The energy secretary is planning a huge expansion of green energy, with up to 32,000 new wind turbines and many thousands of transmission pylons as it struggles to meet green targets.
A report by the Department of Energy and Climate Change says the huge expansion is necessary if Britain is to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets.
Chris Huhne, the energy secretary wants to convert all Britain’s vehicles and homes to run on electricity by 2050, the Sunday Times reported. This will require a sharp increase in electricity generation by as much as double, with almost all coming from low-carbon sources such as wind and nuclear power.
There are currently 3,000 onshore turbines and several hundred offshore. They have helped cut carbon emissions but generate just 1-2pc of the nation’s power.
The programme risks transforming Britain’s wild landscapes, with an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 turbines needed onshore and up to 25,000 required offshore, with many visible from land.
Until there are dramatic increases in solar and wave power technology wind turbines and nuclear are regarded the most viable green energy sources.
Currently there are 43 new wind parks under construction housing 1,251 turbines. Councils have granted approval to a further 2,115 at 245 wind warms.
Huhne’s carbon plan proposes that in 20 years renewable energy, mainly wind, should have been expanded tenfold from 5 gigawatts to 50GW, providing 40 per cent of power by 2030. One nuclear plant a year should be built from 2019, the plan says.
By 2050 renewable power generation may have to rise to 80GW, roughly equal to Britain’s entire current generating capacity.
Huhne also wants all Britain’s 30 million petrol and diesel cars powered by batteries by 2050, under the plan to cut emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. He wants road transport emissions cut from 130 m tons of CO2 a year to 20
Chris Huhne told the newspaper: “The carbon plan is a road map for a new industrial revolution in which low-carbon electricity powers the economy and protects us from reliance on imports from volatile parts of the world.”
Gaynor Hartnell, of the Renewable Energy Association, a trade body for companies involved in green power, said: “If we are going to meet the 80% carbon reduction target, then we have to transform our power systems. Renewable energy is diffuse and takes a lot more space to generate energy, so we have to accept it will be in our face more and there will be an impact on our landscapes.”