Prince Philip dismisses wind farms as 'a useless disgrace' and says people who back them believe in a 'fairy tale branding them ‘absolutely useless’.
In comments that put him sharply at odds with the Government, the Prince reportedly said the farms were a ‘disgrace’ and they would never work.
He also described people who backed them as believing in a ‘fairy tale’
The Prince’s views will be welcomed by critics who say the wind turbines, which can be up to 300ft tall, are noisy, spoil the countryside and drive up energy bills.
But the Government is determined to increase the proportion of electricity produced by the turbines as part of its environmentally friendly energy policies.
Energy Secretary Chris Huhne last month denounced opponents of the plans as ‘curmudgeons and fault-finders’ and praised the turbines as ‘elegant’ and ‘beautiful
There are currently 3,421 turbines in England 2,941 of them onshore. A further 4,500 are planned over the next few years. The Prince is said to have voiced his views in a private conversation with an executive for a leading wind farm company at a recent reception in London.
According to today’s Sunday Telegraph, he told Esbjorn Wilmar, managing director of Infinergy, a firm that builds and operates turbines, that they were over-reliant on subsidies.
The newspaper quoted Mr Wilmar as saying: ‘He said they were absolutely useless, completely reliant on subsidies and an absolute disgrace. He said, “You don’t believe in fairy tales, do you?
‘He said that they would never work as they need back-up capacity. I was surprised by his very frank views.’
It was disclosed last year that electricity customers are paying an average of £90 a year to subsidise wind farms along with other forms of renewable energy and energy efficiency schemes as part of a Government scheme to meet carbon-reduction targets.
Mr Wilmar said one of the main reasons the Duke thought onshore wind farms to be ‘a very bad idea’ was their reliance on such subsidies.
The financial incentives being offered to green energy developers have led landowners – including the Duke of Gloucester, the Queen’s cousin – to look to build wind farms on their estates.
Prince Philip said he would never consider allowing his land to be used for turbines and complained about their impact on the countryside.
Mr Wilmar said: ‘He said he thought that they’re not nice at all for the landscape.’
The Duke’s comments echo the views of his son Prince Charles, who has refused to have any built on his Duchy of Cornwall land.
However, while they are opposed to onshore wind farms, the Royal Family stands to earn millions of pounds from those placed offshore.
Last year, the Crown Estate, the £7 billion land and property portfolio, approved an increase in the number of sites around the coast of England.
The Crown Estate owns almost all of the seabed off Britain’s 7,700-mile coastline.
Experts predict the growth in offshore wind farms could be worth £250 million a year.
Buckingham Palace said it did not comment on private conversations