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” Renewable Energy Foundation (REF)” – strongly linked to anti-wind power lobby

Charity linked to UK anti-onshore wind campaigns active again. While the
name of the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) suggests it is a charity
dedicated to promoting low-carbon electricity, it appears to spend most of
its time campaigning against onshore wind.

When it was founded in 2004,
with the TV personality Noel Edmonds as its chair, the organisation was
clear it wanted to fight against the “grotesque political push” for
onshore renewable energy in the UK. It styles itself on its website as “a
registered charity promoting sustainable development for the benefit of the
public by means of energy conservation and the use of renewable energy”.

However, many in the energy sector believe the charity to be full of
anti-wind lobbyists. In 2008, the REF had what it described as a
“dialogue” with the Charity Commission over whether it was violating
its charitable status by being too political in its campaigning. The
Charity Commission said it assessed the complaint relating to the REF’s
campaigning activities and determined there was no evidence that it was not
charitable, but also provided guidance about how to achieve its objectives
as an organisation.

The REF has strong links to a group accused of climate
science scepticism, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, started by the
former chancellor Nigel Lawson, who has denied global heating is a problem.
Prof Michael Kelly, a trustee of the REF also has a position on the board
of the GWPF. John Constable, an adviser to the GWPF, has been quoted as an
REF spokesperson and was previously its director of policy and research.
Constable answered the Guardian’s questions for this article on behalf of
the REF.

While the REF has been relatively quiet in recent years, growing
pressure on the government to support wind energy to help solve the energy
crisis seems to have led to it becoming more active again. In recent weeks,
the charity has provided anti-onshore wind research to the Telegraph and
Daily Mail. Colin Davie, a trustee of the REF, has appeared on Radio 4’s
Today programme to oppose onshore wind. Constable added that the REF had
“no blanket policy” on renewables – but that the charity did not see
them as a large part of the net zero strategy. He added: “Each proposal
must be judged on its own merits, and providing that local environmental
concerns offer no obstacle, niche applications may be suitable, as they may
be for all renewables.”

 Guardian 5th April 2022


April 7, 2022 - Posted by | Education, renewable, UK

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