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Burbo Bank–One Of Ed Davey’s Follies

May 23, 2017

By Paul Homewood




In Jillian Ambrose’s naive little piece yesterday about offshore wind, she stated:





As I pointed out about another similar claim that she made, these contract prices, guaranteed under the CfD mechanism, are at 2012 prices. This is because the system was originally set up during 2013. By sticking to the same base year of 2012, all contracts can be directly compared.




Because all CfD contracts are index linked, Burbo’s price has now increased to £161.71/MWh, almost four times the current wholesale price.





Burbo is rated at 258 MW, generating 904 GWh a year, assuming loading of 40%. Based on current prices, it receives a subsidy of £119.11/MWh, which equates to £108 million a year, guaranteed for 15 years. In other words, a total of £1620 million, all to be paid for on electricity bills and passed onto Burbo’s owners, DONG.


Burbo was one of eight contracts awarded by Ed Davey in April 2014. So desperate was he to get these projects built that he agreed extortionate prices, without even going through an auction, and in the full knowledge that costs would soon start going down if he were to wait a little longer.





At current prices, this little lot is costing consumers £1.5bn a year in subsidies, for just 5% of the UK’s electricity.

  1. May 23, 2017 1:26 pm

    Mr Davey cannot be prosecuted for official acts.

    • Derek Buxton permalink
      May 24, 2017 9:52 am

      Why not? The whole thing is in any case fraud on a global scale and no one is above the law. Particularly when we know that several of those involved had a vested interest and they have as MPs a duty of care to the People they represent.

  2. rms permalink
    May 23, 2017 1:32 pm

    I’ve always been bothered by the size of windmills being expressed in terms of face-plate MW, or even “numbers of homes powered”, etc. It occurred to me that a better measure would be a number which represents show much power is AVAILABLE from the wind, say on an annual basis. There ought to be statistics available on how fast and how often the wind blows through the “cylinder” of air ahead each turbine which can be converted by a formula into power or energy. While for traditional power production quoting the size of the machine is indicative because the operators were in charge of “feeding” the machine the energy source (coal, gas, oil, nuclear pellets, etc.). But with wind and wave machines, now NATURE is in charge. We need a measure of NATURE to fairly indicate the size of the windmill power plants.

    • John F. Hultquist permalink
      May 23, 2017 4:48 pm

      I’m not sure what is done. Do they include the limit expressed by Betz’s law?

      Start here:

      According to Betz’s law, no turbine can capture more than 16/27 (59.3%) of the kinetic energy in wind.

    • tom0mason permalink
      May 25, 2017 5:14 am

      Why not just rate all UK wind power generation as a percentages of DRAX’s original output specification of 24 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year (pre-conversion to biomass, figures from

      Therefore for this plant 904GWh (assuming loading of 40%) is 904/24000×100=3.7666’% of ‘DRAX-original’ rating.

      Or you could do the same against one DRAX-original generator set of 660MW (DRAX-original has 6 of such generator sets that could run 24/7)

  3. Curious George permalink
    May 23, 2017 2:42 pm

    The subsidies are “worth the cost to create a multi-billion pound industry”. Maybe. Multi-billion pound fortunes for sure.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      May 24, 2017 12:51 pm

      Isn’t the job destruction rate 3.4 to 1?

  4. Santa's little helper permalink
    May 24, 2017 6:07 am

    They have torn up the countryside on the Wirral in order to connect these fans to the grid as well.

  5. Coeur de Lion permalink
    May 24, 2017 6:39 am

    Do get hold of Matt Ridley’s piece in the Spectator which destroys the windmill industry with some straightforward numbers. It’s on line

  6. Jack Broughton permalink
    May 24, 2017 11:36 am

    I wonder if the root cause of the politicians excitement about wind power is their lack of numeracy. It seems that they just look at the number presented by the campaigners / influence-lobby and no further.

    The step to working out the cost of the subsidy seems to be too long for them. However, I agree with Derek Buxton that Davey failed in his duty of care and deserves to be prosecuted for that.

    • catweazle666 permalink
      May 24, 2017 4:39 pm

      “I wonder if the root cause of the politicians excitement about wind power is their lack of numeracy”

      I doubt it.

      Just go and see how many politicians and their families have their snouts in the wind subsidy trough.

      • Jack Broughton permalink
        May 24, 2017 6:24 pm

        good point: maybe pure greed rather than numeracy though.

  7. tom0mason permalink
    May 25, 2017 5:29 am

    To: Jillian Ambrose,

    “But the new breed of offshore pioneers say the early prices are worth the cost … and herald the next chapter in Britain’s maritime legacy” … sinking the UK’s electricity consumers for a ha’porth of coal.


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