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Offshore Wind “Virtually Subsidy Free”- Justin Rowlatt

June 23, 2021

By Paul Homewood


Even by BBC standards this is a grossly deceitful report from Justin Rowlatt:





From start to finish, the video is no more than a puff piece for the wind industry.

But Rowlatt makes one specific claim, which I have imaged above:


Of course, the offshore wind industry is not “subsidy free”, it continues to collect billions in subsidies each year, and will continue to until well into the 2030s. ROC subsidies for offshore wind alone amount to £2.3bn a year, whilst subsidies via CfDs added an estimated £1.2bn last year. All of this is added to consumers’ bills. This cost will increase as more, heavily subsidised wind farms come on stream this year

Rowlatt’s report concerns the 1000th wind turbine installed by Oersted, which is in the Hornsea Project 2. The first stage of the Hornsea development, now completed, totals 1.2GW capacity, and currently earns a index linked, guaranteed price of £164.98/MWh. With wholesale market prices around £40/MWh, this means that Hornsea was paid a subsidy of £612 million in full year equivalent terms last year. (The final Phase was not completed till March 2021).

Why was none of this mentioned by Rowlatt?

His reference to “subsidy free” refers only to new developments coming on stream in a few years time, although he does not make this clear. But even this is stretching the truth. Hornsea Project 2, for instance, will receive a guaranteed price of £68.55/MWh at current prices, well above the wholesale price in recent years, which has hovered between £40 and £50/MWh most of the time.

Also the fact of a guaranteed price, and with it priority access to the market, is in itself a “subsidy”, as it gives financial advantages not offered to other generators. Nor do the wind farms have to pay for the cost of intermittency, which they introduce to the system.

In view of all this, it is little wonder that no offshore wind farms have been commissioned without being awarded subsidies via ROC or CfD. If what Rowlatt was saying was true, companies would be building offshore wind farms without waiting to be awarded CfD contracts.

Another complaint will be winging its way to the BBC!

  1. Peter S permalink
    June 23, 2021 5:40 pm

    The BBC tells me that my second stage complaint is running late because they have a lot more complaints than normal.

    It sounds like an excellent time for lots of us to complain. It would be embarrassing for the Beeb if we overwhelm the system. I suspect that BBC complaints will come under scrutiny at some stage and hopefully the number of climate ones will cause questions to be asked by politicians.

  2. peter green permalink
    June 23, 2021 5:44 pm

    Rowlatts and the BBC are total frauds telling all those porkies…… and the ugly truth of it is that they know they can get away with it because the government will not hold them to account. I have not paid my licence for five years but i wish i could do more to dethrone them…. any suggestions?

    • June 23, 2021 8:57 pm

      I suggest financially supporting the rapidly growing “Alternative Media”, at least to the amount of your licence fee savings. It is only a matter of time for the major youtube channels to get banned, losing a major part of their income, there are well funded “activists” working daily towards that goal.

  3. Will davis permalink
    June 23, 2021 5:55 pm

    Yes Paul, please keep complaining ! The whole GW theory is based on doggy science. (Happer, Moon and many others. Anyone at the BBC ever looked at the data? Texans are finding out about reliance on windfarms. The problem is the woke media refuses to investigate.(worried about their advertising revenue)
    Hopefully the worm will turn if we keep up the pressure

  4. It doesn't add up... permalink
    June 23, 2021 6:00 pm

    I note too the claim that “companies are now virtually falling over themselves to pay the government for the right to access over the sea bed.” What he means is access to the subsidy racket.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      June 24, 2021 9:11 am

      And what that tells you is they are either subsidy farming or gouging customers.

      The idea lots of companies would be competing to pay for the opportunity to make only a minimum return is utterly stupid.

  5. Gamecock permalink
    June 23, 2021 6:22 pm

    ‘Virtually’ is doing a lot of work there.

  6. June 23, 2021 7:11 pm

    The BBC, Again (again).

  7. Harry Passfield permalink
    June 23, 2021 8:30 pm

    There are fibs, lies, Harabins, McGraths and now, Rowlatts.
    The BBC must offer courses in how to be economical with the truth.

  8. Joe Public permalink
    June 23, 2021 9:01 pm

    Did you notice his claim that offshore wind will power every home in Britain by the end of the decade?

    Here’s how our current 12.9GW has performed during the past 30 days:

    • Sobaken permalink
      June 24, 2021 2:58 pm

      Does anyone know, is it possible to get half-hourly data for offshore wind generation somewhere? Elexon has historic datasets for each year, but it’s total power from wind (onshore + offshore). It would be interesting to make a comparison, to see whether offshore wind is any more reliable than onshore.

  9. June 23, 2021 9:03 pm

    Even if the story is true, so what? A tiny windy part of the world can get most of its electricity from wind power, so what. The tiny state of Tasmania can get most of its electricity from hydro, so what?

    None of these things matter unless they apply to most of the world, which they don’t.

    • Joe Public permalink
      June 23, 2021 9:53 pm

      “The tiny state of Tasmania can get most of its electricity from hydro, so what?”

      “The 2016 Tasmanian energy crisis was an ongoing energy storage situation in the state of Tasmania, Australia in 2016. Two years of high volumes of energy exported to Victoria via the Basslink HVDC cable, followed by low rainfall, and a fault which rendered the cable inoperable, resulted in record low storage levels in Tasmania’s hydro-electric system. ….

      Basslink was intended to both provide energy security, in case of drought…”

      • Graeme No.3 permalink
        June 23, 2021 10:14 pm

        Joe Public:
        The problem was that the price of electricity shot up in mainland Australia (quite coincidentally with the introduction of lots of wind turbines) and exporting electricity from Tasmania when the wind wasn’t blowing was very profitable, and importing cheaply when the wind did blow kept Tasmania running. But maximising the profit led to the levels in the hydro dams to fall to low levels. In theory they should have used imported power for pumped storage but that would have cut their profits. They were only saved by restarting a gas fired plant (saved in the nick of time from demolishment).
        And the Hydro Commission was wholly government owned.

  10. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 23, 2021 10:25 pm

    In the video everything you can see is made with the energy from or with fossil fuels, and the big ships and helicopter and all that steel,plastic etc. is only being used because they want to build something that will supposedly replace a small amount of fossil fuel……

    If this isn’t insane I don’t know what is.

  11. Mack permalink
    June 23, 2021 10:39 pm

    No subsidies and preferential routes to market would mean no industrial sized wind parks nor solar farms. Requiring wind and solar generators to compensate the grid for failure to provide dispatchable name plate capacity as and when required would mean no wind wind parks nor solar farms. Simple economics. Even the Sage of Omaha, Warren Buffet, was quick to realise years ago that renewables only made business sense to investors because of the state sponsored subsidies that could be trousered by supporting their construction not because they were actually profitable in their own right. Perhaps we should have a whip round and get Mr Rowlatt an abacus for Christmas?

    • StephenP permalink
      June 24, 2021 8:24 am

      The manager of a biogas plant near us admitted that it was only viable because of the subsidy paid.
      The money to build it came from people prepared to invest in a safe, subsidised project, not the farmer on whose land was built.
      A considerable proportion of the raw material input is maize grown locally which involves the use of a considerable amount of fossil fuel in growing, harvesting and transporting the maize to the plant.
      In one case in another biogas plant the maize was hauled 22 miles from field to the biogas plant.
      When we have to rely on electricity powered tractors I could forsee that it would be a closed circuit system that only just powers itself.

      • Joe Public permalink
        June 24, 2021 11:25 am

        The real biogas irony is that it’s 30% – 45% CO2, and has very low volumetric calorific value.

        Consequently, in order for it to meet National Grid’s Gas Quality Standards for injection into the national gas grid it has to have propane LPG added.


  12. June 23, 2021 11:17 pm

    Saw in on BBC local news at 6:40pm Hull
    screamed at “subsidy free” line

  13. cookers52 permalink
    June 24, 2021 5:37 am

    I have no idea why the BBC are so committed to the climate chaos campaign.
    Our elected representatives have voted through a net zero policy, because that is what they think the people voted for.
    Did we vote for that? This is the real problem and no political party is saying the policy is wrong.

    In the midst of a pandemic it all seems a bit pointless, right now my focus is on trying to understand Government policy as regards vaccine effectiveness, because reality seems to suggest that what we have been given isn’t going to work to well, but Government policy is based on the opposite.

  14. StephenP permalink
    June 24, 2021 8:08 am

    The phrase ” Saudi Arabia of Wind ” makes me laugh as it is such a ridiculous metaphor.
    The current supply of wing generated electricity is 1.43 GW and has been for over 24 hours.
    If a petrol station was as unreliable in its supply it would soon go out of business, or else have to introduce a system of rationing. ( is this a glimpse of the future for electricity? )
    The only wind powered generation contracts to supply should be on the basis of a reliable quantity of electricity. If the wind doesn’t blow the the wind farm should have to obtain an alternative source of supply AND keep the price at the contract level. No payment if forced to shut down if it is too windy.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      June 24, 2021 9:13 am

      And Saudi is a huge exporter. The basic facts seems to escape these people.

  15. Ian Wilson permalink
    June 24, 2021 8:35 am

    Farming Today is another programme in which hardly a day passes without reference to ‘the climate crisis’, always definite article. Yesterday I was amused to hear a beekeeper complaining about the exceptionally cold spring (how did that pass the BBC censors?) followed by someone from the Woodland Trust banging on about ‘the climate crisis’. No-one spots the irony.
    Today we had Baroness Brown from the dreaded CCC talking about restoring peatland and planting trees – needless to say no mention from her about the way her beloved wind farms wreck peatland or the 13.9 million trees in Scotland alone felled to make way for wind farms.

  16. Phoenix44 permalink
    June 24, 2021 9:17 am

    A guaranteed price isn’t a subsidy, it’s a mechanism to bypass having g to pay subsidies by shifting them from general taxation to consumers.

    If the BBC think stopping paying subsidies of say £1 billion but making us all pay £1 billion extra in higher prices is a step forward, they are more stupid than I thought.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      June 24, 2021 9:55 am

      Technical distinction, but most people would call it a subsidy.

      Especially considering all the things that greens count as fossil fuel subsidy.

      It’s like activist cyclists screaming there’s no such thing as ‘road tax’, when obviously there is, but it’s just named differently to be thrown into the general tax pot.

  17. Harry Passfield permalink
    June 24, 2021 9:29 am

    As we’re commenting on the nonsense spouted by the likes of Rowlatt, I can’t help but include a gem I heard in a radio advert the other day. It’s the stupid one for smart meters pitched by some fool pretending to be Einstein. The voice-over says: ‘If everyone in the UK installed a smart meter it would help reduce CO2’.
    I feel another tilt at the ASA coming on.

    • Ian Wilson permalink
      June 24, 2021 10:44 am

      I wish you well in complaining to ASA – I did so over the preposterous claim that a smart meter saves a polar bear. Many months later they rejected the complaint, though they did say there had been a number of other complaints about the matter.

  18. MrGrimNasty permalink
    June 24, 2021 10:00 am

    Ah, I see why the BBC was holding out on the recent US heat, the forecast was for something supposedly on a completely unprecedented historic scale. They didn’t want to over egg it before the main event.

    • Jack Broughton permalink
      June 24, 2021 8:58 pm

      I bet that the BBC don’t mention that California is threatened by lack of dispatchable power and “requesting” users to increase A/C settings and avoid using other appliances. We are well on the way to this madness too!

  19. Nick permalink
    June 24, 2021 10:54 am

    “Another complaint will be winging its way to the BBC!”
    The forlorn hope. God save us

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