Library filed under Energy Policy from UK
European climate policy has spent vast amounts of public money, sent power utilities to the brink and done little to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, an impressive display of multi-pronged incompetence. But might all that money at least have built a robust, world-beating European renewables industry? Not yet.
"One risk is that other countries copy what Spain is doing," the European Wind Associaiton (EWEA) policy department told Windpower Monthly in a statement. "Already we see renewable-energy support systems being changed or threatened with change, scaring off investors in several countries," it added, citing Poland, Bulgaria and "even Germany".
The European Commission is to ditch legally-binding renewable energy targets after 2020 in a major U-turn and admission that the policy has failed industry and consumers by driving up electricity bills. A Brussels paper on the European Union’s “2030 framework for climate and energy” will instead propose binding targets to reduce carbon emissions without imposing requirements on how the reductions are made. “It is good to see that the EU has learned the lessons of the current targets that imposed top-down renewable energy targets,” said a Government source.
Keith Anderson, chief corporate officer, warns that the “carbon price floor” (CPF), which taxes companies for burning fossil fuels, will make Britain’s remaining coal plants “largely uneconomic by around the middle of the decade”. With Britain’s spare power margin already forecast to fall as low as 2pc by 2015, the carbon tax will force more closures and “threatens to make us even more vulnerable to the risk of blackouts”, he warns.
A leading City analyst claimed on Thursday that Ed Miliband had "killed stone dead" any chance of one of the big six energy firms obtaining finance for a very large new wind farm or gas fired power station before the next election. The warning from Peter Atherton at Liberum Capital came as a new row blew up around accusations of energy profiteering, this time by National Grid, which reported first half operating earnings of more than £1.5bn.
Too many of the turbines had been “peppered” across the UK without enough consideration for the countryside and people’s homes, adding that “enough is enough”. He added: “We can no longer have wind turbines imposed on communities. I can’t single-handedly build a new Jerusalem but I can protect our green and pleasant land.”
Landscape campaigners in the Westcountry have hailed the "Pickles effect" after two appeals against council decisions to reject wind farms were dismissed this week. ..."it is encouraging that the Government seems to have awoken to the fact that for many years planning inspectors have been overriding the views of the local people and their democratically elected representatives."
Linda Holt, spokesman for wind farm campaign group Scotland Against Spin, said: “Lord Stephen's chutzpah in bringing forward this amendment is chilling. “He is himself a wind developer who has taken full advantage of lax enforcement about Ofgem licensing and scrutiny of energy companies to a make a slew of speculative wind farm applications across Scotland.”
The UK nuclear industry is receiving more government support than the wind sector, according to independent experts responding to plans for the construction of EDF's Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in south west England.
SNP ministers have decided to ignore a ruling by one of Scotland’s most senior judges that threatens the spread of wind farms because they consider turbines to be in the “national interest”, the Daily Telegraph can disclose.
National Grid has been quietly signing up thousands of diesel generators, linked by computers to the grid, which can be automatically switched on at a moment’s notice to cover for any power shortage. And their main purpose, although National Grid tries to deny it, is to make up for the unreliability of that ever-increasing number of heavily subsidised wind farms the Government wants to see built, in its efforts to “de-carbonise” our electricity supply.
The chief executive of the energy giant Scottish & Southern Energy said on Thursday night it was time for a national debate about the country’s green agenda after unveiling an 8.2 per cent price rise for customers. ...Gillian Guy, the chief executive of Citizens Advice, added: “This price rise will be a blow for stretched budgets. The hike comes at a time when some working households are turning to food banks to feed their families as they struggle to cope with the rising cost of living.
In June, energy regulator Ofgem said that risks to security of electricity supply - the danger of the lights not being kept on - had increased due to the UK's shortage of power stations and new wind farms. It also warned that the risk of electricity customer disconnections would "appreciably increase".
The coalition is heading for a fresh dispute over green energy after a call by Downing Street to water down climate commitments as part of efforts to keep power bills down. ...But any attempt to water down or end the Eco, which is set to run until 2015, will meet stiff opposition from the Liberal Democrats
On wind farms – seen by many as an expensive blight on the countryside, subsidised by the taxpayer to burnish the image of politicians who live nowhere near them – the PM is equally diplomatic. “Recently, I opened the London Array and it’s good that Britain is leading the way in this technology. But as I say, you shouldn’t keep the subsidies for any longer than is necessary.”
There is enough credible evidence and enough of an opposition to end a policy of support for industrial wind energy. Yet still we see wind farms popping up all around the country. Isn't it about time that we looked at all the evidence cumulatively? Isn't it about time that we just chalked it up as a loss and tried something else?
In June, Ofgem warned that the risk of blackouts in 2015 had risen to one in four, if energy demand continued at its current level. Uncertainty around the amount of available electricity in 2015 and 2016 meant that it was "prudent" to consider keeping mothballed plants in reserve, it said. GDF Suez, the energy company that has mothballed its Teesside gas power station, has estimated that keeping plants on standby could cost between £90 million and £120 million per year.
Mr Davey, the Liberal Democrat Energy Secretary, accused Conservatives of attempting to "destroy" the UK's renewables industry. He singled out Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, warning that he is trying to "cull" wind turbines.
Europe's deepening energy crisis has for now replaced debt troubles as the region's top worry, with major implications for the Commission's draft paper on shale expected in October. The EU's industry and environment directorates are pitted against each other. The new legislation could in theory stop Britain, Poland, and others going ahead with fracking.
"Alex Salmond is driving an aggressive green agenda like an express train across Scotland, bludgeoning anyone who gets in the way as being a Luddite and anti-green. No wind farm developer has ever had to explain the benefits of wind. Evidence tells us that wind power performance shows not only no reduction in carbon dioxide and other harmful emissions, but also the very reverse."