Library filed under Taxes & Subsidies from UK
A windfarm action group has shot a warning across the bows of government calling for more support for renewable energy. The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) welcomes the government’s intention to switch to the greener ways of generating energy, but claims that sums will not add up unless financial support is increased. The warning headlines the environmental group’s response to the government’s consultation, which proposes a significant change to the Renewables Obligation (RO), the support mechanism for renewable power in the UK.
Your view: Is carbon offsetting a con? Holidaymakers are being misled by companies who guarantee to repair the damage flights do to the atmosphere, according to the first independent study of a fast-growing market. The report claims it is not possible to state categorically that buying any "carbon offset" — as Tony Blair did grudgingly last week to counter the global warming potential of his family's New Year break in Miami Beach — will neutralise the damage that flying causes to the atmosphere.
Toynbee considers the Renewable Energy Foundation "an anti-wind outfit". We are not. We have consistently argued for offshore wind, among other technologies, to be made more attractive, and for a secure role for the renewables sector. Renewables have much to offer in tackling our energy crisis, but undiscerning enthusiasm, and an unwillingness to recognise the problems arising from a defective subsidy system, won't help anyone.
The government must put more money into renewable energy if it is to stand any chance of meeting its target of getting 20 percent of its energy from those sources by 2020, industry associations said on Friday. The goal was set out in last year’s review of the country’s future energy needs and how to supply them and is expected to be enshrined in the Energy White Paper expected in March.
Cow flatulence last night became the latest battleground in the fight for the green vote with farmers fearing they could be hit by a new levy.Politicians hit out at the levels of bovine emissions - which now account for about one million tonnes of methane a year in the UK. Whitehall officials are now preparing to get bids to analyse the financial benefits of a scheme which would see farms buying and selling "credits" for the amount of gas their herds produce.
Two letters referred to a visit by councillors to see Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth (Gazette, December 7 and 14). Is it not also an inconvenient truth that the Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) have never been fully explained to the public, who pay for them?
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
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. 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.”
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).
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.
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.
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.
This demanding work is carried out by the MoD at no charge to the developer. Since the beginning of this rush for wind the MoD have received about 4500 applications and this year it is running at between 70 and 100 per month. They all have to be assessed, and many of these will be re-assessed so the work is enormous.
David Miliband, the Environment Secretary, was accused yesterday of running a “brazen” spin operation, after it emerged that his promise of more money for clean energy sources will mean less money for energy-saving projects. At last month’s Labour conference Mr Miliband announced he was putting £10m into a programme run by the Carbon Trust, a private company established four years ago to involve businesses in fighting global warming. The grant will be used to get private companies to build wind turbines to generate power. He forecast that the scheme would generate enough electricity to supply 250,000 houses. A footnote to an accompanying press release from the Environment Department (Defra), however, reveals that the money has come out of the £20m allocated to Defra in the Budget in March - money that was to be invested in energy-saving measures.
A renewable energy scheme is being funded by cuts from other projects designed to promote household energy efficiency, the BBC has learned. At the Labour conference, Environment Secretary David Miliband promised £10m to help fund projects like wind power. But it has emerged schemes to promote double-glazing and insulation are to be cut to fund it. A Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) spokesman said energy efficiency was crucial.
THE Government is proposing to favour some renewable energy sources over others in an attempt to kick-start types of green power that have been slow to take off. The approach could mean that less well developed forms of renewable energy, such as marine or solar power, receive more subsidy in the form of Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs). Established forms of renewables, such as onshore wind farms, could receive fewer ROCs. The proposals to reform the ROC system were issued for consultation today as Alistair Darling, the Trade and Industry Secretary, stuck the first spade in the ground at what will be Britain’s biggest onshore wind farm — Whitelee — operated by ScottishPower on Eaglesham Moor outside Glasgow.