Skip to content

Renewable Subsidies Reach Record High!

January 29, 2021

By Paul Homewood

From the BBC’s Newsround, the kiddies’ news channel:

image 

For the first time, renewable energy overtook fossil fuels to be the biggest source of electricity in the UK in 2020.

Wind, solar, bio-energy and hydro (water) power generated a record 42% of UK power last year, while fossil fuels – mostly gas – produced 41%, according to a report by energy experts Ember and Agora Energiewende.

In 2019, renewables generated 37% of the UK’s electricity, compared with 45% for fossil fuels.

Using renewables – often called ‘green energy’ – is better for the environment as it doesn’t produce the same levels of emissions that can lead to climate change as using fossil fuels and it also doesn’t use up the Earth’s resources in the same way.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/55839613

For some reason the BBC forgot to mention the immense cost of all this:

 

2.7 Environmental levies

£ billion

Outturn Forecast

2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 2023-24 2024-25 2025-26
CRC Energy Efficiency scheme 0.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Renewables obligation 6.1 6.0 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.8 7.0
Contracts for difference 1.6 2.4 2.9 3.0 3.3 3.1 3.2
Capacity market1 0.0 1.1 0.9 0.5 0.7 0.9 0.9
Green gas levy 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.1
Environmental levies 8.0 9.6 10.2 10.0 10.6 10.8 11.3
Memo: Expenditure on renewable heat incentive (RHI) 0.9 1.0 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1
Memo: Feed in Tariffs 1.5 1.6 1.6 1.6 1.7 1.7 1.7








Total Subsidy 10.4 12.2 12.9 12.6 13.4 13.6 14.1
Note: The ‘Environmental levies’ line above is consistent with the ‘Environmental levies’ line in Table 3.3 of the November 2020 Economic and fiscal outlook.
1 The ONS have yet to include capacity market auctions in their outturn numbers. If they were included, they would have been £1.7bn.

OBR Fiscal Outlook

 

This year, the cost of subsidising renewable energy will be £12.9bn, about £470 for every home in the country.

 

The headline in any event fails to tell the whole story. Wind and solar power only contributed 28% of electricity, with most of the rest coming from burning forests, which I doubt the BBC’s young viewers would find very “green”.

More to the point though, fossil fuels still account for 79% of total energy consumption, with renewables running at just 11%:

image

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/digest-of-uk-energy-statistics-dukes-2019

40 Comments
  1. January 29, 2021 11:19 am

    And why is this good news?

  2. January 29, 2021 11:30 am

    “Wind, solar, bio-energy and hydro (water) power generated a record 42% of UK power last year, while fossil fuels – mostly gas – produced 41%, according to a report by energy experts Ember and Agora Energiewende. In 2019, renewables generated 37% of the UK’s electricity, compared with 45% for fossil fuels”

    Cool! except that they were achieved with climate change fearology activism against fossil fuels. If the alternatives being championed here are as cool as being touted then why do they need climate fearology to sell?

  3. Ian Magness permalink
    January 29, 2021 11:32 am

    And yet, this week, another green energy supplier (in this case Green Notwork Energy) goes bust:
    https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/13875321/green-network-energy-and-simplicity-energy-go-bust/
    The other company (Bankruptcy is Simplicity) did not appear to pretend that it was saving the planet. Both, however, appear guilty of writing fixed price contracts to punters, later finding that U.K. energy costs more in practice than they expected. Could both ultimately be victims of the “wind power costs less and less each year” delusion?

  4. Joe Public permalink
    January 29, 2021 11:35 am

    I see that the Nov 2020 Table 2.7 now includes a ‘Memo’ row for Feed-In Tariffs of a mere £1,600,000,000 that somehow got forgotten from the March 2020 table!!!!!

    https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2020/08/30/what-happened-to-feed-in-tariffs/

  5. Jackington permalink
    January 29, 2021 11:35 am

    Nor do they point out that these percentages do not hold up every day of 2020. As we know most days of the year when the sun don’t shine and the wind don’t blow the contribution from renewables is extremely low. I assume in arriving at these figures the experts must have totted up the total KWh per day from each source to arrive at “The biggest source of electricity”

  6. Ajax Ornis permalink
    January 29, 2021 11:39 am

    Chaamjamal introduces me to “fearology” and I think it will prove to be a most useful addition to my vocabulary. Many thanks. I love it !

  7. miket permalink
    January 29, 2021 11:39 am

    Am I right that this doesn’t take into account the cost of constraint payments?

  8. Jack Broughton permalink
    January 29, 2021 11:42 am

    The proponents of the “Eco-future” regard money as a nuisance that is only important in subsidising their dreams. What the press are missing is that these subsidies and taxes effect everyone over time. Initially the effect is very small, which is why there is no outcry about the squandering of money for no benefit. However, taxes and duties on energy drive industry and jobs out of the UK. They are also reducing the money available for education, health, security etc: there is only one pot!

  9. bobn permalink
    January 29, 2021 1:15 pm

    How are they accounting the electricity via interconnectors? Do they add in the Belgian and dutch coal plants?

    • Joe Public permalink
      January 29, 2021 1:35 pm

      Not forgetting the French coal & gas plants.

      More from which will arrive at our shores courtesy the newly operational IFA2.

      https://www.electricitymap.org/zone/FR

    • Mad Mike permalink
      January 29, 2021 2:59 pm

      Yes, I was going to mention interconnectiors. There was a big fanfare about a week ago concerning a new connection from France and it was billed as green energy so I expect that will be added to the green energy side. Any totalitarian state would be proud of these guys.

  10. Gamecock permalink
    January 29, 2021 1:21 pm

    Well, then. E.ON UK can pack up their gas turbines and move them to Brazil.

  11. David 6 permalink
    January 29, 2021 1:28 pm

    Paul says, ” The headline in any event fails to tell the whole story. Wind and solar power only contributed 28% of electricity, with most of the rest coming from burning forests, which I doubt the BBC’s young viewers would find very “green”.

    “More to the point though, fossil fuels still account for 79% of total energy consumption, with renewables running at just 11%:”

    Yet the headline says renewables were over 50 percent??

    Also wind and solar at 28 percent makes sense maybe. His much if the production was over production when not needed? Yet what was the Forrest burning percentage, and what was the hydro percentage.

    • January 29, 2021 2:16 pm

      The official govt figures have not been published yet, but hydro and biomass normally run at about 4% and 10% respectively

      The BBC say renewables came to 42%, with Fossil fuels at 41% – the balance is mostly nuclear and imports

      • David A permalink
        January 29, 2021 8:14 pm

        Ok, yet how then do fossil fuels get to 79 percent, instead of 41%?

      • January 29, 2021 9:28 pm

        Fossil fuels account for 79% of ENERGY, but 41% of ELECTRICITY.

        ELECTRICITY accounts for about a quarter of ALL ENERGY

      • Stuart Brown permalink
        January 29, 2021 9:21 pm

        David A – 79% of total energy – so that’s domestic gas heating and cooking, gas and coal for commercial heat, coal for steel making etc. Electricity is a small part of that.

        But the 79% was for 2019, and the 41% was 2000, so apples and pears anyway.

        If I’ve understood this right…

      • Stuart Brown permalink
        January 29, 2021 9:28 pm

        41% was 2020 dammit!

      • David A permalink
        January 29, 2021 10:23 pm

        Thanks !

  12. mjr permalink
    January 29, 2021 1:31 pm

    Paul .. off topic but interesting piece on Climate change and CO2 on Sky news Australia today

    “Geologist Professor Ian Plimer says climate change cannot be “driven by carbon dioxide emissions” and the study claiming 97 per cent of scientists believe humanity is the cause of climate change is mainly touted by activists over scientists”.

    I would suggest people subscribe to sky news Australia on you tube as it provides more rational reporting than the rest of the MSM on most subjects

  13. Jack Broughton permalink
    January 29, 2021 1:53 pm

    The Government are trying to cover up the changes to the Green Book that will allow them carte blanche on Eco-nut-nut projects which have high cost but negative benefits.
    Hopefully, some MPs are wakening up to the planned profligacy: –

    “Government has also made changes to its Green Book guidance on evaluating investment proposals, such as removing the dominance of benefit-cost ratios in project appraisal and introducing a new public value framework. If not managed carefully, the benefits of proper scrutiny and development of programmes could become lost in a rush to deliver, and spending decisions could be made without sufficient demonstration of their value.”
    * Lessons from major projects and programmes, House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, 29th January 2021 (HC 694)

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      January 29, 2021 4:05 pm

      Perhaps the biggest fix in the Green Book is the provisions for deciding on how to evalute the “benefit” of carbon emission saving. It is defined tautologically to be whatever emissions value is necessary to produce an overall level of emissions consistent with the government target. Whatever it costs, it is deemed to be worth it.

  14. Mack permalink
    January 29, 2021 2:00 pm

    I fully expect the proportion of renewables in the system to grow much more, and not just through governmental largesse and scientific and engineering ignorance.

    Having just caught sight of the US Department of Defense’s latest press release authored by Biden’s new Secretary, the suitably imperious sounding, Lloyd J. Austin III, the Yanks have now declared war on ‘climate change’. It’s only a matter of time before gas and coal fired power stations are targeted as national security threats. So, brace yourselves for the imminent arrival on these shores of members of the US Army Rangers, Delta Force and Navy Seal Team 6 and them whizzing round the country levelling our remaining fossil fuelled power stations in advance of COP 26. That’ll teach the weather a thing or two, Bonkers (nee Bonking) Boris would see it as a show stealing opener to the Glasgow climate carnival and it would pave the way for the U.K. to become the world’s first national wind park. Job done.

    I’d like to think I’m only joking but….

  15. A C Osborn permalink
    January 29, 2021 3:55 pm

    There are 3 other areas of accounting not taken in to consideration.
    1. When the Solar & Wind is producing the Coal & Gas Backup Plants cannot be completely turned off, so their cost should be added to the cost of Wind & Solar.
    2. When Wind is not producing, they are “parasitic”, taking energy from the Fossil Fuel generation, so should also be a negative impact.
    3. Coal & Gas are continually penalised by Climate Taxes which is added to our bills.

  16. Ian Wilson permalink
    January 29, 2021 4:02 pm

    Also off topic, a slightly more hopeful sign after so many large companies are jumping on the net zero bandwagon, on BBC Radio 4 early business news Laurence Fink, CEO of Blackrock, warned of huge job losses if there was a headlong rush away from fossil fuels. This is interesting as I recall Blackrock banging the net zero drum in the past so perhaps someone has seen the light.

  17. January 29, 2021 4:20 pm

    I know this has been said before but how do they plan to build wind turbines without fossil fuels? e.g. we frequently hear of oil leaking into the ground from the nacelle but I didn’t know how much oil went into one turbine so did a little search and obviously it depends on the turbine size but figures of up to 400 gallons were mentioned. In a net zero world what will replace all the oil required in all kinds of machinery? I’m not an engineer, just an old anti-wind campaigner so just wondered.

    • David A permalink
      January 29, 2021 8:21 pm

      Bears me. His will the mine all the requirements for their fantasy?One Tesla battery requires about 500,000 pounds of earth moved and processed.

      Since we can’t use all that diesel powered mining equipment, perhaps we can put all the excess cows no longer needed as a food source, and put them to labor in the mines.

  18. Mad Mike permalink
    January 29, 2021 5:13 pm

    Does anybody know why we get 4% or 5% of our electricity from France practically all the time? We are fully capable of producing the electricity for ourselves and atm that from France is not classified as renewable or green.

    • Joe Public permalink
      January 29, 2021 5:20 pm

      “We are fully capable of producing the electricity for ourselves and atm that from France is not classified as renewable or green.”

      It might not be “classified as renewable or green.”, but it is certainly ‘greener’:

      • MikeHig permalink
        January 29, 2021 9:19 pm

        Joe P: the chart shows the grid average for each country. Incremental demand, such as exports from France to us, will be met by the “swing source” which takes up the slack between demand and the available zero-carbon power: probably gas or coal.
        Paul ran a post on this recently when the IFA2 was opened.

    • A C Osborn permalink
      January 29, 2021 6:14 pm

      How about cheaper?

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      January 29, 2021 8:25 pm

      The UK classifies all interconnector imports as zero carbon, even when they plainly aren’t. The biggest lie concerns the BritNed interconnector, which is directly linked to our offshore coal fired power station at Maasvlakte at the mouth of the Rhine alongside the HVDC terminal. They might just as well have built the originally planned Kingsnorth station at the other end of the line.

      The UK end of the BritNed next to the Grain LNG terminal:

      https://goo.gl/maps/NayDFJewPDyabwZm9

      • Mack permalink
        January 30, 2021 1:28 am

        Very good point. Now try explaining that to a British MP. They all seem to think that the electrons coming from over the pond are created by pixie dust and unicorn farts!

  19. MikeHig permalink
    January 29, 2021 9:38 pm

    How much of this apparent increase in the share of renewables is due to demand being suppressed by the lockdowns, etc?
    Any reduction in total demand would reduce the production from non-renewable sources as renewables – and nuclear – are always prioritised onto the Grid.

    • January 30, 2021 8:51 am

      Mike,

      you are correct, a depressed demand means that there is less gas and coal generation because they do most of teh balancng work.
      Therfore this is flattering to renewables but does not mean that renewables are getting better, as such.
      I don’t expect the economy to pick up much this year and the economy is a reflection of electricity demand. Also if heat pumps and evs use increases the demand for gas and coal will rise and we will see renewables share drop.

  20. REM permalink
    January 30, 2021 5:00 am

    If you shut everything else down the percentage of wind and solar generation is bound to go up, just as 100% of nothing is still 100%. Also, perhaps we should start calling “fossil fuels” “natural fuels” instead. They are there, in the ground. We just dig them out and make use of them.

    • REM permalink
      January 30, 2021 5:01 am

      Should be 100% of nothing is still nothing.

  21. REM permalink
    January 30, 2021 5:03 am

    Should be “just as 100% of nothing is still nothing”.

  22. Mike Williams permalink
    January 30, 2021 10:15 am

    A trick they play in Australia is “renewables can compete with Fossil fuels”.
    Fossil fuel gets paid once when they produce the energy
    Now comes the accounting trick.
    Renewable energy certificates (REC)give the solar scammers two profits.
    1/When they produce the energy
    2/When the (REC) is finally “closed” and they get paid with public funds.
    With wind scammers they get 3 forms of profit.
    1/When they produce the energy
    2/When the (REC) is finally closed and they get paid with public funds.
    3/Constraint payments for shutting down.
    Which devalues the coal burning profits.
    The next trick they have is activists stalking banks about their investing/lending to fossil fuel companies.
    Now the banks just virtue signal and kills loans or refuse loans.
    So the fossil fuel industry in Australis is dying.
    We produce the coal and gas used around the world…but “they” are making it verboten for us to use it.
    Luckily for the scammers, there are few journalists who notice this or investigate most politicians dont have a clue

  23. Conrad Jones permalink
    February 1, 2021 1:09 pm

    Here’s more good news for ancient forests “The Biden Administration, through executive action, can immediately begin to drive markets toward beneficial forms of advanced wood heating. It is essential that Biden’s administration analyzes small-scale wood heating as having unequivocal carbon benefits.” http://biomassmagazine.com/articles/17531/alliance-for-green-heat-urges-biden-to-support-wood-heating?fbclid=IwAR0wJ0h8fopsLjt7bdJ5yE2gJRxDNFpeXwSKVX9pi1DLBPuylAdnEMjyHrA

Comments are closed.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: