Library filed under Energy Policy from UK
Scotland used to be a remarkably wild, unspoilt place. Not any more, though. There’s now only 40 per cent of Scotland left where wind turbines are not blighting the view. (And already that figure is out of date because lots more turbines have sprung up since like skeletons in Jason of the Argonauts, and many more are planned). And let’s not forget the human cost: all those Scots whose rural tranquillity and health have been jeopardised by these bat-chomping, bird-slicing, subsidy-troughing eco crucifixes.
A wind turbine manufacturer based in Wales is set to close later this year, after talks to sell the renewable energy business collapsed. Mabey Bridge confirmed in a statement yesterday that employees have now been told of the proposed closure despite "exhaustive" attempts to sell the business as a going concern.
“Ministers have been clear that onshore wind energy developments should only get the go-ahead if it is supported by local people through local and neighbourhood plans. Developers will continue to have the right to appeal planning decisions, But any appeal would have to take into account this clear requirement for local backing.”
A huge new wind farm project appears to be hanging in the balance after a Government announcement that it is to end a subsidy scheme a year earlier than expected. ...But the Institute of Mechanical Engineers said the Government move was welcome and onshore wind turbines were an intermittent and expensive way to generate low carbon energy.
After the RO shuts, the only possible subsidies for wind farms will be through a new scheme that is less generous and also much more strictly rationed, with ministers deciding how many projects – if any - are awarded subsidy contracts, enabling them to block further onshore wind if desired.
The new rules are expected to include a greater weighting towards the views of the community when it comes to a local authority planning committee making its final decision. Cornhill farmer Andrew Joicey, who has previously challenged wind-farm applications in Northumberland said: “We’ve heard promises like this before so we are cautiously optimistic.
As the UK's new Conservative government bedded down following its triumph in the elections last week, it has reaffirmed its conviction to fight climate change, to the relief of environmental pressure groups.
The new Government says it is committed to long-term and legally binding goals to cut carbon emissions. However, it has consistently emphasised the key role it expects improvements in energy efficiency – as opposed to green energy – to play in hitting those targets. It has also insisted that renewable power – which remains more expensive than fossil-fuel power – must be “cost-effective”.
The Conservative win is unlikely to affect offshore wind. However, a commitment to stem the growth of the onshore wind power was a key focus in the party's manifesto.
The party’s election manifesto pledged to end "any new public subsidy" for onshore wind farms and to "change the law so that local people have the final say on wind farm applications". This follows an increasing level of intervention on wind farm applications by communities secretary Eric Pickles in the months running up to the election.
Because these subsidies are funded by levies on energy bills, rather than by tax, these costs are regressive. In other words they unfairly penalise the poor, who spend more money proportionately on energy bills than the rich. In fact, climate policy costs are so high that they threaten standards of living across the whole population and will inevitably cause public disenchantment, jeopardising reasonable efforts to provide an affordable and effective insurance policy against climate change.
Mr Chope said he wanted to stop further developments like the Navitus Bay wind farm proposed near his Christchurch constituency. He said: "This Bill ... would ensure such obscenities would not be able to be brought forward again in the future with all the uncertainty that generates for local people.
The UK wind debate assumes that wind farms operate at roughly their average output most of the time. According to this new paper by Dr. Capell Aris’, this assumption is not true. Power comes only extremely intermittently and variably and there are long periods of negligible efficiency, particularly during the long winter months when power is most needed. A 10GW wind fleet would need approximately 9.5GW of fossil capacity to guarantee its output. A summary from the report of Dr. Aris' findings is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
The very idea that an advanced economy such as ours faces an energy crisis within the next few years should attract the most urgent attention of our political leaders. Yet we appear to be drifting into a situation of great seriousness because they are all wedded to unrealistic decarbonisation targets that none seems willing to revisit.
Ministers cut forecasts of gas prices for the rest of the decade by as much as a fifth, meaning green energy will remain relatively far more costly. ...“Year after year [energy secretary] Ed Davey has been banging on that one of the core reasons [for backing green energy] is to protect ourselves against inevitably high and volatile fossil fuel prices. Now their own forecasts are saying fossil fuel prices are going to be very affordable,” he said.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the Department of Energy (Decc) had failed to adequately secure best value for consumers by awarding five offshore wind projects and three biomass schemes their contracts early without competition. Decc’s own economic case shows no clear benefit from awarding the contracts early.
By awarding them early, and using more than half the budget for the contracts in the process, the government has hampered price competition, reduced the opportunity to test the market and failed to defend consumer interests, the Committee of Public Accounts said. The beneficiaries include Drax Group Plc, Dong Energy A/S, SSE Plc, Statoil ASA and Statkraft AS.
Currently, Scottish projects get support though a nationwide program known as the renewables obligation, which may have no mandate north of the border if the two countries were split. Scotland exports as much as a quarter of its electricity and has about 43 percent of the U.K.’s wind power capacity. About 13 gigawatts of power projects are on the drawing board currently in Scotland, about 15 percent of total U.K. capacity.
The highest payment of £11.1 million was paid over three years to ScottishPower, a Spanish-owned firm, which operates the Whitelee wind farm, around 10 miles from Glasgow. The disclosures prompted claims that the Government has failed to “rein in” the amounts being demanded by wind farm owners to turn off their turbines to stop the electricity network becoming overloaded.
Green policies imposed by Brussels are endangering 1.5m UK jobs by saddling manufacturers with high energy costs. A report published on Wednesday says that EU policies are to blame for up to 9 per cent of costs on energy bills for industrial companies and warns this could rise to 16 per cent by 2030.