An Ill Wind Blows
By Paul Homewood
Last week, I ran a post about the Sheringham Shoal offshore wind farm, showing how more than two thirds of their revenue came from ROC subsidies.
Booker takes this as a starting point for a hard hitting piece on wind power in today’s Telegraph:
Eleven miles off the Norfolk coast 88 giant wind turbines rise 446 feet above the sea, taller than the spire of Salisbury Cathedral. This is the Sheringham Shoal windfarm, built at a cost of £1 billion by the Norwegian state, which has just published its accounts for 2015.
Last year it earned its owners £140 million, all paid for through our electricity bills. But more than two thirds of this – nearly £100 million – came through subsidies. In return for which we got, intermittently, only a comparatively tiny amount of power, averaging just 113 megawatts. This is barely a 20th of the 2,000MW available whenever needed, at less than a third of the price, from the German-owned gas-fired power station in Pembroke, Wales, which cost the same money to build four years ago.
So much tax does the Government now wish to impose on gas-fired electricity, because it comes from fossil-fuels, that we are unlikely to get any more Pembrokes. Offshore wind, in which we “lead the world”, is now the absolute centrepiece of the Government’s energy policy. The 26 offshore windfarms already built are almost all foreign-owned, led by the Norwegians and the Danes, so that virtually all their profits end up abroad.
The companies making fortunes from the world’s most generous “low carbon” subsidies may largely be foreign-owned. But at least some of the crumbs from that lavishly spread table are staying in good old British hands.
But a few Britons are doing well out of this multi-billion-pound bonanza – led by four former ministers of the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) who helped to shape this policy. No sooner, for instance, had Charles Hendry stepped down as minister of state for energy and climate change in 2012 than he became chairman of Forewind, another largely Norwegian-owned firm, given permission by the DECC last year to build the world’s largest offshore windfarm over hundreds of square miles of the Dogger Bank.
Hendry succeeded Lord Deben (aka John Gummer), who had to stand down when David Cameron appointed him to chair the supposedly “independent” Climate Change Committee, the group of climate alarmists which advises the Government on its energy policy.
Because Hendry was then still an MP, bound to declare his financial interests, we can see that in 2014, as chairman of Forewind, he was paid £3,300 a day for one day’s work a month, totalling £48,000. In addition he received £18,000 for 36 hours advising another company, Atlantic Superconnection, which, under a deal arranged while Hendry was still in office, plans to bring electricity made from the heat of Icelandic volcanoes 650 miles to Britain. Hendry also that year earned £35,000 for 47 hours as consultant to another energy company, Vitol.
Since he left Parliament, we no longer know what Mr Hendry earns from his renewable energy interests, any more than we do what our former Lib Dem energy secretaries Chris Huhne and Ed Davey receive for their services to various “low carbon” energy firms which benefit from policies adopted while they were at the DECC – or that other former minister, Greg (now Lord) Barker, now busy on behalf of the solar energy industry which benefits from a policy he championed while in office.
The companies making fortunes from the world’s most generous “low carbon” subsidies may largely be foreign-owned. But at least some of the crumbs from that lavishly spread table are staying in good old British hands. Isn’t it odd how rarely we hear any MPs questioning this?