Library filed under Taxes & Subsidies from Europe

Less For More: The Rube Goldberg Nature of Industrial Wind Development

Less_for_more_thumb Rube Goldberg would admire the utter purity of the pretensions of wind technology in pursuit of a safer modern world, claiming to be saving the environment while wreaking havoc upon it. But even he might be astonished by the spin of wind industry spokesmen. Consider the comments made by the American Wind Industry Association.s Christina Real de Azua in the wake of the virtual nonperformance of California.s more than 13,000 wind turbines in mitigating the electricity crisis precipitated by last July.s .heat storm.. .You really don.t count on wind energy as capacity,. she said. .It is different from other technologies because it can.t be dispatched.. (84) The press reported her comments solemnly without question, without even a risible chortle. Because they perceive time to be running out on fossil fuels, and the lure of non-polluting wind power is so seductive, otherwise sensible people are promoting it at any cost, without investigating potential negative consequences-- and with no apparent knowledge of even recent environmental history or grid operations. Eventually, the pedal of wishful thinking and political demagoguery will meet the renitent metal of reality in the form of the Second Law of Thermodynamics (85) and public resistance, as it has in Denmark and Germany. Ironically, support for industrial wind energy because of a desire for reductions in fossil-fueled power and their polluting emissions leads ineluctably to nuclear power, particularly under pressure of relentlessly increasing demand for reliable electricity. Environmentalists who demand dependable power generation at minimum environmental risk should take care about what they wish for, more aware that, with Rube Goldberg machines, the desired outcome is unlikely to be achieved. Subsidies given to industrial wind technology divert resources that could otherwise support effective measures, while uninformed rhetoric on its behalf distracts from the discourse.and political action-- necessary for achieving more enlightened policy.
20 Dec 2006

Less For More: The Rube Goldberg Nature of Industrial Wind Development

Less_for_more_thumb Rube Goldberg would admire the utter purity of the pretensions of wind technology in pursuit of a safer modern world, claiming to be saving the environment while wreaking havoc upon it. But even he might be astonished by the spin of wind industry spokesmen. Consider the comments made by the American Wind Industry Association.s Christina Real de Azua in the wake of the virtual nonperformance of California.s more than 13,000 wind turbines in mitigating the electricity crisis precipitated by last July.s .heat storm.. .You really don.t count on wind energy as capacity,. she said. .It is different from other technologies because it can.t be dispatched.. (84) The press reported her comments solemnly without question, without even a risible chortle. Because they perceive time to be running out on fossil fuels, and the lure of non-polluting wind power is so seductive, otherwise sensible people are promoting it at any cost, without investigating potential negative consequences-- and with no apparent knowledge of even recent environmental history or grid operations. Eventually, the pedal of wishful thinking and political demagoguery will meet the renitent metal of reality in the form of the Second Law of Thermodynamics (85) and public resistance, as it has in Denmark and Germany. Ironically, support for industrial wind energy because of a desire for reductions in fossil-fueled power and their polluting emissions leads ineluctably to nuclear power, particularly under pressure of relentlessly increasing demand for reliable electricity. Environmentalists who demand dependable power generation at minimum environmental risk should take care about what they wish for, more aware that, with Rube Goldberg machines, the desired outcome is unlikely to be achieved. Subsidies given to industrial wind technology divert resources that could otherwise support effective measures, while uninformed rhetoric on its behalf distracts from the discourse.and political action-- necessary for achieving more enlightened policy.
20 Dec 2006

National grid will totter in the prevailing wind

The real message of the REF reports, however, is, first, that wind is so unreliable that we would have to build up to a dozen new conventional power stations just to provide backup for all the intended turbines when the wind is not blowing; and, second, that the more we depend on the unpredictable wind, the more this will destabilise the grid, threatening its breakdown. This was confirmed by another recent report, from UCTE, Europe’s principal grid authority, on the power failure that blacked out much of western Europe on November 4. A significant factor in that collapse of the grid was the growing difficulty of accommodating Germany’s dependence on 18,000 turbines for 6 per cent of its power.
17 Dec 2006

Calls for action against misleading ‘green’ energy claims by fuel giants

Consumer groups last night called for action to be taken against Britain's household energy suppliers who make misleading and confusing environmental claims. Companies such as British Gas, ScottishPower, and Scottish and Southern Energy entice customers to sign up to their services by claiming that, by paying or agreeing to "a green tariff", they are giving something back to the environment. In return for signing up to a "green tariff" energy plan, the supplier will either plant a tree or obtain energy from renewable sources. In some cases the tariffs cost nothing, but in other cases there can be a £10 to £20 a year surcharge. The National Consumer Council (NCC) and the consumer watchdog, energywatch, called on Britain's household energy suppliers to be more honest and upfront about their green tariff plans. They have also called on the government and energy service regulatory body Ofgem (Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) to make sure all their environmental claims are independently audited.
14 Dec 2006

Consumer groups urge action to stem tide of misleading ‘green’ energy claims

The National Consumer Council and the consumer watchdog, energywatch, today call on Britain’s household energy suppliers to be more honest and upfront about their ‘green’ tariffs – and to spell out clearly what the environmental benefits really are. The call comes as NCC publishes an investigation into the environmental credentials of green tariffs on offer in this country. NCC’s research shows that while many consumers say they’re happy to pay a premium for green energy, most green tariffs don’t live up to the environmental benefits claimed.
13 Dec 2006

Research brings clarity to UK renewables sector

Campbell Dunford, CEO of REF, said: “This important modelling exercise shows that even with best efforts a large wind carpet in the UK would have a low capacity credit, and be a real handful to manage. This isn’t the best way to encourage China and India to move towards the low-carbon economy. As a matter of urgency, for the planet’s sake, we need to bring forward a much broader range of low carbon generating technologies, including the full sweep of renewables. Wind has a place, but it must not be allowed to squeeze out other technologies that have more to offer.”
9 Dec 2006

Windfarm industry faces new challenge

Hundreds of millions of pounds are being wasted on wind farms which will have no real impact on providing Britain’s future energy supply - and are damaging public support for going green, campaigners claimed last night.The Renewable Energy Foundation claims the Government is wrongly handing over a sixth of its subsidy fund - currently worth £500 million - to companies running on-shore turbines. In 2002-05, more than £167 million went to wind farm firms. The REF pressure group says wind farms “are not giving value for money” and wants an overhaul of the subsidy system. It claims the unreliable weather means wind power is unlikely ever to play a major part in meeting the demand for electricity
9 Dec 2006

UK Renewable Energy Data: Issue 1 (08.12.06): Vol. 5: Wind

Uk_renewable_energy_data_thumb Editor's Note: The following are selected excerpts from the Renewable Energy Foundation press release describing this research. The full press release is available via the link below. Using the new research it is now possible to assess how renewable generators up and down the country are performing. This data, published in five online files; Biomass, Hydro, Landfill Gas, Sewage Gas and Windpower, shows that firm generators are producing high load factors with carefully designed resource use and load following. However in the wind sector, far and away the most active of all the technologies at present, results vary enormously due to location. The capacities offshore are encouraging, whilst those onshore are generally only superior in locations very distant from the populations requiring the electrical energy. Although most sites were built on expected capacity factors of around 30%, results include; 19% (approx) capacity factor for the wind turbines at Dagenham, Essex. 9% (approx) capacity factor at the Barnard Castle plant, County Durham. The best performing wind sites are in the north of Scotland, and on Shetland the wind turbines are producing capacity factors of over 50%. Using this analysis of the Ofgem data, researchers have also calibrated a model predicting how a large installed capacity of wind power built across the UK would actually perform. The project used Meteorological Office data to model output for every hour of every January from 1994-2006. The startling results show that, even when distributed UK wide, the output is still highly volatile. The average January power variation over the last 12 years is 94% of installed capacity. It is an uncontrolled variation decided by the weather. The average minimum output is only 3.7% or 0.9GW in a 25GW system. Power swings of 70% in 30 hours are the norm in January. The governments’ expectation is that three quarters of the 2010 renewables target, and the lion’s share of the ‘20% by 2020’ target will be made up of windpower.[2] However, the new research offers predictions which are in keeping with Danish and German empirical experience and demonstrate the need for a broader spread of investment in the renewable sector. The report was commissioned from Oswald Consultancy Limited and funded by donation from the green entrepreneur Vincent Tchenguiz. Campbell Dunford, CEO of REF, said: “This important modelling exercise shows that even with best efforts a large wind carpet in the UK would have a low capacity credit, and be a real handful to manage. This isn’t the best way to encourage China and India to move towards the low-carbon economy. As a matter of urgency, for the planet’s sake, we need to bring forward a much broader range of low carbon generating technologies, including the full sweep of renewables. Wind has a place, but it must not be allowed to squeeze out other technologies that have more to offer.”
8 Dec 2006

Spain proposes to slash wind subsidies

Spain plans to cut subsidies for wind power generation, while increasing support for other renewables. Under the proposals, wind generators would see their feed-in tariffs reduced from about €97 ($129) per megawatt hour to between €67 and €87/MWh. However, the government proposes boosting the level of support for other technologies, such as solar. “Wind power subsidies were exaggeratedly high,” said Spanish energy minister, Ignasi Nieto, “especially since the technology has developed in the last year and costs have fallen.”
7 Dec 2006

UK industry wary of renewables reform

Government proposals to reform the UK’s tradable renewable certificate system to support more technologies could be a risky gamble, according to Pöyry Energy Consulting. Richard Slark, principle consultant at Pöyry, told EFP Online: “There’s a very high compliance case, or a very low compliance case and nothing in the middle.” He was speaking following an Energy Institute conference in London on Tuesday. Ostensibly about the future of the renewables industry after 2020, the event was dominated by debate over proposals to reform or even replace the Renewables Obligation (RO).
7 Dec 2006

Spain govt to cut investment for wind energy investments by over 50 pct - report

Spain’s Industry Ministry plans to cut the premium on investment in wind energy installations by over 50 pct, Bolsacinco reported, citing unnamed sector sources. According to the website, Energy Secretary General Ignasi Nieto has now submitted the definitive regulations on the wind energy investment, proposing a premium of 17.4 eur per Mwh during the first five years of investment in a wind farm, which will then fall to 10 eur during the following 10 years.
1 Dec 2006

Spain govt guarantees average 7 pct return on investment for wind farms

The Industry Ministry said the new regulatory framework for the renewable energy sector guarantees an average 7 pct return on investment in wind energy and hydro-electric installations under the regulated tariff system. In a statement, the ministry said the average return on investment will be 5-9 pct if the installations participate in the electricity generation market.
29 Nov 2006

Endesa building French wind farm

Spanish utility Endesa SA said Monday a subsidiary is building a 10 megawatt wind farm in France. The company is investing 13.4 million euro ($17.6 million) in the wind farm in Brittany, a region in the Northwest of France. Endesa said revenue from the wind farm is guaranteed, a result of a 2001 French decree that utility Electricite de France must buy all energy produced by wind farms.
27 Nov 2006

Irish raise renewable energy target as EU debate heats up

Irish minister for communications, marine and natural resources Noel Dempsey has set a target to treble the contribution made by renewable energy from 5percent to 15percent of electricity produced by 2010. His announcement came at the launch of a new publication called Renewable Energy Development 2006. The report provides a broad overview of current policies in the field of renewable energy and serves as a concise introduction to the topical issues and challenges in the area.
15 Nov 2006

Do green tariffs help the planet?

Thousands of us are signing up to plans from energy suppliers that promise to provide our energy from renewable sources. But while green tariffs might ease our consciences, do they actually make any difference to the environment? Under green tariffs, energy suppliers promise to match your electricity use by putting the same amount of energy from renewable sources – mostly wind farms – back into the national grid. But environmental groups are not certain of the schemes’ green credentials. Friends of the Earth used to produce a league table of green tariffs, ranking them according to their benefit to the environment. However, it has now ceased the exercise because it says it has become impossible to accurately gauge how much good the schemes do.
27 Oct 2006

Going green is not cheap

Cutting household carbon emissions has full government support, in theory. But try taking bigger steps to turn your house into an eco-home and you end up generating more heat under your collar than anywhere else. As Jeanette Winterson writes, going green is not only hard work but also excruciatingly expensive because the Government is doing little to help in real terms. In her determination to use eco-friendly building methods when renovating her cottage, the author discovered that, rather than providing incentives, the Government is taxing homeowners trying to do the right thing, adding thousands to the cost of installing rainwater harvesting systems and geothermal energy.
27 Oct 2006

Denmark seeks EU renewable energy trading scheme

The European Union should adopt binding energy savings targets and look into launching a new trading scheme to encourage businesses to use renewable energy sources, Denmark’s prime minister said on Friday. Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Reuters the 25-nation bloc, struggling to reduce rising dependency on imported gas and oil, should follow Denmark’s example as it develops a common energy policy at a time of high fuel prices and growing global demand.
20 Oct 2006

http://www.windaction.org/posts?location=Europe&p=21&topic=Taxes+%26+Subsidies
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