Brits Waking Up to the Insane Cost of its Wind Power Disaster
Green targets ‘cost £214 a year’: Report says rush for renewable energy has been ‘most expensive policy disaster in modern British history’
18 March 2015
- Shifting to wind and solar power has increased costs to consumers
- Ditching green energy targets would save households £214 a year
- Report into renewable energy carried out by The Centre for Policy Studies
- Found the rush to go green has been the ‘most expensive policy disaster’
- Say no British Government has carried out analysis of costs vs benefits
- Annual cost of renewable target is said to be a staggering £9 billion
Ditching green energy targets would save every household in Britain around £214 a year, a report reveals today.
The Centre for Policy Studies paper concludes that the rush for renewable energy has been the ‘most expensive policy disaster in modern British history’.
Shifting to wind and solar power have hugely increased costs to consumers, while creating an energy supply that is ‘intermittent’.
As a result, huge additional investment has been required in backup capacity to cover for when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.
And billions more have been spent to connect remote wind farms to the national grid.
Author Rupert Darwall concludes that, astonishingly, no British government has conducted a rigorous analysis of the costs and benefits of the renewables target which was first negotiated by Tony Blair at the European Council in 2007.
The Government is committed to providing 15 per cent of its energy from renewable power by 2020.
Mr Darwall, the author of The Age of Global Warming, concludes that the annual costs of the renewables target is a staggering £9billion.
Switching back to a free market in power would save households around £214 a year, assuming that gas replaces renewables, he says.
The report says: ‘Energy policy represents the biggest expansion of state power since the nationalisations of the 1940s and 1950s. It is on course to be the most expensive domestic policy disaster in modern British history.
‘By committing the nation to high, cost, unreliable renewable energy, its consequences will be felt for decades.’
‘In addition to their higher plant-level costs, renewables require massive amounts of extra generating capacity to provide cover for intermittent generation when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine.’
The report concludes that the costs of ‘intermittent renewables’ have been ‘massively understated’.
As a result, ‘massively subsidiesed wind and solar capacity floods the market with near random amounts of zero marginal cost electricity.’
‘To keep the lights on, everything ends up requiring subsidies, turning what was once a profitable sector into the energy equivalent of the Common Agricultural Policy.’
The cost of the national grid has nearly trebled as a result of connecting to remote wind farms, he says. More solar and wind means Britain is having to more than double its overall capacity, because additional sources are needed when wind isn’t working.
Without renewable energy, the UK would need 22GW of new capacity to replace old coal and nuclear stations, but as a result of renewable energy, an additional 50GW is required, the report says.
Abandoning renewables and going back to a market system would save around £6billion a year, or around £214 for every household, he says.
But Professor Catherine Mitchell, Professor of Energy Policy at the University of Exeter said the report ‘downplays climate change as a problem’.
She said: ‘What is needed is an electricity market that is constructed to best integrate renewable energy and energy efficiency for the benefit of customers, the environment and security.’
Last month, Energy Secretary Ed Davey announced £4billion in new energy deals for wind and solar schemes. It means a guarantee for some 27 new renewable energy projects that they can sell their power at a fixed price until 2040. The subsidised schemes include 15 onshore wind farms, five solar arrays, two offshore wind programmes and five waste conversion plants.
It will be paid for by householders through their electricity bills with a subsidy added to the basic cost of electricity.
A spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said: ‘We are dealing with a legacy of underinvestment to safeguard people’s electricity supplies now and in the years ahead.
‘The Government’s Electricity Market Reforms are designed to attract up to £100 billion of capital investment that we will need in the sector over the next decade. By creating the world’s first low carbon electricity market, we are going green at the lowest cost, and attracting tens of billions of pounds of infrastructure investment, creating huge numbers of green jobs.’
Rupert Darwall’s brilliant, but sobering, analysis is covered in full here: