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Free Electricity!!

April 6, 2020

By Paul Homewood

 

 image

Teesside Windfarm, near Redcar

Thousands of British homes will be paid to use electricity during the day for the first time, as wind and solar projects produce a surge in clean energy during the coronavirus lockdown.

On Sunday morning, windfarms contributed almost 40% of the UK’s electricity, while solar power made up almost a fifth of the power system. Fossil fuels made up less than 15% of electricity, of which only 1.1% came from coal plants.

Meanwhile, the country’s energy demand has fallen by around 10% due to the shutdown of pubs, restaurants, companies and factories across the country, leading to the lowest electricity market prices in 10 years.

Households on a new breed of home energy tariff will even be paid to use electricity during the day on Sunday, because sunny weather and a brisk breeze will help generate ample clean electricity to meet the UK’s lower energy needs.

The so-called “negative electricity prices” have previously only been available to homes overnight, when demand is typically at its lowest. But the impact of the coronavirus lockdown and the bright spring weather mean some homes will be able to earn money while using clean electricity during the day for the first time.

Households which use the Agile Octopus energy tariff, offered by Octopus Energy, were contacted on Saturday to let them know they would be paid for every kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity they use during the sunniest hours of Sunday afternoon.

From 11am-4pm, those customers will earn 0.22p-3.3p per kWh to make use of the UK’s abundant clean energy, the company said.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/05/thousands-to-be-paid-for-daytime-green-electricity-use-during-lockdown

 

Free electricity? What’s not to like!

 

But, of course, wind and solar power are not really free at all, as they receive obscene subsidies, paid through everybody’s energy bills. Without these subsidies, there would be no “negative electricity prices”.

Currently, wind and solar are contributing 9 GW and 4 GW, respectively.

image

https://gridwatch.co.uk/

 

Solar farms are subsidised via the Renewable Obligation mechanism, on average receiving 1.46 ROCs for every MWh. ROCs are currently valued at £48.78, so every MWh receives a subsidy of £71.20, on top of the market price of the electricity sold.

Onshore wind accounts for about half of total wind power, and again is nearly all subsidised through ROCs, at a rate of 1.0 ROC per MWh, thus being paid a subsidy of £48.78/MWh.

Older offshore wind farms, which account for half of the total offshore market, are also on ROCs, equating to a subsidy of £92.68/MWh. Newer ones receive subsidies by Contracts for Difference, which guarantee payments of up to £173/MWh for every unit sold.

According to the Guardian, wholesale electricity prices have dropped to £28/MWh, as a result of falling gas prices and lower demand. But instead of benefitting from lower market prices, energy users are forced to carry on paying these exorbitant amounts to renewable operators.

As we discovered with EU butter mountains and wine lakes, subsidies simply distort markets and encourage over production. And as with those butter mountains, somebody has to pay the price.

43 Comments
  1. Simon Kelly permalink
    April 6, 2020 2:03 pm

    Is there nothing that the Ecoloons can’t spin!?

  2. Martin Burlin permalink
    April 6, 2020 2:19 pm

    I remember when North Sea gas came on stream the Minister responsible stated, “It’s not going to be worth sending out bills!” 😲

  3. JimW permalink
    April 6, 2020 2:20 pm

    Octopus Energy look like a busted flush along with most smaller ‘supply’ companies.
    https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/coronavirus-utilities-send-sos-to-ministers-as-demand-collapses-and-customers-struggle-to-pay-3mxwdbzrt
    I never thought it would happen outside a really left wing Labour govt, but it looks likely; re-nationalisation here we come. The only generators making anything are the ones stuffed with subsidies, the ‘supply/billing’ entities are a busted flush, and the networks were always a regulated rate of return business. It now makes sense to turn the clock back to the 70’s and reinvent CEGB /Area Boards ( well ‘life on mars’ is getting another outing!).

    • jack broughton permalink
      April 6, 2020 6:12 pm

      Privatisation of electricity has cost us all massively as the guaranteed-profits made on the investment in white elephants goes to Germany, Denmark and Norway, while the beneficiary from the woodburning farce is the USA.
      The resulant of the madness and greenery is a power system that is no longer fit for purpose or economic. We should charge the overseas investors for their lack of duty of care, even tho’ the UK’s gross incompetence has driven this.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        April 7, 2020 3:52 pm

        Privatisation has got nothing to do with the money wasted on unreliable expensive generating – it is government interference. The energy market is the most over-regulated sector there is bringing no advantage to the consumer at all. Don’t forget that Ofgem is now a green energy cheerleader and that is not the private companies’ fault.

  4. April 6, 2020 2:25 pm

    Maybe the British should consult Bill Gates for advice on their absolute zero emission strategy.

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/04/06/a-climate-action-business-model/

  5. Phillip Bratby permalink
    April 6, 2020 2:31 pm

    I wonder how many people will turn on all their appliances and open all the windows to get rid of the heat? It reminds me of the Northern Ireland Renewable heat scam where farmers were paid exorbitant amounts of money to heat their unused barns with wood pellets etc. It was estimated that the scam cost consumers £500million.

    These are the inevitable unintended consequences of stupid Government policies (or are they unintended?)

    • Teaef permalink
      April 6, 2020 5:27 pm

      Free money, so turn everything on! (Just remember to turn off again!!!!)

    • Gerry, e permalink
      April 7, 2020 4:00 pm

      I think they are unintended because our peabrain Morons of Parliament are not capable reasoning through the effects of their decisions. A good example in London was putting in all the cycles lanes that sit empty bar for a couple of hours morning and evening while the rest of the traffic is squeezed into the remaining space. Before long TfL came along asking for bus priority schemes to be put through because bus journey times had increased. Hmm, I wonder why that was.

  6. GeoffB permalink
    April 6, 2020 2:35 pm

    Hey I have a good idea, lets build all these intermittent green electricity generators, wind and solar. There is a bit of a problem, that suppliers cannot get a return on capital employed unless there is a subsidy, which the customer will have to pay. Its only about 2 or 3 times the cost of using gas and coal. In time we might be able to give the electricity away for free.

    Problem the free electricity actually cost more than gas, as the CFD and ROC payments still have to be paid. You could not make this up and the guardian is promoting it as progress..

  7. April 6, 2020 2:44 pm

    Meanwhile
    Back at the ranch
    The science isn’t settled after all

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2019/12/25/earth-day-wisdom/

    • The Manat the Back permalink
      April 6, 2020 5:09 pm

      Brilliant thank you – a very useful resource.

      • Graeme No.3 permalink
        April 7, 2020 12:06 am

        Thank you.
        Very interesting. I can now go and shoot sitting duck (brains).

      • April 7, 2020 9:04 am

        Thank you sir.

    • jack broughton permalink
      April 6, 2020 7:22 pm

      I love the trend in the “critical temperature rise” fear-value: 5 deg K in 2001, 4 deg k in 2007, 3 deg K in 2013, 2 deg K in 2015 and 1.5 deg K since 2018. A linear downward trend of 0.2 deg K / year, so will soon be current value ( by 2021). I’m sure that this would show a convincing correlation against the forecast dates for an ice free arctic ocean, although those forecasts started earlier.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        April 7, 2020 9:00 pm

        Think or it this way – when the trend has reached say minus 3 deg K even the Absolute Zeros will have something to really worry about.

    • Ariane permalink
      April 7, 2020 3:28 pm

      Chaamjamal, an excellent list but the science has only ever been a (very very costly) red herring in the main plot which has always been to de-industrialize.

  8. Joe Public permalink
    April 6, 2020 3:12 pm

    “According to the Guardian, wholesale electricity prices have dropped to £28/MWh, as a result of falling gas prices …..”

    Strangely, the Graun fails to celebrate the fact that those same falling gas prices would also reduce the home-heating & -cooking costs of the 85% or so of the proletariat fortunate enough to enjoy gas heating & gas cooking.

  9. Teaef permalink
    April 6, 2020 4:26 pm

    Anyone else with a PVA seen record generation peaks today or recently? Mine have been on 9 years and never hit 3Kw before.
    Could it be clearer skies?

    • NeilC permalink
      April 6, 2020 5:34 pm

      It probably is, the Relative Humidity this afternoon ranges between 39% and 50%, very dry clear air. Clear of water vapour that is!

    • David Parker permalink
      April 6, 2020 6:35 pm

      Not many polluting aircraft flying

  10. Curious George permalink
    April 6, 2020 4:31 pm

    20% solar on a Sunday morning? Surely before sunrise; it will be over 100% at noon.

  11. Roger Cole permalink
    April 6, 2020 4:42 pm

    All the government has to do is legislate that it will be Sunday morning all week. Not possible? Maybe not, but it would make as much sense as the Climate Change Act.

    • The Man at the Back permalink
      April 6, 2020 5:12 pm

      Now you are exaggerating Roger.

  12. Joe Public permalink
    April 6, 2020 4:43 pm

    What is interesting, is that yesterday offshore wind generation virtually halved – from 5.2015GW to 2.642GW in the space of one hour between 15:00 and 16:00!

    The Graun forgot to mention for how long that ‘free’ ‘leccy was on offer.

    From here:

    http://energodock.com/united-kingdom/electricity-generation

  13. Phoenix44 permalink
    April 6, 2020 7:05 pm

    It’s not “free”. You are paid to use it. That means you will use as much as you can rather than as much as you need. Two very different effects.

    It also means somebody is paying you. Presumably it’s the other consumers? They should be benefitting from lower prices but don’t I assume?

  14. mwhite permalink
    April 6, 2020 7:36 pm

    Published last Wednesday right?

  15. David Oliphant permalink
    April 6, 2020 8:11 pm

    On Mon, Apr 6, 2020 at 5:59 AM NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT wrote:

    > Paul Homewood posted: “By Paul Homewood Thousands of British homes > will be paid to use electricity during the day for the first time, as wind > and solar projects produce a surge in clean energy during the coronavirus > lockdown. On Sunday morning, windfarms con” >

  16. Stuart Brown permalink
    April 6, 2020 8:23 pm

    Well, as I like to boringly point out whenever it happens – UK demand 30.95GW, wind 4.39GW, solar 0.03GW. Combined less than nuclear (4.5GW) with half the reactors down, because we seem to like to take them out for refuelling and inspections during winter for some reason.

    And we’re burning coal again (0.47GW).

    No, I wasn’t watching the dials waiting for that to happen, honest!

    Meanwhile France gets 114% of its demand from carbon dioxide free nuclear and hydro – so they can sell it to us, Spain, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium when the ‘free’ energy refuses to turn up.

  17. Rowland P permalink
    April 6, 2020 9:24 pm

    What is the source of the subsidies? Taxpayers or consumers?

    • April 6, 2020 9:36 pm

      Consumers.

      All of the subsidies get added onto electricity bills, via Nat Grid levies

  18. April 6, 2020 9:29 pm

    OFF TOPIC, BUT IMPORTANT

    Are they trying to kill Boris?

    Sending him to the ICU is a potential death sentence.

    They could have him up and on his own in a matter of hours, and cured in about a week or less.

    Who is preventing the use of the best medicine for this disease?

  19. Rowland P permalink
    April 7, 2020 5:17 am

    yonason, that’s terrific. I’ve been hearing about this but it has been extremely frustrating to find out more. Let’s hope that the bureaucratic and big pharma barriers are shattered to let this treatment out to the whole world!

  20. Iain Reid permalink
    April 7, 2020 7:29 am

    My immediate reaction to oversupply of the grid by too much wind is turn down the wind output until the demand increases again?
    i know why this won’t happen, but it is the normal response when running a grid.

  21. Harry Passfield permalink
    April 7, 2020 9:20 am

    If it’s silly-season stories we want, Geoffrey Lean is back in today’s Daily Mail. Oh dear.

    • John Palmer permalink
      April 7, 2020 8:10 pm

      Oh dear indeed. I rather hoped we’d heard the last of him.
      Proper dyed-in-the-wool Eco-loon.

  22. tom0mason permalink
    April 7, 2020 9:30 am

    LADIES AND GENTLEMEN !
    Boys and Girls!

    INTRODUCINGAlbert Hammond and his FREE ELECTRIC BAND!!!!

  23. Gamecock permalink
    April 7, 2020 3:05 pm

    Advocacy journalism from the Guardian.

    ‘On Sunday morning, windfarms contributed almost 40% of the UK’s electricity, while solar power made up almost a fifth of the power system. Fossil fuels made up less than 15% of electricity, of which only 1.1% came from coal plants.

    Meanwhile, the country’s energy demand has fallen by around 10%’

    Meanwhile? One might note demand is down BEFORE crowing about the “contribution.”

  24. Gamecock permalink
    April 7, 2020 3:08 pm

    It doesn’t occur to the Guardian geniuses that there might be something wrong with a system that pays people to use electricity. It’s a defect, not a feature.

  25. April 9, 2020 11:22 pm

    Such madness is usually a sign of a market that finally reaches a saturation point for stupid. Because it’s the people that have to pay for this – its always them through everything the state shakes off us. Now, COVID-19 has finally managed to do what 12 years of money printing could not. It has unleashed the hounds of fiscal hell onto us coupled with joblessness and a vastly reduced standard of life. Every bubble bursts eventually. The one that bursts later hurts more.

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