Offshore Wind “Virtually Subsidy Free”- Justin Rowlatt

Offshore Wind “Virtually Subsidy Free”- Justin Rowlatt

JUNE 23, 2021tags: BBCwind power

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!

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