AN MP will today launch a campaign aimed at stopping any further wind farms from being built in the region.
Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson is taking action after E.ON announced plans that could see England’s biggest wind farm built in his constituency.
The energy firm will launch a formal consultation on August 31, with three proposals to be considered – for either 29, 30 or 45 turbines – on a site east of Newton Aycliffe.
E.ON say 45 turbines could produce up to 115MW of energy, enough to power 53,000 homes, and has pledged a £460,000-a-year community benefits fund.
However, Mr Wilson believes the area already has too many wind farms and claims E.ON’s community offer is paltry compared to what it will receive in subsidy.
He said: “E.ON will take a great deal out of the pockets of the local community and pay us back with peanuts.
“The income from the Isles wind farm for E.ON will be over £575m over 25 years, of which £311m will be out of the pockets of the consumer in subsidy.”
Mr Wilson said it amounts to consumers paying £235 per year in subsidy and receiving £8.60 back through the community fund.
Dr John Constable, of the Renewable Energy Foundation, criticised the subsidy system he said will see E.ON receive £50 for each MWh produced, plus the £42 market value.
He said: “It’s mind-blowingly expensive at a time when everybody is facing such difficulties.
“These subsidies are being generated entirely by the consumer, but let’s not forget we’re talking about commercial and industrial consumers too.
“So where you have industry that consumes a lot of energy, combined with tight profit margins, these subsidies could be costing more jobs than the Government tells us the low-carbon economy is generating.”
A spokesman for E.ON said it was early days for the Isles proposals and the firm wanted to get as many people as possible involved to help shape it.
He said: “We believe the site is an excellent location for a wind farm and, as such, could make a major contribution towards the Government’s renewable energy targets.”
Mr Wilson will launch his campaign in Mordon Parish Hall, at 11.30am.