Well, what a week it has been for wind energy. First Chris Huhne finally being called to account for his misdeeds. And then the Tory MPs who, like their constituents have had enough of wind energy.
The least of Chris Huhne's sins were, in my mind, the fact that he got his poor then wife to take a speeding ticket. Between now and then, he has presided over the continued expansion of the UK's renewable energy programme, which has brought hardship and misery to millions of people. Costs have risen, pushing millions into fuel poverty -- especially old people.
Huhne's reaction has been indifference, and to claim that the rising costs of conventional fuels would eventually mean that renewable energy would effectively reduce bills. But this does not tally with the experience in the USA, where energy bills have stabilised thanks to the exploitation of shale gas. The world may actually be facing a future in which fossil fuel costs reduce. In which case, Huhne will have secured nothing more for the UK than decades of expensive energy, a loss of competitiveness and thus job losses, and the continued hardship of millions.
And then there are the turbines. Thousands of them. And tens of thousands more planned on and off shore. They ruin beautiful landscapes. They destroy wildlife. And they make a noise as ugly as they look. They upset people who appreciate natural and peaceful things. They disturb people's lives. They split communities -- landowners from their neighbours. They are absurd monuments to the absolute disconnect between the political class and reality. In his short stint in power, Huhne did nothing to remedy these ill effects. He instead said that there would be more (and more and more) wind turbines, whether we wanted them or not.
They would bring about a new industrial revolution, he told people. They would help create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. They would make Britain an energy exporter, he said. Yet prices carried on rising. The number of people out of work continued to rise. Rather than experiencing an industrial revolution, UK businesses continued to shut down.
On the day Huhne resigned, wind energy accounted for just 0.68% of the UK's electricity supply. Yet advocates of wind energy boast that as much as 12% of our electricity can be supplied from wind energy. The higher the capacity of the UK's fleet of wind turbines, the more that we will have to match that capacity with reliable generators -- probably gas-fired. So much for the UK's climate change policies, studies now show that because of this impassable shortcoming of wind, their use may actually cause the emissions of more CO2 into the atmosphere than conventional means.
It has all got too much for the MPs of rural constituencies. More than a hundred of them -- mostly Tories -- have at last responded to their constituent's complaints, and signed a joint letter to David Cameron, demanding that he 'cut the subsidy for on-shore wind and spread the savings made between other types of reliable renewable energy production and energy efficiency measures'.
This, and Huhne's departure are being seen as a turning point in the Wind Wars, and the Climate Wars too. This is "A chance for David Cameron to end the climate change madness", claims Melanie Philips. Energy expert Dieter Helm of Oxford University, writes in the Times that we should "Forget The Huhne Hype About Wind Power". I believe that they have all got their hopes up far too high.
You see, it's not really a choice that you, I, constituents, or even for that matter David Cameron have. It's not a choice Chris Huhne, or his predecessor Ed Miliband had. The terms of our energy policies are determined in Brussels and Strasbourg. There's no democracy about it.
The uncomfortable truth is that, if Britain wants to decide its own energy policies, it has to do more than complain to 'Dave'. The 100 Tory MPs can whistle in the dark, their party is not going to change its mind. Have people forgotten this little video?
When Cameron announced this policy, did they think it would create lower bills? Instead it has allowed people with room on their rooftops to simply take cash from poorer people. I can count the names of 21 MPs on the letter to Dave, who voted for the Climate Change Act in 2008. What did they think was going to happen? Did they really think that the windfarms would only appear in other MP's constituencies?
People need to understand this... The Conservative Party is not going to change its mind about the climate change act, the EU, and wind farms. You might as well ask the windmills to dismantle themselves.
There is a party which does stand against wind farms, however. I suggest that the 100 MP's who have at last found their voice get in touch.