in the early days to try and convince, for example, the Central Gas and Electricity Generation Board. The CEGB started off very sceptical but eventually they came round and were very supportive but that process demanded quite a lot of work from the enthusiasts and the people who were trying to promote wind energy.”