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Booker Unravels Renewable UK’s Wind Power Claims

June 12, 2016

By Paul Homewood




Booker follows up my story about last week’s interview with Renewable UK’s Chief Exec, Hugh McNeal, which claimed that onshore wind is now the cheapest form of generation:


The interview in last week’s Sunday Telegraph with Hugh McNeal, the new head of RenewableUK, was remarkable in more ways than one. Certainly readers may have been surprised to know how easily he could switch from being a senior official at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to running our leading lobby group for wind farms. But even more significant was the way he unwittingly exposed what appears to me to be a massive deceit now at the heart of our national energy policy.

Like DECC, he has bought into the trick of pretending that renewables are now “the cheapest form of new [electricity] generation in Britain”. On the face of it this claim seems ludicrous, since renewables only survive on a tidal wave of subsidies which make them twice or three times as expensive as the fossil fuels which still supply up to 70 per cent of our electricity.

But herein lies the utterly deceitful game DECC is playing. First, they know that George Osborne’s “carbon tax” is gradually intended to make power from fossil fuels as costly as that from wind and solar, so that they can describe these as “subsidy-free”. Secondly, they know they desperately need new gas-fired power stations to keep the lights on when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. So, thirdly, they are now planning to throw huge bribes at the power companies to get those new gas plants built.


Hugh McNeal, chief executive of RenewableUK Hugh McNeal, chief executive of RenewableUK Credit: Eddie Mulholland


But, fourthly, the bit Mr McNeal didn’t mention, or perhaps does not yet know, they are also aware that because the would-be operators of these power stations know that it is Decc’s policy by 2030 to phase out all fossil-fuel electricity (unless it is made with “carbon capture” technology which is unlikely ever to be invented), it is not going to pay these companies to invest billions in new power plants with such a limited life.

So DECC has now got itself impaled on the contradictions of a policy which, short of repealing the Climate Change Act, can only result in the lights going out and our economy grinding to a halt. As the old saying has it, “those who seek to deceive others, end up only by deceiving themselves”.


As I showed, McNeal’s claims were based on DECC calculations, which include a “carbon tax” amounting to £18/MWh, without which CCGT costs would come down to £38/MWh.

This compares to the latest round of CfD contracts, which awarded £86/MWh to onshore wind farms.

He also picks up on the point that nobody is likely to want to invest in a new CCGT plant when there is so much uncertainty about whether they will be allowed to run it for its full economic life. The only way past this barrier is for the government to pay enough via the Capacity Market mechanism to cover the full capital costs in the first 15 years.

  1. A C Osborn permalink
    June 12, 2016 4:01 pm

    It is a good article, but I preferred the “outrage” of Dellers article.
    I like the sound of the founders of this madness at least being hounded, if they can’t get them in to court and imprisoned.

  2. June 12, 2016 5:44 pm

    Government energy policy has been totally insane for about 20 years and there is no sign of an end to it. After Brexit, we can get out of the EU renewable energy directive and then a new ‘democratic’ Government can repeal the CCA and get rid of the CC from DECC. All we need then is a sensible Minister of Energy with sensible policy based on building a secure, reliable and affordable electricity supply (ie get rid of all unreliables).

    • June 13, 2016 6:35 pm

      Certainly what is needed, wish that I believed that sense could out whichever way the Referendum goes.

  3. Bitter&twisted permalink
    June 12, 2016 7:56 pm

    Wanted for lying, deceit and murder of the poor and elderly.

    Hugh McNeal

  4. Green Sand permalink
    June 12, 2016 8:12 pm

    Sorry for O/T Paul, but climate4you have updated the North Atlantic OHC and Argo numbers to include first quarter 2016. Looks to be very interesting, wonder how long the trend will continue?

  5. Green Sand permalink
    June 12, 2016 8:17 pm

    For reasons beyond my ken, the image posted above is not the latest version?

    Latest at – ‘Oceans’

    • John F. Hultquist permalink
      June 13, 2016 3:02 pm

      I think WUWT was having this image issue and many commented on it. About 3 weeks or so ago. Such tech things are above my pay grade and I did not try to follow the problem or solution — if there was one.

  6. June 12, 2016 10:11 pm

    Reblogged this on Tallbloke's Talkshop and commented:
    Let’s not mess around. UK energy policy is being run by fools, liars and frankly, nutters.

  7. June 13, 2016 2:00 am

    Britain has no reliable gas supplies.It has no great storage. It can be cut off in an instant. Britain needs nuclear technology.

  8. Archetype permalink
    June 14, 2016 10:08 pm

    Hey Paul, funny I just heard about Chris Booker today on a local independent station here in the NYC area. WBAI. He was speaking about the Great Deception. Man, Britain is as fucked up as we are here in the states. Tyranny, corruption and the rise of National Socialism aka, Corporatism… I have always said that the EU are akin to the Fourth Reich and that’s the way it seems to be going…. the POS Global Elite are trying their best to dismantle both our Constitutions. It’s mad, simply mad.


  9. gallopingcamel permalink
    June 15, 2016 2:50 am

    Renewables have made the UK “Grid” less stable, so a major collapse becomes more likely.

    Even so the smart money says Germany will set records for electrical “Blackout”.

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