Are wind turbines the way to go, or a lot of hot air?

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We were up in Anglesey, North Wales visiting friends recently and couldn’t help noticing how giant wind turbines dot the green fields like something out of War of the Worlds.

There are several ‘wind farms’ on the island and plenty more turbines rising out of the sea en route, off the coast of Llandudno.

It got me thinking what this part of the country would look like if rows of turbines were to spring up in the Solent, or along the top of Portsdown Hill.

Some people love them – an admittedly biased energy secretary Chris Huhne has apparently called them ‘tremendously beautiful’ and the ‘windmills of our age’.

But there are plenty more who think they’re plain ugly and a blot on the landscape.

However, aside from the debate over aesthetics, what is really important here is whether they are any good at generating power.

The coalition government wants to reduce the country’s carbon emissions by 20 per cent before 2020 and we’re being sold the line that wind power is the way to go.

But can wind turbines really provide enough energy to make a difference and justify their politically-correct existence?

Lord Lawson, chairman of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, clearly doesn’t think so. He calls them ‘absolutely pointless’. Not exactly a ringing endorsement by the former Chancellor, is it?

Then we learn that two-thirds of the 3,419 wind turbines in the UK are owned by foreign firms who are coining it in to the tune of £500m in subsidies funded by us taxpayers via our power bills.

And to put the tin hat on it, a leaked letter to David Cameron from his energy adviser, Ben Moxham, shows that the government’s slavish support for green energy is going to cost us all even dearer.

Higher charges for renewable electricity would reportedly add about £300 to average annual domestic energy bills.

It makes you wonder. Are these turbines for our benefit, or a profit-making exercise for firms happy to milk our government’s generous incentives?

And are claims that they can meet a good part of our future energy needs just a lot of hot air?