Is this the chop for the cute woolly lamb?September 7th, 2009 by Barry Potier
New proposals announced last week by Energy Secretary Ed Miliband are set to unblock delays in the connection of renewable energy developments to the national grid. Around 60 gigawatts of power capacity across the UK is now awaiting connection.
The fortunes of hill sheep farming have changed dramatically as a result of booming prices at the autumn sheep sales. Despite improved profits from sheep, the best enterprise for a hill farm is still a group of wind turbines.
Wind turbines can generate £8-10,000/megawatt, so the bigger turbines can leave the landowner £16-20,000 of income every year. In other words, a group of a dozen or so wind turbines, in the right location, can generate an annual income of £0.25 million. You have to keep a lot of sheep to beat that and that is why the race is on to generate power from wind turbines.
If all of our hill farmers decide to switch to wind power production, what’s going to happen to our 30 million sheep? I would much prefer to see frolicking lambs rather than hills topped with wind turbines. And what effect would it have on the nation’s meat industry? Are we becoming a nation so obsessed with wind turbines that we’re going to bring about the demise of the cute woolly lamb?