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Householders pay ‘green' bill

Household electricity bills are being used to subsidise massive profits for wind turbine companies. The Government has overseen a scheme which sees almost £10-a-year added to every consumer's bill to help promote renewable energy - but despite this few companies have built new wind farms and many households are still getting their power from coal burning generators. Northumberland wind farm campaigners last night said the expensive subsidies for energy companies were the real reason behind the dozens of turbines planned for the North-East. More than £580m-a-year is paid out at present and this is set to rise to more than £1.3bn by 2010 as household bills rise.

Household electricity bills are being used to subsidise massive profits for wind turbine companies.

The Government has overseen a scheme which sees almost 10-a-year added to every consumer's bill to help promote renewable energy - but despite this few companies have built new wind farms and many households are still getting their power from coal burning generators.

Northumberland wind farm campaigners last night said the expensive subsidies for energy companies were the real reason behind the dozens of turbines planned for the North-East.

More than 580m-a-year is paid out at present and this is set to rise to more than 1.3bn by 2010 as household bills rise.

The Journal revealed in April the details of the Renewables Obligation (RO) incentive scheme which sees electricity generating companies that invest in renewable energy sources paid lucrative sums by suppliers for each megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity they produce - which is covered by the extra added to family bills.

As a result the companies bidding to erect turbines are offering landowners in the North vast sums as they try to cash in.

And as the Government is now intent on... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Household electricity bills are being used to subsidise massive profits for wind turbine companies.

The Government has overseen a scheme which sees almost £10-a-year added to every consumer's bill to help promote renewable energy - but despite this few companies have built new wind farms and many households are still getting their power from coal burning generators.

Northumberland wind farm campaigners last night said the expensive subsidies for energy companies were the real reason behind the dozens of turbines planned for the North-East.

More than £580m-a-year is paid out at present and this is set to rise to more than £1.3bn by 2010 as household bills rise.

The Journal revealed in April the details of the Renewables Obligation (RO) incentive scheme which sees electricity generating companies that invest in renewable energy sources paid lucrative sums by suppliers for each megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity they produce - which is covered by the extra added to family bills.

As a result the companies bidding to erect turbines are offering landowners in the North vast sums as they try to cash in.

And as the Government is now intent on sourcing at least 15% of UK energy from renewable sources, the amount paid in subsidies will rise to £3bn a year by 2020. But because wind turbines are in some areas quite profitable, some financial experts are now saying the RO targets are simply allowing some companies to make huge profits.

Peter Atherton, head utilities analyst at Citi Investment Research, said: "It's a bonanza. Anyone who can get their nose in the trough is trying to."

Save Our Landscape wind farm campaigner Andrew Joicey said the surge in wind farms in Northumberland was as a direct result of the RO scheme.

Mr Joicey said: "The main reason why we are under so much pressure is because these turbines generate massive profit for the companies and the suppliers need them for the certificate.

"We would never see a situation where a two-storey house is allowed to be built in these scenic areas but the renewable energy company goes to the end of the earth to get planning permission for these turbines because they know how much money they can get.

"The problem with it, and even Ofgem recognise this, is that it rewards the production of renewable energy regardless of the method. Wind turbines despite there disruption are the easiest and therefore the most profitable."

The 51-year-old, who runs the 900-acre New Etal farm in Cornhill-on-Tweed, close to the Scottish border, first became concerned after becoming aware of an increasing number of plans for wind farms close to his family's 15,000-acre Ford and Etal estates.

Mr Joicey added that rural areas of Northumberland are seen as an easy target for developers because they see them as having a thin population of who are not familiar with fighting seriously aggressive, intrusive and inappropriate planning applications.

Andrew Wright, managing director of markets at Ofgem, the electricity regulator, said: "The RO is a very expensive way of providing support for renewables."

Energy companies have backed the RO scheme as the best way to encourage renewable sources to develop.

Npower, who are both generators and suppliers, said wind energy accounts for only £80m in turnover and would not be feasible without support.

Kevin McCullough, director of renewables, said: "If you did not have the RO, you would not see any wind farms being built."

The Department for Business said: "Since the RO was established in 2002, we have increased our electricity being generated from renewable sources to 5% and we expect to increase this to 15% by 2015."

The Journal left messages at the British Wind Energy Association but these were not returned.

Landowners offered cash incentive

The Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROC) are a chance for big energy suppliers to prove they are committed to climate change without having to invest in renewable technology.

There are three steps in the energy chain, the producer, the supplier and the consumer and all are tied into the ROC scheme.

For each Megawatt hour of energy a wind turbine company produces the electricity regulator Ofgem gives them one ROC.

Energy companies who supply energy to our homes are under an obligation to invest in renewable sources.

Ofgem wants each supplier to have a certain amount of ROCs each year to show their commitment but many companies just buy these up without any real investment.

ROCs are typically selling for about £46, which inflates the price of wholesale electricity for generators. That gives them a huge incentive to find sites where they can erect turbines - meaning landowners can be offered £100,000 a year for housing a wind farm.

 


Source: http://www.journallive.co.u...

FEB 5 2008
https://www.windaction.org/posts/13148-householders-pay-green-bill
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