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Dummies Guide To Renewable Subsidies

June 13, 2020

By Paul Homewood

 

 image

https://obr.uk/efo/economic-and-fiscal-outlook-march-2020/

 

I have been asked to write an dummies’ guide to describe how the system for subsidising renewable energy works. It’s doubly pertinent as I saw comments on Guido’s site just the other day repeating the mantra that wind power is now the cheapest form of generation.

As the name suggests, it will be necessity be a simple description, so please forgive if I gloss over some of the technical detail!

The above table was published by the Office for Budget Responsibility, and summarises the cost of Environmental Levies which are added to energy bills each year as a result of government policy, as opposed to being recovered through taxation.

All of these costs are incurred because of the government’s renewable energy policy.

 

Renewables Obligation

Renewable Obligation certificates (ROCs) are issued to operators of accredited renewable generating stations for the eligible renewable electricity they generate.

Energy suppliers have an obligation to source a certain proportion of their electricity from renewable sources each year, and therefore need to purchase these certificates to demonstrate that they have met their obligation.

Different renewable technologies are awarded varying numbers of certificates for each MWh. Typically onshore wind farms get one ROC per MWh, offshore 1.8 ROCs and solar farms 1.4 ROCs.

The value of ROCs rises year on year. The buy-out price for the 2019-20 obligation period is £48.78 per Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC). This is the amount suppliers will need to pay for each ROC they do not present towards compliance with their 2019-20 obligation.

On average therefore onshore wind receives an ROC subsidy of £48.78/MWh, offshore £87.801/MWh and solar £68.29/MWh. This is on top of the revenue from actually selling the electricity generated, which has fluctuated between about £20 and £50/MWh in the last year.

The Renewable Obligation system was closed to new applicants in 2015, but generators already registered prior to that date will continue receiving subsidies for the life of their assets.

As all energy suppliers have to source ROCs, either by buying from a renewable generator or by buying ROCs on the market, customers end up footing the bill.

 

 

 

Contracts for Difference (CfDs)

These were introduced to replace the RO mechanism. Auctions are held typically on an annual basis for new renewable projects, and successful bidders are given index linked, guaranteed prices for all of the electricity they generate. These contracts run for 15 years, except for Hinkley Point which has a contract for 35 years.

The scheme is administered by the Low Carbon Contracts Company (LCCC), owned by the government, and the register of contracts to date can be seen here. Although prices have been coming down over time, some offshore wind projects earn £173/MWh.

Whatever price the generator earns in the market for the electricity it sells is topped by the LCCC to the guaranteed price, which is inflation linked each year. If the generator sells at a higher price than the guarantee, it must pay back the difference to the LCCC.

However, if market prices were consistently higher, there is nothing to stop the generator from reneging on the contract, albeit on payment of a relatively small penalty, and thereby take advantage of the higher market revenue.

Currently onshore wind and solar farms are excluded from the CfD auctions, though there are moves afoot to change that.

The LCCC’s outlay is recovered from all electricity suppliers via The CFD Supplier Obligation, charged per MWh of demand. In turn of course, suppliers this from customers.

Capacity Market Mechanism

Given the inherent unreliability of wind and solar power, the Capacity Market was set up to buy standby capacity. On an annual basis, auctions are held and generators can bid to supply a certain amount of capacity, which the National Grid can call on when needed.

These are held on a Reverse Auction basis, to weed out the more expensive offers.

Currently most of this contracted standby supply is from existing operators, who can afford to contract at low bids. This tends to keep out of the market new build generators, particularly CCGT, as they need much higher standby payments to justify new construction.

Again, the LCCC recover this cost from suppliers.

While Capacity Market costs are not a direct subsidy to renewable generators, they are the direct result of the intermittency of wind and solar power. Costs that should of course be borne by the them.

 

Feed in Tariffs (FITs)

FITs do not appear in the OBR table above, and I have queried this with them.

It has always appeared in previous years, and the cost last year was £1.6bn a year.

FITs apply to smaller generators, including small wind farms and solar parks.

The scheme was closed to new entrants in 2019, but will continue to run for those previously registered.

 

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

Note that this is shown as a memo item, as it is funded via general taxation. Nevertheless it is yet another subsidy for renewable energy, designed to encourage private households, communities, and businesses to install renewable energy technologies for heating purposes.

Such technologies typically include biomass, heat pumps and solar panels.

 

Other Subsidies

Other costs associated with the deployment of renewable energy are not included by the OBR.

These include the costs incurred by the National Grid for balancing services, including constraint payments, likely to be well over £1bn this year. While the National Grid has always had to pay balancing costs, they have risen drastically with the growth of renewable power.

There is also the cost of upgrading transmission networks and constructing new interconnectors.

61 Comments
  1. matelot65 permalink
    June 13, 2020 2:58 pm

    Isn’t the German Green Industry in trouble because they are losing wind power subsiies at the end of the year? Seems wind power can’t survive without massive subsidies, and the Germans build coal fired power stations. Could they be hving an outbreak of sanity?

  2. Thomas Carr permalink
    June 13, 2020 3:31 pm

    Paul, very many thanks for the table. I will print it off.

    When time allows a similar moving table for the wind farm outputs over ‘say’ the latest available 18 months relative to their claimed capacity would reveal the extent of the nonsense from the promotors. .
    Apologies if this is already in the public domain . If so please direct me.

    Can I assume that the Tax Payers Alliance is also seeing this information from you?

    Its the sort of stuff the BBC ‘specialists’ should see at least once a month together with the supply details from the European Inter-connectors from Gravelines etc.

    • June 13, 2020 4:57 pm

      This is one of the best sites:

      https://gridwatch.co.uk/Wind

      • 01 Cat permalink
        June 14, 2020 12:36 pm

        If I could ask a question, Paul; I have been following Gridwatch for several years-I am puzzled why, recently, coal has been deleted, and biomass substituted-even though coal has not (yet) been totally shut down.

        Also (am I missing something here!)-the totals for each category never seem to add up to 100%!

      • June 14, 2020 12:49 pm

        Wind is running at 2.2% of a low 28.3 GW of UK elec. supply at the moment. Imports at 13.9%. At least it’s quite sunny otherwise coal might be needed, shock horror.

        That’s daytime under COVID lockdown, reduced industry demand etc.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      June 14, 2020 3:30 pm

      For those windfarms operating under ROCs, the information here is periodically updated:

      https://ref.org.uk/generators/index.php

      Otherwise, it’s a painful process of finding out the codes and downloading a day at a time here:

      https://www.bmreports.com/bmrs/?q=actgenration/actualgeneration

      It’s a process designed to deter inquiring minds.

      Finding what they originally claimed can be more difficult, especially if they only quoted it in the highly variable unit called “homes”.

  3. Broadlands permalink
    June 13, 2020 3:32 pm

    The ironic incongruity is that renewables (other than biofuels… that are 90% fossil fuel) are useless in the transport industry. Policy Dummies should know that?

  4. heatherclad permalink
    June 13, 2020 3:46 pm

    So that would be £464 per household in 2019 (including FITs and capacity market auctions.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      June 14, 2020 11:19 am

      I don’t think the ‘per household’ is a very good metric as according to what you say if the global warming taxes were not there my bill would be £4 a year. The GWPF called for all global warming taxes to be dropped to help the economy recover since they are of no benefit and said that the taxes added 40% to our bills.

  5. Philip permalink
    June 13, 2020 3:52 pm

    I didn’t find this at all clear. Maybe it’s me. But it would have been nice to have a summary paragraph at the end saying clearly what each one does cost. Then I’d be able to see if Guido was wrong about wind power

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      June 13, 2020 7:29 pm

      Maybe it is you, Philip. I guess it would help if you could say what it is that was not clear to you n the first place.

      • Philip permalink
        June 16, 2020 7:12 pm

        I’ve no doubt it is me. The article started by implying that Guido got it wrong that wind power was now the cheapest form of power…. So I was kinda expecting to see what was the cheapest… But I must have missed it.

      • June 16, 2020 9:55 pm

        No, sorry for the confusion, but it was one of Guido’s commenters who claimed that

  6. June 13, 2020 3:55 pm

    Glad you mentioned constraints Paul as I keep a regular check on these via REF https://www.ref.org.uk/constraints/index.php. Last weekend the UK total was nearly £773m. so yes, no doubt £1bn by the end of this year. Of that over £726m. was in Scotland. Windfarms in one remote county of Scotland – Sutherland – have been paid more than the total of England and Wales.
    Maybe that’s why Westminster takes so little notice, their bill payers probably don’t realise what they are paying for Scotland. Holyrood is so obsessed with renewables nothing registers with them. Now they are planning more huge offshore windfarms round the Scottish coast to add to the problem in addition to the onshore ones awaiting construction or in planning. Windfarm developers barely need subsidies when they get paid so much to provide nothing.
    Millions, billions, trillions – they’ve stopped counting the zeros.

  7. John Cocker permalink
    June 13, 2020 3:58 pm

    I wish you had not called it a “Dummies Guide” as I have trouble understanding it.

    • Bertie permalink
      June 13, 2020 8:01 pm

      Ditto – way above my ‘arts’ brain!

  8. June 13, 2020 4:23 pm

    I think it should be ‘A Dummy’s Guide to Renewable Subsidies’. As such, it should be sent to all dummies. All MPs, BBC staff, Channel4 staff, the Graunid staff, the CCC, BEIS etc etc should therefore receive a copy.

    • Athelstan. permalink
      June 15, 2020 6:12 pm

      10/10!

  9. A C Osborn permalink
    June 13, 2020 4:36 pm

    Paul, you said “It’s doubly pertinent as I saw comments on Guido’s site just the other day repeating the mantra that wind power is now the cheapest form of generation.”

    What they are doing is projecting in to the future by quoting current price negotiations on Wind Farms that have yet to be built, while totally ignoring the costs that we already have and will still have for many years.
    ie Lying by omission.

  10. Harry Passfield permalink
    June 13, 2020 4:46 pm

    A ‘Dummies’ Guide’, eh? I take it Harrabin got a copy. /s

  11. June 13, 2020 4:48 pm

    It is the FIT scheme which gives the biggest subsidies: over 45p/kWh (over £450/MWh) for some schemes, ie well over 20 times the wholesale price of electricity. Facilities include wind turbines, solar panels, anaerobic digesters and hydroelectricity. There are abut 700,000 facilities getting subsidies under the FIT scheme.

    • Martin Thomson permalink
      June 13, 2020 8:30 pm

      It is not small scale wind receiving those FIT payments I assure you from bitter personal experience. Those payments were slashed by that idiot Milliband when he was energy secretary during the last Labour government in order to hand huge subsidies of the sort you indicate to domestic solar. This became the most efficient process yet devised to transfer money from poor people to rich people.

  12. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 13, 2020 4:49 pm

    What about the hidden subsidies – imposed costs because of the remote and erratic nature of wind power etc. unequal market advantages, damage of high electricity prices to other areas of the economy, damage to the environment…. whatever… the whole cost, compared to if we’d gone for a fracked gas based electricity generation system with no unreliables….

    OK too difficult – but surely not for the CCC, IFS, ONS, OBR, NAO, BFR surely someone can step up in the interests of openness and transparency about the real costs of current energy policy?

    • June 13, 2020 11:08 pm

      It’s ‘heads we win, tails you lose’ for wind producers while fuel based suppliers queue up for earning opportunities.

  13. CheshireRed permalink
    June 13, 2020 5:21 pm

    Paul, may I suggest you post a summary of all those items you list, confirming total annual costs to taxpayers. If that figure can then be broken down per household then it’ll give some context to these costs. Likewise say over a 5 year term of government.

    Then putting spending on other issues, eg defence, education and so on, next to them would again put this insanity into context.

    For good measure how about comparing these costs on a graph showing global CO2 emissions and temperature trends. That’d be fun as it ‘d show the UK’s efforts are having precisely net zero effect on global emissions, atmospheric concentrations of CO2, or either abating potential temperature rises or on actual temperatures.

    In other words show how these numbers relate to the man in the street and to global emissions and temperatures.

    • June 13, 2020 6:34 pm

      That’s a good idea

      • Bloke no longer down the pub permalink
        June 15, 2020 12:03 pm

        For the sake of fairness and just for laughs, would a list of subsidies available to the fossil fuel powered generation be useful?

    • June 13, 2020 9:16 pm

      And I would hope a potted summary after that summary of why any claim about CO2 being anything other than beneficial is contradicted by physics and confirmed by geological history. Indeed as my rants often end , there IS a real problem with CO2 because too much of it has been locked up the past 160 million years by those shelly things living in oceans now turned to carbonaceous rocks. Only a small amount was calculated for in the “Big Scheme of things”. As a consequence, he Carbon Cycle is totally out of sync. I pay serious attention to a 160 million year trend as should we all because the current uptick is a mere blip on that inexorable decline towards 160ppm (photosynthesis stops around 160ppm) when it will be game over and their desperate efforts to get rid of CO2 will hasten our demises for green actually becomes brown. Strange how often back to front ideologies and religions get it because there is no “green” without CO2, the gas of life!

  14. richardw permalink
    June 13, 2020 5:23 pm

    I don’t understand how wind power has come down in cost so quickly, with a lot of strike prices now around £46/MWh. I am not aware of any recent advances in technology or efficiency that would make this possible – could someone enlighten me?

    Also is battery storage included in the figures quoted or is it separately subsidised?

    • A C Osborn permalink
      June 13, 2020 5:32 pm

      Because they haven’t built them yet, many experts suggest that they cannot run economically at those prices.

      • richardw permalink
        June 13, 2020 10:05 pm

        Construction has started on the Dogger Bank wind farms. Surely this would not have happened if they were not confident of the project being profitable?

    • June 13, 2020 6:34 pm

      No, battery storage has to be paid for via the Capacity Market, or the Grid’s balancing reserve

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      June 13, 2020 7:56 pm

      We need to knock this nonsense of ‘battery storage’ on the head. It is not ‘storage – in the sense that it will provide domestic (at least) power for grid outages – it is only there to act as inertia (pretty poor at that as well, in cost-efficient terms).
      The message that needs to get out there is that battery storage is a con, put out there to get the believers on side so that they can spread the word (lie).

  15. June 13, 2020 5:38 pm

    Paul, I have just read this review in the “Spectator” and hope you will comment on it (to them perhaps): “Tree Story: The History of the World Written in Rings by Valerie Trouet – review Philip Marsden”

    • June 13, 2020 7:20 pm

      Just reading it now. Do we know who this Marsden guy is?

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        June 13, 2020 7:39 pm

        Starts off so well, then dives into climate propaganda and assertions.

        The original hockey stick graph has been utterly demolished, and yet it still persists – that tells you all you need to know about the power the the climate change industry and the complicity of the MSM.

        It’s an old argument now. The same faults – most would consider it fraud – still exist. The ClimateAudit site has a lot of historic stuff on tree-ring proxy shenanigans.

        Simply, from memory, it comes down to inappropriate selection/screening and use of data including a particularly anomalous single site/tree to give the OMG warming signal.

        Probably a good grounder:-

        Click to access conf05mckitrick.pdf

        Mann etc. tried to reproduce it with new data, prove it was right all along, but that has also been ripped to pieces – but no one in the MSM listens.

      • June 14, 2020 8:38 am

        According to Wikipedia he’s a travel writer and novelist with a degree in anthropology.

      • dave permalink
        June 14, 2020 9:27 am

        A review of a popular-science book, in a literary publication, by a non-expert.
        What could go possibly wrong?

    • Bertie permalink
      June 13, 2020 8:12 pm

      I don’t know if it was a quote from the author or the reviewer’s own take, but my BP rose with the statement that “… but has since persuaded all but the lunatic fringe that the spike in global temperatures is something abnormal”.
      I fear it was the latter, not the sort of attitude I expect from a contributor to the Spectator, which happens to be my favourite magazine. (I had to cancel my subscription to Country Life when the editorial emphasis switched to belief in AGW.)

    • June 13, 2020 9:37 pm

      The simple thing is that tree ring sizes vary because of several variables NOT ONLY ONE as the shyster in chief claimed. He was actually warned against using the Bristle Cone Pine because of its susceptibility to multiple variables…..but hey look where we have come to with the Enlightenment and what now passes for scientific endeavour. Only in the corrupt world of Klimut Syence can a shysters career be enhanced by committing a scientific fraud ( when it is in the name of the religion). Indeed this pathetic excuse for a so called scientist sued Climatologist Dr Tim Ball in Canada who called him out on his methods.
      https://www.climatedepot.com/2019/08/24/climatologist-dr-tim-ball-defeats-michael-manns-climate-lawsuit/

      Mann had the shear effrontery to refuse the courts request. ffor a case he brought himself, for the very data which went into his hockey stick!

      No science anywhere is promoted before it is checked and rechecked unless of course it is Klimut Cyence. Reproducibility is one of the cornerstones of the Scientific Method and Mann managed to publish, was heavily promoted without ever having his work checked. Hansen was one of the worms actively promoting it. A highly suspect and unprofessional act by a supposed scientist with influence.

      • June 13, 2020 9:39 pm

        If they can keep moving the scientific goal posts then I am entitled to keep changing to spelling to match!

  16. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 13, 2020 8:03 pm

    Ice cores are another proxy, there is nothing unusual about current temperatures.

    Previous inter-glacial periods compared with current:

    In a normal time line:

  17. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 13, 2020 8:04 pm

    Antarctica and Greenland compared:

    Greenland recent few thousand years in detail:

  18. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 13, 2020 8:29 pm

    ClimateAudit article on later hockey stick play:

    https://climateaudit.org/2018/10/24/pages2k-north-american-tree-ring-proxies/

  19. Nancy & John Hultquist permalink
    June 13, 2020 9:18 pm

    The following is on motls dot blogspot (trf: June 13 – John Huss King – anti-white racism), but is not about climate. It is from “a letter” about race issue in America. However, it might sound to some as being about AGW:
    . . . it is being treated as an axiomatic and actionable truth without serious consideration of its profound flaws, . . .

    _ _ _ _
    Might I suggest doing away with “farm” and “park” and call power producing things facilities.

  20. Mike Stoddart permalink
    June 14, 2020 2:23 am

    Very clear exposition of what is a complex business.
    The word “recover”, or similar seems, to have gone AWOL from the final sentence in the section on CfDs.

  21. StephenP permalink
    June 14, 2020 9:40 am

    I am afraid that I still find it all horribly complicated. There are so many ifs and buts in
    I would love someone to provide the answers to the following questions.

    What does it cost to build a 100 MW windmill and connect it to the grid?
    On shore.
    Off shore.
    Ditto for solar.
    How many tons of CO2 are produced in building them AND connecting them to the grid?
    How much CO2 is not sequestered because the transmission lines have to be kept free of vegetation and due to shading by solar panels?
    How much useable electricity is produced by each location of windmill?
    How much are the generators paid for the electricity they produce?
    Are they paid anything for when they can’t produce any electricity?
    How much are they paid for what they could produce when the wind doesn’t blow?
    How much would a 100 MWh battery cost, and how much CO2 would be produced in making it?
    Why are they given first bite of the cherry when providing electricity instead of competing on a level playing field?
    How much CO2 is produced by coal and gas per 100 MW hour?
    What has been the average cost and price for coal and gas fired generation?
    What is the footprint for each of the systems of producing electricity?
    What are the life spans for each of the systems?

    I know many of these questions have been answered in part, but I would like to have them all under one head so as to be able to do a proper costing for each of the systems of generation.
    ( Probably many people do. )

  22. June 14, 2020 10:49 am

    If a supplier bought wholesale electricity from a renewables generator, what price would he typically pay for the accompanying renewables obligation certificate ? Presumably, it would be less than the buy-out price otherwise there would be no incentive to get the electricity from the renewables generator.

    Money collected by Ofgem at the buy-out price from those suppliers who fail to present enough ROCs is redistributed to suppliers on a pro-rata basis depending on how many ROCs they did present. So it is the strike price rather than the buy-out price which determines the level of subsidy to renewables.

    The buy-out price for the 2020-21 period is £50.05 per certificate.

  23. richardw permalink
    June 14, 2020 11:23 am

    Paul’s article says that the Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) scheme was terminated for new generators in 2015. So if an energy company is mandated to buy ROCs, is this only for power sourced from pre-2015 generators?

  24. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 14, 2020 12:07 pm

    This could be an example of something just finding the right moment. In the past UK government policy seems to have hindered this technology I recall. Perhaps now the misguided ‘green recovery’ mantra might actually have something useful come out of it?

    https://www.thegwpf.com/britain-goes-nuclear-as-rolls-royce-triggers-250-billion-mini-reactor-race/

  25. Vernon E permalink
    June 14, 2020 3:26 pm

    I’ve lost the will to live. How on earth did we get into this mess without the electorate ever being asked if this is how we want things to be?

    • John Cullen permalink
      June 15, 2020 10:57 am

      Vernon,

      The short answer is, I believe, that the democratic process has been suborned by essentially secret lobbying [Ref. 1] by well funded rent-seekers; ordinary people cannot afford to hire lobbyists. How we got to such a political impasse is set out in Refs 2 and 3. The resulting very damaging energy/environmental policy consequences are described in Refs 4 and 5; Helm’s book [Ref. 4] links back to lobbying and the associated group-think and rent-seeking vested interests. And Taylor, who wrote Ref. 5 over 10 years ago, warns at page 14 that, “Green is fast emerging as the new Black.” Indeed, there are for me striking similarities between the current settlement and that in the post World War One decades.

      Thus the future for many countries in the West is not looking good in at least the short- and medium-term. However, if the above analysis is broadly correct then the glimmer of hope is that the weaknesses in our political system have been identified and can, in principle, be corrected in due course. The vested interests won’t like that! Hence expect lots of resistance in the media and amongst the political elites both of whom have been so thoroughly suborned.

      References
      1. T. Cave & A. Rowell, “A Quiet Word – lobbying, crony capitalism and broken politics in Britain”, Vintage, 2015.
      2. Colin Crouch, “Post-Democracy”, polity, 2004.
      3. R. Eatwell & M. Goodwin, “National Populism – the revolt against liberal democracy”, Pelican, 2018.
      4. Dieter Helm, “The Carbon Crunch”, Yale, revised & updated 2015.
      5. Peter Taylor, “Chill – a reassessment of global warming theory”, Clairview, 2009.

      Regards,
      John.

  26. It doesn't add up... permalink
    June 14, 2020 5:23 pm

    There is access to some broad data on Renewables Obligations from OFGEM here:

    https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/environmental-programmes/ro/contacts-publications-and-data/public-reports-and-data-ro

    In the year from March 2019 to February 2020 (most recent 12 month period reported), some 113.63 million ROCs were issued, worth about £5.6 billion.

    More detail is available via this report:

    https://www.renewablesandchp.ofgem.gov.uk/Public/ReportViewer.aspx?ReportPath=/DatawarehouseReports/CertificatesExternalPublicDataWarehouse&ReportVisibility=1&ReportCategory=2

    You can track down your local anaerobic digester and see what they’re up to. I plan on doing some analysis given that the data can be downloaded. 4,000 or so separate subsidy suckers.

  27. Coeur de Lion permalink
    June 14, 2020 5:52 pm

    O/T but as I write U.K. wind is producing half a gigawatt or 2% of demand. Pathetic.

  28. William Hutchison permalink
    June 14, 2020 6:54 pm

    Bill Hutchison: I am the original Dummy who asked if Paul could give us a guide to renewable subsidies and I am very grateful to him for doing so. In my view “Not a Lot of People Know That” is essential reading for any climate sceptic.
    May I also recommend the Reports, Technical Papers etc from the GWPF and one book in particular “Inconvenient Facts” by Gregory Wrightstone.
    Finally, please get engaged politically. You will find the dialogue bright green and very naive. Press your MP for the cost of Net-Zero Carbon by 2050. You won’t get an answer even from Ministers (I haven’t) but numbers and pressure are important if we are to shift the discussion from the current fantasy policies back to practical options.

  29. It doesn't add up... permalink
    June 15, 2020 12:42 am

    I haven’t tried to work it all through yet, but I suspect that the renewables obligation calculations will have been thrown completely out of kilter by the impact of the virus on electricity demand, and by the probably unexpected amounts of RO production that have and will be lost due to curtailment, which preferentially goes to cheapest to curtail onshore wind, most of which gets ROCs. It will need a detailed look at the rules. It would be no surprise if it turns out that it increases bills for consumers.

  30. June 15, 2020 9:12 am

    2020 Recorded Weather Dependent Renewables Productivity UK
    Onshore wind 24%
    Offshore Wind 31%
    Solar PV 10%
    Average Renewables 22%
    Conventional Generation 90%

    What do these productivity numbers mean?

    Think about electricity generation as an ordinary business, which provides a product which has to be of consistent high quality and which is vital to all the other businesses of your Nation.
    But more than half of your labour force only turn up on 1 day in 5. And you don’t really know which day that might be.
    But the unions insist that if they do turn up you have to employ them and lay off some of the guys that can work full time.
    And worse than that, almost to half of those guys only turn up 1 day in 10. And those ones usually arrive on days when you are not likely to need them but you still have to pay them in full. Anyway, they always go home before the time of your maximum work load.
    The unions also insist that you pay them about 5 – 15 times as much as your ordinary productive workers.
    These workers get tired quickly and retire a third of the way through a normal working lifetime.
    And when these guys do arrive, they cause difficulties with quality assurance, severe industrial disruption and have the ability to suddenly close down your production altogether.
    This is the scale of business problems that the ill-informed decision to opt for collecting dilute and irregularly intermittent energy from the environment and calling it Renewable.

    And all this is insisted on by law to show your neighbours how virtuous you are at tackling a fabricated non-problem. However, your self-destructive actions can only ever affect perhaps ¼ of a diminishing 1% of the perceived global problem. At the same time your own politicians and regulators seem to want to trash your own economy for the possibility of very marginal effect at the end of the century if at all.

    The competitors in your market don’t think you are either wise or virtuous. They will not be following the “lead” you have established. They are mocking you. They will be delighted to take advantage of the huge commercial disadvantage that you have had imposed on all your country.

    The late Professor Sir David Mackay (former chef scientific advisor of the Department of Energy and Climate Change) in a final interview before his untimely death in 2016 said that the concept of powering a developed country such as the UK with Weather Dependent Renewable energy was:
    “an appalling delusion”.
    Weather Dependent Renewable Energy depends on capturing essentially dilute and very variable sources of power. Weather Dependent Renewables are thus both capital and maintenance expensive and inevitably unreliable. Weather Dependent Renewables are universally more expensive than the conventional alternatives of Nuclear power or Gas-firing.
    At the time he also said:
    “there’s so much delusion, it’s so dangerous for humanity that people allow themselves to have such delusions, that they are willing to not think carefully about the numbers, and the reality of the laws of physics and the reality of engineering….humanity does need to pay attention to arithmetic and the laws of physics.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/may/03/idea-of-renewables-powering-uk-is-an-appalling-delusion-david-mackay

    and later in the same interview he said that:
    “if it is possible to get through the winter with low CO2 Nuclear and possibly with Carbon Capture and Storage there is no point in having any Wind or Solar power in the UK generation mix”

    But it seems that having bought into the assumption that Catastrophic Man-made Global Warming is an immediate and existential threat that Government elites when faced with these simple but devastatingly wasteful calculations assume a position of “wilful ignorance”, and a stance of “don’t confuse me with the facts, we are saving the world“.

  31. Coeur de Lion permalink
    June 16, 2020 7:33 am

    O/T but UK wind is at half a per cent of demand

    • June 16, 2020 5:06 pm

      Now crept up to 1.1%, while gas is 63.4%. Over to Harrabin & co for informative BBC commentary…hello?

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