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UK Leads The World – (In Offshore Wind Subsidies!)

November 22, 2014

By Paul Homewood 


h/t Paul2




According to Ed Davey,

This unique collaboration between UKTI, The Green Investment Bank, The Crown Estate, RUK and the Offshore Wind Programme Board, sets out why the UK is the best place in the world for doing business in offshore wind.

With a stable and predictable policy regime, with more installed capacity than any other country in the world, with operating capacity set to double by 2020 and with a growing supply chain capability, the UK represents a fantastic investment opportunity.


A fantastic investment opportunity? You can bet your bottom dollar it is. When you can get a guaranteed price of more than £160/MWh (£155 @ 2012 prices), against the £50/MWh you would get in the market, who would not want to invest.

It is claimed that the country is on track to have 10GW of offshore capacity by 2020. At an average subsidy of, say, £100/MWh, this will hand the operators an annual subsidy of more than £3 billion, all funded by bill payers and in addition to the market price received.

Instead of claiming the UK is a “world leader in offshore wind”, Davey should perhaps be asking himself why there are so few being built elsewhere.

  1. November 22, 2014 12:59 pm

    It’s amazing that the Tories allow a politician whose party polled less than 200 votes more than the Monster Raving Loonies in the last by-election, to scupper their chances of re-election.

    • Derek Buxton permalink
      November 22, 2014 2:06 pm

      Cameron is a “greenie”, he put the likes of Deben, Yeo, Davey in power which they are all abusing at our expense. This is the most corrupt government we have had in a long time.

  2. Ben Vorlich permalink
    November 22, 2014 2:41 pm

    For those on cabinet minister’s salaries and expenses £100 pa is chicken feed, for the other 80% of the population it’s another extra expense they could do without. However this last week has shown how out of touch with the real world PPE graduates are; and it’s worse than we thought.

  3. Chilli permalink
    November 22, 2014 3:46 pm

    It’s even worse than your figures suggest: £50/MWh buys you a reliable power supply, on demand 24/7. Whereas wind subsidy farmers are being paid £160/MWh for their unreliable intermittent power which buyers are forced to accept whenever the wind happens to blow – even if it’s not needed at the time.

  4. John F. Hultquist permalink
    November 22, 2014 5:58 pm

    The next “Shooting Star”?
    [reference the Bad Company song; 1975]

    In the USA various laws and incentives result in a misallocation of resources by encouraging those with wealth to go after the stream of money made available. Housing is often the target because some political types believe every family can benefit from owning a home. But anything will do – equal opportunity boondoggles.
    They work like this: A government program sets up a situation that can generate a stream of money. A project gets built and the money starts to flow. After a few years the projects start to age and costs increase (incentives can get changed also). Original investors have made money (it was guranteed) and as the returns become less, they start to bail out of this project and direct their attention to other more profitable activities. Such seem always available because the government keeps thinking up new causes.
    As the original companies (with wealthy investors) exit, the replacement owners have to cut costs to make money. Maintenance is the first place they look to to find savings. If you started with greasing gears once a week, you can change to once every 2 weeks. Then once a month. Something breaks – don’t repair it. Maybe it is not repairable.
    In the town near where I live, the local government set up five “toy” wind turbines with grant money; a so called experiment. A couple of years later one of the towers fell over in a moderate wind. The company that had built it was no longer in business. No replacement parts are available. So, a piece of machinery can’t be fixed and becomes scrap.
    As a project (wind farm) ages and deteriorates it gets sold to those who can make a profit – but only if the sale price is low enough. Repeat. Over time there is no value left. The shooting star has crashed.
    [Just west of us about 20 miles a lone Darrieus type wind machine is rusting away on a hill top. It hasn’t worked since being built 30 years ago. I suspect the county will have to declare it a hazard and get it scrapped at a cost to the tax payers. Maybe I could write a letter to the newspaper and suggest that!]

  5. Paul2 permalink
    November 22, 2014 6:26 pm

    @John F. Hultquist – well written.

  6. November 22, 2014 7:28 pm

    When a wind generator ages to the point of being beyond economic repair, who funds the removal? What is the cost? Does the operator deposit a bond or pay a decommisioning levy to hte government?

    • November 22, 2014 8:20 pm

      In theory, the original company is/should be responsible for end-of-life disposal. (Depends upon wording of original contract.)

      In reality, approaching end-of-life results in declining revenue, so original company “goes bust”. The local community is then left with landmark eyesores.

      Aunty broached the subject:

      Apparently, the report said (owners) were “willing” and “enthusiastic” to consider how to decommission wind farms, restore the sites and also recycle the towers and blades.

      The naïvety is astounding.

      • November 23, 2014 12:27 pm

        This it what oil-drillers got away with for decades here in the states, until new well-head operations were required to post a bond to support clean-up prior to drilling. How Big Wind will deal with clean-up and decommissioning and disposal is yet to be seen – as a matter of fact, I am certainly not aware it is even a topic of discussion.

        Is it? It needs to be – those things won’t last forever; especially the offshore kind.

  7. paul b permalink
    November 22, 2014 8:09 pm

    isn’t it true that the prime ministers father in law is a large land holder on the north east coast to invest in massive wind turbine technology

  8. November 23, 2014 8:11 am

    What happens is that once the wind power stations gets built, the owners find some gullible buyers for them before the problems start to occur. The UK taxpayer ends up owning them through the Green Investment Bank and the rest are bought by gullible investment banks and pension funds. Whichever happens, the developers have made off with the loot and the citizens are screwed.

  9. Tony Price permalink
    November 23, 2014 10:42 am

    The National Grid is already having great difficulty coping with “peak wind”, and has to pay producers to switch off their connections to the grid when load-balancing is difficult. With no means of storage for surplus capacity for wind and solar, that situation can only get worse. Proponents of tidal power completely ignore that with two tides a day, there are FOUR slack-water periods, virtually in-sync for the whole of the UK, where no power is generated.

    So-called “renewable” sources have their place, mostly in the “third-world” or remote locations, but cannot (and should not) ever play a major role in national power generation in countries like the UK. Proponents not only wear rose-tinted specs, but are wearing a balaclava back-to-front as well (or they’ve got their noses in the trough, or political ambitions, or all of the aforesaid).

  10. Tony Price permalink
    November 23, 2014 10:45 am

    I meant four slack-water periods a day, of course.

  11. George permalink
    April 24, 2015 10:48 am

    How do you get rid of the old wind turbines and blade’s

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