Library filed under Energy Policy from UK
“Transitioning to a zero carbon grid and increasing the penetration of intermittent, renewable generation means that conditions on the grid can become more volatile." ...But this boom in wind has also meant that constraint management is becoming increasingly challenging and expensive. In the first six weeks of 2020, National Grid made £55.7 million worth of payments for constraint management, almost half of the total of £130 million paid in 2019.
The customers who were able to pop on a middle-of-the-night laundry load could have earned a renewables windfall of between 1p and 5p for every kWh of electricity they used, rather than spending double this rate to run appliances for only a few hours later.
The focus shifted to offshore wind farms, and the new Contracts for Difference scheme for their subsidy. A kind of reverse auction, it encouraged operators to put in unfeasibly low bids for the prices at which offshore wind farms would generate. While many have heralded the apparently huge drop in offshore costs, no wind farms have actually begun operating at this rate. Industry experts doubt they ever will, suspecting the low offers were a ruse to lock out competition and then blackmail the government on pain of bankruptcy if the price is not raised. The days where developers saw a prospective wind farm as a licence to print money while policymakers extolled wind energy as clean, green and free are long gone.
Since 2015 there has been a steady erosion of this policy framework: energy efficiency spending has been cut, the cheapest forms of renewables have been locked out of the CfD auctions, support for small scale renewables has been slashed, and plans for renewable heat, new nuclear, and CCS have edged forward at the most glacial of paces.
More than 60 wind farms – most in Scotland – were compensated on October 8. The payouts topped the previous high of £3.4million, sparking fresh criticism of the Scottish Government’s ‘green’ agenda. In very windy conditions, the National Grid cannot cope with the extra energy turbines produce, so firms get ‘constraint payments’ to temporarily shut them down.
'It’s very clear there is a very substantial downward trend in new investment, which is across the board in terms of investment in clean technology ranging from big wind farms right down to the effective collapse of the solar market'
The United Kingdom has has taken steps to reduce the financial burden of supporting renewable energy in the country. The Government introduced its new Low Carbon Levies (LCL) framework which was designed to control the cost of supporting low carbon electricity paid by consumers on their electric bills. The plan addresses the costs of the 'Contracts for Difference' (CFD), the 'Renewable Obligation' (RO) and the 'Feed in Tariff Scheme' (FiTs). The government asserted that it will monitor the total cost of these programs and, "Until the total burden of these costs is forecast to fall in real terms over a sustained period, the Control will not allow for new low carbon electricity levies to be introduced. Based on the current forecast, ...this will rule out new levy spend until 2025." The portion of the Government document is provided below. The full report can be accessed by clicking the links on this page.
Wind farm owners in Scotland are making out like bandits; Since 2010, we’ve paid £328m to wind farms not to generate - most of them in Scotland; Westminster must stop Holyrood from consenting new wind farms and extensions.
Former Environment Secretary and Tory MP Owen Paterson told The Daily Telegraph he would be “very happy” to see the back of the green energy directive. He added: “It's distorting the whole energy market. It's like the Sheriff of Nottingham – it transfers money from my poorest constituents to my wealthiest constituents who are putting up pointless wind turbines heavily subsidised.”
“Our view now is that decarbonisation has a cost to domestic users and businesses and our focus now is on ‘how much can industry bear before it is too much, and decides to go elsewhere?’”
Nervous renewables firms are expecting hundreds of jobs to be lost in Scotland over the coming year as state support for green technology development falls.
Between 2008 and 2015, the average electricity bill rose by 22pc. Over the same period, the price of hydrocarbon fuels used by power stations fell sharply – coal down by 33pc and gas by 13pc. The rise in electricity prices is wholly attributable to government policies.
Oil and gas entrepreneur Algy Cluff has said the Government could provide a multi-billion pound boost to the hard-pressed North Sea industry by cutting the subsidies provided for offshore wind farms.
Incoming Prime Minister Theresa May has driven a stake through the heart of her predecessor David Cameron’s fluffy, faux-Conservative project by scrapping the Department of Energy And Climate Change (DECC).
Siemens has warned its plans to eventually export wind turbine blades from the UK will have to be put on hold because of last week’s Brexit vote.
"The question as to whether support for low-carbon technologies will be withdrawn is a fundamental one. How UK governments from now use their freedom from EU policy constraints will be watched closely."
Highland anti-windfarm campaigner Lyndsey Ward said: “These are mind-boggling sums of money that enriches the already wealthy wind multinationals to not generate electricity – and it comes out of our pockets. “It’s time to end this madness.”
Opposition peers successfully argued for an amendment to the bill, tabled by Liberal Democrat Baroness Kate Parminter, that would extend the grace period for projects that command local support and were at an advanced stage of development.
The Tories – who are currently vying for second place in the polls with Labour – have committed themselves to giving communities the “right to decide” on windfarm developments in their area. Massive wind schemes throughout the north and north-east of Scotland have sparked a widespread backlash from local residents, concerned that turbines are damaging rural landscapes and hurting tourism.
Since we have had no energy planning or researched strategy in place since 1990 the reality is that we need to keep ageing nuclear stations operating to supply base load as we cannot reliably depend on the outputs from renewable sources (predominantly wind) into which we have blindly and ignorantly invested so much.