Boris Goes Bonkers: UK Set to Squander A Further £50,000,000,000 On Failed Wind Power Experiment
If insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, then Boris Johnson is clearly barking mad. The UK PM’s latest cunning plan is to squander a further £50,000,000,000 on government guaranteed fixed price contracts – paying way above market rates – subsidies and taxpayer support for chaotically intermittent wind power.
The ludicrous largess is being pitched on the same delusional basis as before: the promise of tens of thousands of groovy ‘green’ jobs (of the kind that never materialise and disappear in an instant, when they do); and power so cheap that they’ll pay you to take it (obviously, only when the wind’s blowing, of course).
Here’s a trifecta of tales from an increasingly beleaguered Britain.
£50billion on wind farms? You might as well spend it on unicorn tears, PM
7 Oct 2020
Apparently BoJo has got his mojo back. Quick, someone take it off him before he does any more harm.
I think I preferred him when his mojo was lost down the back of the sofa — and he looked knackered and woebegone.
But all that has suddenly changed. Speaking to the virtual Conservative Party conference, the Prime Minister was, for once, full of that old bluster and self-confidence, as he announced his new energy plan for the UK.
The answer to our electricity needs? Off-shore wind farms. Loads of them. Everywhere up and down our coast. He would make Britain the “Saudi Arabia of green energy”, he told a bemused public.
This from a man who once said wind turbines couldn’t blow the skin off a rice pudding.
He was pretty much right then. I wonder what changed his mind?
It’s another flip-flop on policy, this time nothing to do with Covid.
Last year the talk was all about nuclear power.
That was a genuinely exciting plan to reduce our carbon emissions through stable, almost renewable energy.
It would have worked, even if nuclear power stations do cost a few quid to build.
But now it’s those bloody turbines. You may remember David Cameron had one on the side of his house in Notting Hill when he was Prime Minister.
That was five years ago. It’s probably generated enough energy to boil a cup of tea by now.
Wind turbines are for virtue-signalling politicians.
They’re not the real answer to our energy problems.
The PM’s new energy plan is windfarms and it’s another flip-flop on policy
Even if they do scar the landscape from Northumberland to Cornwall and have a seriously bad effect on local wildlife.
The real problem, though, is that they won’t do what Boris expects them to do. It won’t work. Don’t take my word for it.
Here’s what the environmental campaigner Zion Lights had to say (yes, I know, it’s British law that all environmental campaigners must have weird names — like Pixie Hempmuncher or Peregrine Hummus).
She says: “Even if we cranked up wind-power provision to the level the Prime Minister proposes (40 gigawatts), this amount would power only about half the homes in Britain — or seven per cent of the total national energy demand.
ON THE HOOF
“And that is only when the turbines are turning — a key point.”
No kidding, Zion.
One of the problems with wind is that it doesn’t always blow — and batteries to store the electricity generated are nowhere near advanced enough to overcome this little difficulty.
Wind turbines, especially off-shore turbines, are also expensive to build, expensive to maintain, polluting to construct and they need replacing very often indeed.
So we will be investing a massive amount of money — some experts reckon more than £50billion — in an energy source that will satisfy less than ten per cent of our need.
Frankly, you might as well spend £50billion harvesting unicorn tears. They would be about as much use.
It’s yet another policy reversal — and one that yet again seems to have been made on an impulse, on the hoof.
Nuclear power — by far and away the safest means of generating electricity and one of the cleanest — is the way forward.
As that campaigner Zion Lights admitted.
Come on, Boris, think again. Or come election time, the voters may take your mojo and shove it somewhere the wind occasionally blows but the sun don’t shine.
£5bn cost of the wind turbine fiasco: Botched eco scheme will push up household bills for 20 years after blundering officials set high subsidy rate
13 October 2020
The actual cost of a farcical green energy scheme exposed by the Mail could be a staggering £5billion, an official report reveals today.
The botched initiative was paying wind turbine owners seven times the value of the electricity they generate.
Now a watchdog says the eye-watering cost to UK households is even worse than thought.
In the week that Boris Johnson, in his speech to the Tory conference, trumpeted wind power as the future for the nation’s energy generation, the Mail’s investigation found that it was effectively a licence to print money.
The scheme was set up to encourage homeowners to install a small turbine to supply their needs and feed into the electricity grid.
But blundering officials set the subsidy rate so high it guarantees owners bonanza pots of cash for 20 years – all paid for by ‘green levies’ on household and business utility bills.
The bumper subsidy – one wind turbine reaps £375,000 a year yet only produces electricity worth £51,000 – is only available in Northern Ireland.
Yet it is paid by consumers across the UK. The cost over 20 years was calculated at potentially £1.4billion, but today the Auditor General of Northern Ireland – the province’s financial watchdog – estimated the total bill for the province’s renewable energy schemes at £5billion.
And Kieran Donnelly said 75 per cent of this cost is likely to be paid by electricity consumers in England, Wales and Scotland.
The £5billion figure covers other green projects, but 85 per cent of Ulster’s renewable energy comes from onshore wind.
The figure also covers the full lifetime of the schemes, from 2005 to 2037. Setting such a high subsidy rate in 2009 triggered a gold rush among investors including pension funds to own turbines in Northern Ireland.
In a damning report, Mr Donnelly said: ‘Some investors may be achieving a higher financial return than was required to encourage adoption of the various supported technologies.’
Incompetent officials tried to axe the scheme in 2016 but it limped on until last year, and another 300 lucrative wind turbines were installed before the deadline. All are guaranteed to be paid enormous pots of cash for 20 years.
He called for a review to be carried out by First Minister Arlene Foster’s Northern Ireland government.
But Mrs Foster, leader of the DUP, faces questions over the scheme because she was energy minister when it was set up.
She also presided over a similar controversial green scheme, dubbed ‘Cash-for-Ash’, in which families were paid more for burning ‘renewable’ fuel than the cost of the fuel – leading to a £500million bill for taxpayers.
Mrs Foster has ignored questions from the Mail over the affair.
Last night campaigners from the group West Tyrone Against Wind Turbines called for a public inquiry and MPs at Westminster also pledged to investigate the latest scandal.
Conservative MP Robert Goodwill, who sits on the Northern Ireland affairs committee, said: ‘Whilst it can be justified to give generous subsidies to allow a new technology to develop, this is now a mature technology and it is impossible to justify this level of subsidy.’
The Northern Ireland government – which set the high rate – did not respond to requests for comment.
Boris’s wind power pledge won’t be cheap
6 October 2020
Boris Johnson likes a big announcement. Back in his days as London mayor, he told us he was going to build a new airport on an island in the Thames estuary and a tree-lined ‘garden bridge’ further upstream. Although not as hare-brained as his more recent plan to build a bridge to Ireland, neither of these schemes ever came to anything.
Much of the government’s announcement today of a major green spending spree gives the impression of having been conjured up with the same lack of any serious intent, ‘smart cities’ being an obvious example. However, some of it looks positively alarming.
Take home insulation, for example. It sounds so simple and so easy, but as study after study has shown, the cost of retrofitting the existing housing stock is wildly expensive – the cost would run to trillions – and it might even be cheaper to knock down the whole of the UK’s housing stock and start again.
Hydrogen is frequently touted as the answer to all our problems, but this is mostly a case of pulling the wool over the eyes of the unwary. Hydrogen is a way of moving energy about; it is not a source of energy itself. In other words, to make the stuff, you need a real source of energy, which currently means natural gas. But if you are going to burn gas to make hydrogen, you are going to get carbon dioxide given off in vast quantities, and so you need operational carbon capture equipment.
Unfortunately, carbon capture and storage has only ever worked for coal-fired power stations, and even then it’s still commercially unviable. Getting the technology to work on plant burning natural gas remains a pipe-dream.
But, say the renewables enthusiasts, we can also make hydrogen through electrolysis of water, with all the electricity coming from our rapidly growing fleet of offshore windfarms. There are two problems with this idea. Firstly, converting electricity to hydrogen and back to electricity is grossly inefficient, and so even with rather cheap power inputs, you still will not get cheap electricity out at the end of the process.
But secondly (and disturbingly), we now know for certain that the UK’s offshore wind fleet is not going to deliver cheap power any time soon. Two separate reviews of the accounts of the UK offshore wind fleet have shown that costs have been rising for the last ten years and that there is no sign of any reduction. And while renewables enthusiasts say that’s all going to change in the next few years, as the latest generation of windfarms come on stream, this has now been show unequivocally to be wrong.
There are two main strands of evidence. Firstly, when windfarm developers have put together a consortium of banks to fund the project, they announce how much they are going to borrow. This figure gives us a lower bound on the capital cost – the typical offshore windfarm overspends by around 17 per cent. Reviewing these so-called ‘financial close’ figures indicates that windfarms coming on stream in the next few years are just as expensive as those built in the last five.
But what about the possibility that they will not spend all of their loans? This idea is killed off by the other strand of evidence: the financial accounts of those next-generation windfarms, currently under construction off the east coast. These contain no indication of any change in the costs.
In other words, we are going to take very expensive electricity from offshore windfarms, use it to make hydrogen, which we will burn to make electricity again. With such a plan in place, it is hard to imagine just how expensive electricity is going to become in future. Prices have doubled since the Renewables Obligation came into force back in 2002, and this was undoubtedly a significant factor in the loss of much of our manufacturing base. A further drive for wind turbines, which produce power at two to three times the cost of a gas turbine, would drive costs up hard. Add in the cost of dealing with their intermittent supply of power and we could easily see prices more than double again.
The implications for businesses and households in the UK are horrifying. Who would want to live in a country that was set on such a destructive path? Who would want to invest in it? And when the Prime Minister claims that he’s going to create 60,000 jobs with his green spending spree, you have to wonder how many will jobs he will destroy along the way. We can only hope and pray that he is playing to the crowd again.