Rees- Mogg sees the light – on wind and more

Barry White

To see the business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg writing in The Guardian may come as a surprise to some. To read him praising renewables might make you reach for the bottle! But in this age of unpredictable politics (almost) nothing surprises even from a politician who earlier this month said that opposition to fracking was “hysteria” often based around the public not understanding science, and even suggesting that some opposing groups are funded by Russia. He also he would be “delighted” for his back garden to be fracked, “…particularly if I get these royalties” and derided those who oppose the controversial fracking practice as “socialists”.

Jacob Rees-Mogg is MP for North East Somerset, and I’ve never actually seen this ‘back garden’ but I guess the garden he was referring to was not in his £5 million London pad behind Westminster Abbey, but his Grade II listed Georgian mansion, Gournay Court in West Harptree, North Somerset, believed to be over 250 years old, and dating from around 1600.  From photos I can’t judge the size of his garden, but it likely to be ‘substantial’.

Below is an extract of what he wrote about onshore wind, solar expansion, grid connection and the price of renewable energy. This may come a surprise to some given what the present Prime Minister said during her election campaign, that she had set her sights on limiting or reversing solar farms and onshore wind power, see:

Rees-Mogg writes  “…The government will also align onshore wind planning policy with other infrastructure to allow it to be deployed more easily in England. We understand the strength of feeling that some people have about the impact of wind turbines in England. The plans will maintain local communities’ ability to contribute to proposals, including developing local partnerships for communities that wish to see new onshore wind infrastructure in return for benefits such as lower energy bills.

“We are exploring options to support low-cost finance to help householders with the upfront costs of solar installation, permitted development rights to support deployment of more small-scale solar in commercial settings and designing performance standards to further encourage renewables, including solar PV, in new homes and buildings.

“We also need to focus on another key part of our energy infrastructure, reinforcing the grid so that renewable electricity can be transported to homes and businesses all over the country. Grid connection can often be on the critical path for getting new renewable infrastructure online, which is why I am committed to significantly reducing timelines for building new network infrastructure. But in exchange for the unprecedented support that is being offered to renewable energy companies, they must charge consumers and taxpayers a fair price for the energy they produce.

“By separating the price of renewable energy from the most expensive form of production, which today is gas, and moving these companies on to Contracts for Difference, the government is providing the renewables sector with long-term stability and a sensible price that is fair to the industry and consumers alike…”

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