The comments were made by the Duke during a conversation with Infinergy, a company which builds and operates turbines at a reception in London.

According to Infinergy’s managing director Esbjorn Wilmar, Prince Philip said that onshore wind turbines are “absolutely useless, completely reliant on subsidies and an absolute disgrace”.

Mr Wilmar added that his view that onshore wind farms are one of the most cost-effective forms of renewable energy was slammed by the Prince, who said they would “never work as they need back-up capacity”.

It is thought the Duke’s main complaint against onshore wind farms is their reliance on subsidies and the fact that they are considered by critics to be an eyesore and a cause of noise pollution.

However, the Royal Family’s £7bn land and property portfolio the Crown Estate, which owns almost the entire seabed off Britain’s coastline, is set to earn millions of pounds from offshore wind farms.

A subsidiary of Dutch company KDE Energy Infinergy says it has plans in place to build a number of onshore farms across the country and claims that its onshore turbines rely less on subsidiaries than offshore turbines as the construction costs are less.

The use of onshore wind farms was debated by MPs earlier this year (February 10), with the energy minister Charles Hendry saying that wind power should be a part of the UK’s energy portfolio.

Many communities have opposed the building of farms in their area arguing against the visual and noise impact the turbines would cause. However, Mr Hendry argued that wind power has many cost advantages, including the security of supply that fossil fuels don’t provide.

Speaking at the annual renewable conference last month (October) energy secretary Chris Huhne criticised renewables skeptics, saying that the government is backing renewable industries and aims to make the UK the largest offshore wind market in Europe.

He said: “Industry must carry on making the case for renewables. Engaging with communities – and answering its critics by delivering renewable schemes that save money and save carbon.
Government must break through the barriers that are stopping new schemes being built, overcoming the financial, planning and delivery hurdles that can hold up progress on renewables.”
The UK currently has a total of 3,421 turbines, with 2,941 onshore and there are proposals in place by the Government to build a further 4,500.

However, edie blogger and retired scientist Richards Phillips disagrees with claims made by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) that the UK has “outstanding” wind resources, arguing that winds below 8-10mph produce “no significant amount of electricity”.

Results from a MET office histogram, says Mr Phillips show that in the UK the wind blows at 14 mph for slightly less 40 days per year, which he adds at this speed the turbine is producing about 20% of its full power.

The Buckingham Palace Press Office said the Duke would not be commenting on the conversation.

Carys Matthews

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