Our “Bonnie” Friends in Scotland, Have Scrapped Wind Subsidies! Congratulations in Order!~

Subsidies Scrapped: Scots Rejoice at Wind Industry’s Demise – Time for a Wee Highland Fling

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The Scots are a tenacious bunch; and their history is a pungent mix of romance and tragedy.

Legendary characters like William Wallace – who – single-handed – raised a fearsome Highland revolt – muscled up against the English invaders, time and time again.

Wallace, with Andrew Moray gave a well-trained and drilled English army a drubbing at the Battle of Stirling Bridge in September 1297. However, Wallace, by then Guardian of Scotland, suffered an ignominious defeat in July 1298 at the Battle of Falkirk. Disunity was Wallace’s undoing: his Norman cavalry did a bunk as the battle began; the hero escaping by the skin of his teeth. Seven years later, and the Scots’ great defender was in English chains awaiting a fate worse than simple death.

With Wallace’s mortal remains carved up and spread across the English Realm, Robert de Bruce took up the mantle – giving his internal and external enemies hell, all over the Highlands, from Buchan to Galloway. De Bruce, like Wallace before him, was often a victim of internal intrigues and diabolical disunity. Quarrels with his archrival, John Comyn and his backers, and a defeat at the hands of the English, saw de Bruce relinquish his title as Guardian, flee to the Hebrides and later Ireland.

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Reacting to more betrayal by his brethren led to the murder of Comyn by de Bruce, who, having regrouped, went on to hammer Edward II in the battle for Stirling Castle, in June 1314. At the Battle of Bannockburn, de Bruce pulled off the defeat of an English army led by Edward – a force that heavily outnumbered his own: some 7,000 Scots (with a mere 500 mounted) faced 17,000 English troops: 2,000 heavy cavalry and 15,000 infantryman, bristling with longbows.

Victory for de Bruce at Bannockburn became his, and Scottish, legend.

For Scotland, the next four centuries brought a cycle of victories and defeats, as English monarchs variously sought to beguile or crush the Scots at their whim. The last romantic hoorah echoed at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, where Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Jacobite rebellion was ground into the heather and peat, near Inverness.

Through their history, in battle, the Scots were usually outnumbered, but rarely outwitted. However, the tragedy and the romance of that history was always tinged with double-dealing and betrayal. Wind the clock forward, and the same elements came to bear in the battle to keep the Highlands free of bat-chomping, bird slicing, blade-chucking, pyrotechnic,sonic-torture devices.

Sometime back, we likened the efforts to carpet the Highlands in tens of thousands of giant fans with the first waves of the Croft Clearances:

Giant Fans: the new Scottish “Croft Clearers”

Now, thanks to the Tories thumping election win, those North of the Border have won the prospect of respite.

David Cameron – a Scot in name and ancestry – has made it very clear that his government has no intention of advancing a single penny in subsidies to wind power outfits from here on:

Brits’ Wind Power Nightmare to End Soon: Tories Set to Take the Axe to Subsidies

The question is, how Cameron’s election manifesto will play out for Highlanders? Here’s The Telegraph heralding an age of deliverance, if not outright victory.

Rural Scotland’s delight at wind farm subsidy axe
The Telegraph
Simon Johnson
18 Jun 2015

Rural communities have reacted with relief and delight after David Cameron called time on the SNP’s wind farm march across Scotland’s countryside.

Anti-turbine campaigners praised the UK Government’s decision to exclude new onshore wind farms from claiming a key subsidy from April next year, 12 months earlier than expected.

They said the move, which is expected to stop the construction of many developments not yet given planning permission, was a welcome respite for communities “besieged by subsidy chasers” taking advantage of the SNP’s “open door” policy.

But they said it was to the “eternal shame” of the Scottish Government that it was only the Conservatives who had heeded the concerns of rural Scots, with one prominent campaigner stating: “Thank God for Westminster.”

SNP ministers were furious with the decision, even claiming they may challenge it in the courts, with Nicola Sturgeon describing it as “wrong-headed”, “perverse” and “downright outrageous”.

In a letter to Mr Cameron, she warned the wind farm companies may sue the taxpayer for compensation for planned schemes “rendered useless by this decision.” The industry claimed the move would cost consumers up to £3 billion.

However, the John Muir Trust, the eminent environmental protection group, said it was the “right time” to work out an energy mix that is affordable “without damaging our wild and natural landscapes.”

The funding for the subsidy comes from the Renewable Obligation (RO), which is funded by levies added to household bills. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said there will be grace period for projects already with planning permission.

Although energy policy is reserved to Westminster, the SNP government in Edinburgh has used its control over the planning system in Scotland to encourage the construction of thousands of turbines across the countryside.

Alex Salmond, the former First Minister, set a target of generating the equivalent of all Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020, with the vast majority coming from onshore wind.

Amid growing opposition from local communities, Scotland’s most senior planning officials even warned that the countryside risked becoming a “wind farm landscape”.

But the Scottish Government told council planners they had set aside too little land for wind farms and Scotland now hosts more than half the UK’s onshore turbines.

Scotland Against Spin, a national alliance of groups and individuals which campaigns against turbines being built in unsuitable locations, said it was “delighted” the Tories had honoured an election manifesto promise to “end the ludicrously generous subsidies for onshore wind farms.”

Graham Lang, the group’s chairman, said: “Speculative developers from across the world have flocked to Scotland because of the SNP’s open door policy to the wind industry. Scottish communities besieged by subsidy-chasers can at last look forward to some respite.

“Yet to its eternal shame the Scottish Government has ignored the clamour for reform from its own people. There is a terrible irony that the Conservatives at Westminster, not the nationalists at Holyrood, have finally stood up to the wind speculators and put the interests of communities and consumers first.”

Lyndsey Ward said she hoped the decision would stop the construction of 25 turbines near her home just outside of Beauly, in the Scottish Highlands.

She said she was “fairly disgusted” with the Scottish Government as Fergus Ewing, the SNP Energy Minister, had “parroted wind industry propaganda”. She added: “They should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Thank God for Westminster.”

Campaigners against a plan to erect 18 410ft-tall turbines in rural Angus, above the Blackwater Reservoir, also welcomed the announcement.

Sue Smith, a spokesman for the Friends of Backwater and Glenisla Against Turbines group, whose husband Maj Gen Martin Smith is Commandant General of the Royal Marines, said: “The removal of obscene levels of financial gain which these subsidies offer should discourage land owners and turbine developers from exploiting irresistible opportunities to make a fast buck, at the expense of local communities and their environments.”

She also praised the UK Government plans to give communities the final say on large wind farm developments south of the Border and attacked the SNP for failing to introduce this in Scotland.

But, speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Ms Sturgeon said the decision was “utterly wrong-headed” and her government would “do everything in our power” to get it changed.

Mr Ewing said repeated the wind farm companies’ claims the move could cost consumers £3 billion, adding: “We have warned the UK Government that the decision, which appears irrational, may well be the subject of a judicial review.”

But Murdo Fraser, Scottish Tory energy spokesman, said: “This is a Conservative Government standing up for communities that the central belt SNP couldn’t care less about.”

He added: “The latest figures show that, with all the wind projects already constructed, those under construction or given consent, we have already met the SNPs 100 per cent target for renewable electricity.”

A DECC spokesman said: “If we’d allowed the RO to stay open longer, we could have ended up with more projects than we can afford – which would have led to either higher bills, or other renewable technologies losing out on support.”
The Telegraph

As with our in-a-nutshell overview of Scottish history above, it will be internal forces, disunity and betrayal that stand as the only obstacle to outright victory for the Scots.

Claims by wind power outfits about suing the government, in order to ensure their ability to obtain massive subsidies until kingdom come, involve little more than the petulant rattling of Claymores.

Hopeful developers are not in any contractual relationship with the government; and have little more than an expectation that government (read taxpayer and power consumer, in their guise as voters) largesse is endless and immutable. Unfortunately for wind power outfits, mere “expectations” based on policy “promises” don’t provide the soundest basis to sue for “damages”.

And Nicola Sturgeon’s huffing and puffing is little more than, well, hot air.

STT’s Highland operatives have previously pointed out that there is absolutely no market for any more intermittent and unreliable wind power in Scotland: that ‘market’ is saturated.

The only hope for Sturgeon and her wind industry backers is to send Scottish sparks south of the Border – in huge volumes – whenever the wind is blowing. However, through quirks of history – some of which we’ve touched on – that’s an area still controlled by David Cameron.

Given Cameron’s resolve, and Sturgeon’s policy and legislative impotence, STT suggests that it would be far from premature for Highlanders to don their kilts and celebrate their victory with a wee Highland fling.

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Scotlands Conservative Politicians, Step Up To The Plate, & Stop Wind Subsidies!

Rural Scotland’s delight at wind farm subsidy axe

Campaigners say the SNP should be ashamed that only a Tory Government listened to their warnings about the impact of turbines on Scotland’s countryside.

Whitelee Windfarm on the outskirts of Glasgow

Whitelee Windfarm on the outskirts of Glasgow Photo: PA

Rural communities have reacted with relief and delight after David Cameron called time on the SNP’s wind farm march across Scotland’s countryside.

Anti-turbine campaigners praised the UK Government’s decision to exclude new onshore wind farms from claiming a key subsidy from April next year, 12 months earlier than expected.

They said the move, which is expected to stop the construction of many developments not yet given planning permission, was a welcome respite for communities “besieged by subsidy chasers” taking advantage of the SNP’s “open door” policy.

But they said it was to the “eternal shame” of the Scottish Government that it was only the Conservatives who had heeded the concerns of rural Scots, with one prominent campaigner stating: “Thank God for Westminster.”

SNP ministers were furious with the decision, even claiming they may challenge it in the courts, with Nicola Sturgeon describing it as “wrong-headed”, “perverse” and “downright outrageous”.

In a letter to Mr Cameron, she warned the wind farm companies may sue the taxpayer for compensation for planned schemes “rendered useless by this decision.” The industry claimed the move would cost consumers up to £3 billion.

However, the John Muir Trust, the eminent environmental protection group, said it was the “right time” to work out an energy mix that is affordable “without damaging our wild and natural landscapes.”

The funding for the subsidy comes from the Renewable Obligation (RO), which is funded by levies added to household bills. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said there will be grace period for projects already with planning permission.

Although energy policy is reserved to Westminster, the SNP government in Edinburgh has used its control over the planning system in Scotland to encourage the construction of thousands of turbines across the countryside.

Alex Salmond, the former First Minister, set a target of generating the equivalent of all Scotland’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020, with the vast majority coming from onshore wind.

Amid growing opposition from local communities, Scotland’s most senior planning officials even warned that the countryside risked becoming a “wind farm landscape”.

But the Scottish Government told council planners they had set aside too little land for wind farms and Scotland now hosts more than half the UK’s onshore turbines.

Nicola Sturgeon was outraged at the UK Government’s decision

Scotland Against Spin, a national alliance of groups and individuals which campaigns against turbines being built in unsuitable locations, said it was “delighted” the Tories had honoured an election manifesto promise to “end the ludicrously generous subsidies for onshore wind farms.”

Graham Lang, the group’s chairman, said: “ Speculative developers from across the world have flocked to Scotland because of the SNP’s open door policy to the wind industry. Scottish communities besieged by subsidy-chasers can at last look forward to some respite.

“Yet to its eternal shame the Scottish Government has ignored the clamour for reform from its own people. There is a terrible irony that the Conservatives at Westminster, not the nationalists at Holyrood, have finally stood up to the wind speculators and put the interests of communities and consumers first.”

Lyndsey Ward said she hoped the decision would stop the construction of 25 turbines near her home just outside of Beauly, in the Scottish Highlands.

She said she was “fairly disgusted” with the Scottish Government as Fergus Ewing, the SNP Energy Minister, had “parroted wind industry propaganda”. She added: “They should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. Thank God for Westminster.”

Campaigners against a plan to erect 18 410ft-tall turbines in rural Angus, above the Blackwater Reservoir, also welcomed the announcement.

Sue Smith, a spokesman for the Friends of Backwater and Glenisla Against Turbines group, whose husband Maj Gen Martin Smith is Commandant General of the Royal Marines, said: “The removal of obscene levels of financial gain which these subsidies offer should discourage land owners and turbine developers from exploiting irresistible opportunities to make a fast buck, at the expense of local communities and their environments.”

She also praised the UK Government plans to give communities the final say on large wind farm developments south of the Border and attacked the SNP for failing to introduce this in Scotland.

But, speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Ms Sturgeon said the decision was “utterly wrong-headed” and her government would “do everything in our power” to get it changed.

Mr Ewing said repeated the wind farm companies’ claims the move could cost consumers £3 billion, adding: “We have warned the UK Government that the decision, which appears irrational, may well be the subject of a judicial review.”

But Murdo Fraser, Scottish Tory energy spokesman, said: “This is a Conservative Government standing up for communities that the central belt SNP couldn’t care less about.”

He added: “The latest figures show that, with all the wind projects already constructed, those under construction or given consent, we have already met the SNPs 100 per cent target for renewable electricity.”

A DECC spokesman said: “If we’d allowed the RO to stay open longer, we could have ended up with more projects than we can afford – which would have led to either higher bills, or other renewable technologies losing out on support.”

The Windweasels Scream in Agony, When Subsidy Tap is Shut Off!!!

Doomed UK Wind Power Outfits Reduced to Idle Legal Threats

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The Guardian (both in its home territory, the UK and in its doppelganger Australian version) is the ecofacists’ megaphone – and is duly lapped up with relish by the intellectual pygmies of the hard-‘green’-left or – as James Delingpole aptly dubbed them; “greentards”.

Both here and in the UK, The Guardian has been the preferred platform for the wind industry, its parasites and paid spruikers to run an endless stream of drivel propounding the magical properties of giant fans – you know, the usual twaddle about wind power being a serious alternative to conventional generation – despite the fact it can only be delivered at crazy, random intervals (see our post here); powering millions of homes around the clock for “free” (see our posts here and here); never harming so much as a bird’s feather (see our post here); and providing such a soothing and peaceful environment for humans that they – like our feathered friends – can’t help but flock towards the nearest wind farm to set up homes and raise their families (see our posts here and here).

No, The Guardian will never be among those accused of helping to bring the great wind power fraud to its inevitable end.

In the UK, The Guardian was caught out pumping clearly misleading and deceptive advertising, for yet another wind power fraud, profiteer – Dale Vince and his wind power outfit, the lamely tagged, “Ecotricity” – dropping all pretence of objective journalism in its quest to profit from spruiking wind industry propaganda:

The Guardian Caught Out Pumping Dale Vince’s Bogus Wind Power Propaganda

Now, The Guardian has stepped in again, in an effort to forestall the inevitable demise of the wind industry, in the face of David Cameron’s clear-as-crystal election pledge to bring the great wind power fraud to and end (see our posts here and here).

UK renewable energy industry warns of legal action over subsidies
The Guardian
Adam Vaughan
2 June 2015

Closing scheme a year earlier than due would amount to ‘wilful destruction’ by the government, climate secretary told

The UK renewable energy industry has warned the government’s new climate secretary that she will face a legal challenge if she oversees the “wilful destruction” of the industry by retrospectively curtailing subsidies.

Later this week, the Department of Energy and Climate Change will announce that the existing subsidy scheme for onshore wind power will be closed a year earlier than it was due to, according to a source close to the process.

Such a move would be a major blow to the industry and go further than the Conservative party had pledged in its manifesto. It had said that it would “end any new public subsidy” in a bid to “halt the spread of onshore windfarms”.

But writing in the Guardian on Monday, a lawyer for the trade body RenewableUK called on Amber Rudd to reconsider – or face legal challenges.

“Minister, please talk to us before you act. We recognise the pressures on you. There are solutions which need not damage confidence in the UK or in your government as one for all of us and not just for a few dangerous, ill-informed and visibly rabid party members,” wrote Marcus Trinick QC, a barrister for law firm Partner Eversheds LLP.

“Please be aware of the dangers of [EU] state aid discrimination and look at what is happening in international energy arbitration across Europe. In such a position we could not afford not to fight, especially if action is taken to interfere retrospectively,” he added.

If the Renewable Obligation (RO) subsidy scheme closes in April 2016 rather than April 2017, as is now expected, onshore windfarms will have to bid for public subsidy under a new subsidy regime known as Contracts for Difference (CfD).

But it is not yet clear if they will even be eligible for the CfD scheme, and Bloomberg Energy Finance has estimated that if onshore wind was not eligible then less than half the capacity of projects in advanced stages of planning would get subsidies.

Maf Smith, deputy chief executive of RenewableUK, vowed to fight the move which he said would appear to contradict the Tory pledge that cuts would only be to new, not existing, subsidies.

“The industry will fight against any attempts to bring in drastic and unfair changes utilising the full range of options open, including legal means if appropriate,” he said.

Ian Marchant, chairman of Infinis Energy Plc and former chief executive of Big Six energy company SSE, warned that closing the subsidy scheme early for onshore wind would have wider ramifications: “If the RO is terminated early without reasonable grace periods in place, not a single energy or large scale infrastructure project in the UK will be safe going forward.”

Dr Rob Gross, an energy expert at Imperial College, said that it was not fair to suggest the RO was hugely over-rewarding onshore wind with too much public subsidy.

“I think this is mainly about the manifesto commitment and being seen to do something to curtail the development of onshore wind. It’s primarily a politically-motivated change,” he told the Guardian.

Rudd said in statement that: “We promised people clean, affordable and secure energy supplies and that’s what I’m going to deliver. We’ll focus support on renewables when they’re starting up – getting a good deal for billpayers is the top priority.” A Decc spokeswoman added: “It’s premature to talk about retrospective changes [to subsidy regimes].”

The government has already laid out the other part of its crackdown on onshore windfarms, using the Queen’s speech to announce that the energy bill will give local communities an effective veto over new ones. Onshore wind is considered by most authorities to be the cheapest form of renewable power in the UK.
The Guardian

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The one thing the wind industry will never be pinned for is “consistency”.

Where The Guardian – parroting on behalf of its benefactors – chirps about “wind power being the cheapest form of renewable power available in the UK”, there are plenty from the wind industry’s more deluded fringes that run the claim that wind power is (now) actually cheaper than coal-fired power – see this piece of twaddle from ruin-economy, for example.

Way back in 1984, Christopher Flavin, the President emeritus of the Worldwatch Institute, ran a pitch that in a few years’ time wind energy would not need to be subsidised.

Over 30 years later, and the wind industry the world over still keeps talking itself into circles: one minute it’s ready to take on conventional generators head-to-head; the next it’s wailing about the need to keep the subsidy gravy train running just that little bit longer. The guff from The Guardian entirely true to that insipid form.

In Australia, the wind industry spin-cycle is just the same.

Here, the wind industry, its parasites and spruikers – like The Climate Speculator’s, Tristan Edis (see our post here) – keep telling us, over and over again, how cheap wind power is by comparison with conventional power sources – a story pitched up in order to counter the recent challenge to the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target and its insane cost to power consumers.

The wind industry’s standard pitch is, however, found to be tinged with a teeny, weeny little internal inconsistency.

Having boasted about the wonders of their product – and its ability to “compete” with the big boys – in the very next breath, these subsidy leeches start wailing – like crazed little brats – at the prospect of there being so much as the slightest interference with a stream of subsidies, so massive that their scale makes Croesus look like a penny-pinching pauper.

Either wind power is economically viable, or it isn’t? If the former, then there’s no need for mandated subsidies and/or massive penalties, at all.

Call us a tad cynical, but STT thinks it all boils down to the quality of the “product” on offer. Break down the terms on which wind power is “supplied”, and the “deal” reduces to this:

  • we (“the wind power generator”) will supply and you (“the hopeful punter at the end of the line”) will take every single watt we produce, whenever that might be;
  • except that this will occur less than 30% of the time; and, no, we can’t tell you when that might be – although it will probably be in the middle of the night when you don’t need it;
  • around 70% of the time – when the wind stops blowing altogether – we won’t be supplying anything at all;
  • in which event, it’s a case of “tough luck” sucker, you’re on your own, but you can try your luck with dreaded coal or gas-fired generators, they’re burning mountains of coal and gas anyway to cover our little daily output “hiccups” – so they’ll probably help you keep your home and business running; and
  • the price for the pleasure of our chaotic, unpredictable power “supply” will be fixed for 25 years at 4 times the price charged by those “evil” fossil fuel generators.

It’s little wonder that – in the absence of fines and penalties that force retailers to sign up to take wind power (see our post here) and/or massive subsidies (see our post here) – no retailer would ever bother to purchase wind power on the standard “irresistible” terms above.

There is NO market for electricity that cannot be delivered on demand – wind power has NO commercial value for that very obvious reason. The “demand” that exists is nothing more than legislated policy artifice – in the absence of mandated fines, penalties and/or endless subsidies the wind industry would have never got going at all.

Any policy that is unsustainable will either fail under its own steam; or its creators will eventually be forced to scrap it. Endless streams of massive subsidies for a meaningless power source fits the “unsustainable” tag to a T.

The wind industry has been telling the world it’s almost ready to stand on its own two feet for over 30 years (see our post here). Now, in Britain, David Cameron, Amber Rudd & Co will give it the chance to do so. We wish it the best of luck.

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Windpushers in Panic Mode, as Subsidies are Being Slashed!

SNP will fight Tories over lifting wind farm subsidies, energy spokesman indicates

Fergus Ewing says scrapping subsidies would be ‘irrational’ in comments that could undermine Tory manifesto promise to ‘halt’ spread of onshore wind farms

The energy sector has launched the UK’s first wind turbine apprenticeship scheme. Photo: PA

Fergus Ewing MSP, who holds the brief in the Scottish Parliament, said removing such subsidies was “irrational” and could cost taxpayers up to £3 billion.

While subsidies remain a reserved matter with the UK Government, the SNP have demanded a veto over the policy in Scotland.

It emerged last week that UK ministers will consult with the Scottish Government over lifting the subsidy, raising the prospect of English consumers having to pay for new wind farms in Scotland.

The Conservatives pledged to “halt the spread of onshore wind farms” in their election manifesto, explaining they had failed to “win public support”.

However the majority of onshore wind farm projects awaiting planning permission – 1,642 out of 2,836 turbines – are in Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon has demanded a veto on David Cameron’s plans

Mr Ewing, Scottish Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism, indicated that the SNP would oppose the proposals in a new consultation which was launched at the Queen’s Speech last week.

He warned on BBC Radio Four’s Today programme that there was a “headlong rush by the UK government to make apparent policy statements regarding scrapping new subsidies for onshore wind without a proper engagement either with ourselves or with the industry”.

“It’s our view that it is irrational to reduce or even scrap on shore wind subsidies when in fact … onshore wind is clearly still the most cost-effective large-scale way of deploying renewable technology in the UK. Economically, therefore, why would you want to bring that to a premature halt?”

Quoting figures from Scottish Power, Mr Ewing added: “If you prematurely bring onshore wind to a halt you will end up costing UK consumers an extra £2-3bn and you will end up having to deploy more expensive technologies.”

He said bodies like Scottish Renewables and UK Energy had said privately they are “very, very concerned” about the plans and the warned the move could prove “costly, irrational, and even expose the taxpayer to the risk of judicial review”.

While Mr Ewing fell short of pledging the SNP will block the proposals outright, his comments will disappoint Conservative voters.

The Tory manifesto read: “Onshore wind farms often fail to win public support, however, and are unable by themselves to provide the firm capacity that a stable energy system requires. As a result, we will end any new public subsidy for them and change the law so that local people have the final say on wind farm applications.”

Shut Off the Subsidy Tap….and the Windweasels Scurry!

Brits’ Wind Power Nightmare to End Soon: Tories Set to Take the Axe to Subsidies

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Contrasting with the delusions that continue to grip Australian’s political betters in Canberra (see our post here), sensible governments are rapidly retreating from the brink of energy market madness.

The Americans are pulling the plug on Federal and State based subsidies for wind power outfits. Its ‘wind power’ states have cut their state based subsidies to wind power outfits (or are well on the path of doing so); and Republicans are out to prevent the extension of the Federal government’s PTC wind power subsidy:

Texans Move to Slam Wind Power Subsidies

2015: the Wind Industry’s ‘Annus Horribilis’; or Time to Sink the Boots In

US Republicans Line Up to Can Subsidies for Wind Power

And David Cameron’s Tories strode to power on the back of a manifesto pledge to slam the door on wind power outfits eager to carpet Britain in 10s of thousands of giant fans, in terms that couldn’t be clearer:

“I want to make it clear that if there is a Conservative Government in place we will remove all subsidy for on-shore wind and local people should have a greater say.  Frankly I think we have got enough on-shore wind and we have enough to be going on with, almost 10 per cent of our electricity needs, and I think we should give local people a say if they want to block these sorts of projects.  The only way to stop more on-shore wind is to vote Conservative there is no other party with this policy. We are saying very clearly we would remove the subsidy and give local people the power to say yes or no. This would end the growth of on-shore wind and if that’s what you care about you must vote Conservative.”

Now, Cameron’s Tories are sharpening their axes ready to bring the lunacy to an end even faster than Brits could have dreamed of, even a month ago.

Wind farm subsidies facing the axe
The Telegraph
Emily Godsen
31 May 2015

Generous taxpayer subsidies will be cut off earlier than expected, effectively preventing thousands of turbines from being built, under plans being considered by Amber Rudd, the energy secretary

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Subsidies that have fuelled the spread of onshore wind farms are to be dramatically curtailed, under Government plans to be unveiled within days.

The Telegraph has learnt that a generous subsidy scheme will be shut down earlier than expected, effectively preventing thousands of turbines from getting built, under plans being considered by Amber Rudd, the new energy secretary.

The proposals, which could be announced as soon as this week, will set out for the first time how the Conservatives will implement their manifesto pledge to end any new public subsidy for onshore wind farms – amid concerns that turbines are unpopular with local communities.

Under current policy, any big onshore wind turbines built before the end of March 2017 would automatically be able to qualify for generous payments through a scheme called the Renewables Obligation (RO), which is funded through green levies on consumer energy bills.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has now confirmed it plans to “reform” the RO scheme. It is understood to be looking at ending the free-for-all by shutting the scheme down early – effectively preventing thousands of turbines getting built. The action follows similar moves taken to curb subsidies for solar farms last year.

After the RO shuts, the only possible subsidies for wind farms will be through a new scheme that is less generous and also much more strictly rationed, with ministers deciding how many projects – if any – are awarded subsidy contracts, enabling them to block further onshore wind if desired.

As well as big wind farms, subsidies for small individual wind turbines such as those popular with farmers – funded through a separate scheme called the Feed in Tariff – are expected to be limited under the plans.

A spokesman for the DECC said: “We are driving forward plans to end new public subsidy for onshore wind farms.

“We will shortly be publishing our plans to reform the Renewables Obligation and Feed in Tariff scheme to implement this commitment. With the cost of supplying onshore wind falling, government subsidy is no longer appropriate.

“We have supported new technologies when they’ve been a good deal for the consumer – providing start-up funding and certainty about future payments to help them become competitive. However, those subsidies won’t continue when costs come down – that’s not value for money for billpayers in the long run.”

Ms Rudd said: “We promised people clean, affordable and secure energy supplies and that’s what I’m going to deliver. We’ll focus support on renewables when they’re starting up – getting a good deal for billpayers is the top priority.”

Government plans to tackle climate change and hit EU renewable energy targets envisage that between 11 and 13 gigawatts (GW) of onshore wind power is needed by 2020.

More than 9.5 GW of projects – about 5,500 turbines – have either already been built or are under construction in the UK. At least 5.2 GW more wind farms – almost 3,000 more turbines – have already been granted planning permission.

Even if not all of these are built there would still be enough to hit the top end of Government plans.

On top of that, there are close to 3,000 more big new turbines with a combined capacity of more than 7GW seeking planning permission.

The DECC spokesman said: “Looking at what has already had planning permission, there is enough onshore wind to contribute what’s needed to reach the ambition set out in the Coalition Government’s renewables roadmap that 30 per cent of our electricity should come from renewables by 2020.”

Many of the projects that already have planning permission would have been expecting to secure subsidies under the RO scheme and it is not clear whether they will still be able to if the scheme shuts early. Ministers may consider offering a ‘grace period’, enabling some of those that already have permission to still get built while blocking off subsidies for those that do not.

One of the biggest factors determining the impact of the proposed changes will be whether or not they apply in Scotland, where the majority of proposed turbines are due to be built.

The Government said last week that it would “consult with the devolved administrations on changes to subsidy regimes for onshore wind farms”.

Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP Scottish First Minister, wants more onshore wind farms and has already demanded a veto on the Tory plans – raising the prospect that subsidies could continue to be paid to new projects in Scotland.

However the Conservatives will be under pressure from their own backbenches to ensure the subsidies are scrapped across the UK.

The Government also announced in the Queen’s Speech last week that it would bring forward legislation to give local communities “the final say” by ensuring large wind farm projects are decided at local rather than national level.

Ms Rudd said: “We need to make decisions on energy more democratic and give our communities a direct say into new onshore wind farms where they live. In future, I want planning decisions on onshore wind farms to be made by local people – not by politicians in Westminster.”

However those in the green energy industry had been most concerned about the pledge to end subsidies, amid uncertainty over the detail of the plans.

Critics of the Conservative pledge, including Tim Yeo, the former Tory head of the energy committee, and Ed Davey, the former Lib Dem energy secretary, have argued that it will actually push up bills as ministers instead offer subsidies to more offshore wind farms that are even more expensive.
The Telegraph

What’s spelt out above is just the accelerated passage of the inevitable.

Britain’s insane wind power policy has been accompanied with all the usual stuff: an unstable grid, with increased risk of widespread blackouts; subsidy-soaked, institutional corruption; spiralling power costs;splattered birds and bats; and divided and angry rural communities.

In those circumstances, David Cameron had little choice but to promise to end the madness. By answering the brewing rage among rural constituents about the adverse impacts of thousands of giant fans on home, hearth and health, he headed off an attack from the UKIP – which had run a solid pro-community stance against the wind power fraud.

And, by decoupling from the Lib-Dem’s deluded love of giant fans (an outfit peopled with wind industry shills like Ed Davey), Cameron dragged in votes from those hundreds of thousands of households and businesses being belted by escalating power bills (see our post here).

And the Conservatives have also seized on a report into the health complaints of those subjected to incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound; promising to add adverse health effects as a basis to refuse planning approval, with local communities to have the final say, in any event (see this article from the Daily Mail).

Any policy that is unsustainable will either fail under its own steam; or its creators will eventually be forced to scrap it. Endless streams of massive subsidies for a meaningless power source fits the “unsustainable” tag to a T.

The wind industry has been telling the world it’s almost ready to stand on its own two feet for over 30 years (see our post here). Now, in Britain, David Cameron, Amber Rudd & Co will give it the chance to do so. We wish it the best of luck.

subsidies

Stop the Subsidies, and the Windweasels will Scurry Away!

Texans Move to Slam Wind Power Subsidies

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The great wind power fraud is in meltdown around the globe.

In the US, ‘wind power’ states have cut their state based subsidies to wind power outfits (or are well on the path of doing so); and Republicans are out to prevent the extension of the Federal government’s PTC wind power subsidy:

2015: the Wind Industry’s ‘Annus Horribilis’; or Time to Sink the Boots In

US Republicans Line Up to Can Subsidies for Wind Power

In Texas, the great wind power fraud launched off with a frenzy of construction, a decade ago. Thousands of giant fans were speared all over West Texas (mostly in the North).  However, with the demand for power centred to the South-East in Dallas and Houston, they spent nearly $7 billion on wind driven grid capacity expansion (see our post here).

But, as everywhere, the wind industry is long on its insatiable demand for an endless stream of massive subsidies, but short on delivery of anything more than empty promises. In Texas, that familiar tale brought the retort from its Comptroller, Susan Combs that it was time for wind power outfits to put up or shut up:

Texas Blames Wind Power Slump on (you guessed it) … the Wind

Now, the Lone Star State’s Legislators have cried “enough is enough”, with its Senate voting to scrap its State-based wind power subsidy, in a move that spells the beginning of the end for BIG WIND in Texas.

Texas Moves to Abolish Renewable Energy Mandates (but much damage has been done)
Master Resource
Josiah Neeley
29 April 2015

“With Texas wind power capacity at more than double the state’s RPS minimum, repeal is unlikely to do much to change the profile of renewable energy in Texas. But repeal is still important, because it sends a clear signal that markets, not politics, should decide what kinds of energy Texans use.”

Texas has always been big on energy. The state’s long history of oil and gas production is well known. And on the electric generation side, Texas ranks first in the nation for nuclear power and has the most installed wind capacity of any state.

While the willingness to develop our energy potential is unrivaled, the means has not always been the best. Like in other states, and the U.S. as a whole, Texas has periodically tried to prop up or hold back different forms of energy via special protections, subsidies, or mandates, rather than letting markets and the price system decide the best energy mix.

That’s why recent events at the state capitol are so interesting. Earlier this month, the Texas Senate voted to repeal the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, as well as some related subsidies to the wind industry. If passed by the House and signed into law, the move could signal a broader change in how lawmakers treat energy in the U.S.

How We Got Here

Texas first created its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) as a sweetener to the 1999 legislation introduction of electrical competition. The initial mandate required the state’s competitive electric providers to cumulatively install 2,000 MW of new renewable energy capacity by 2009. Individual companies were responsible for a portion of the total proportionate to their overall share of the competitive electrical market, and could meet their requirement either directly (by building the capacity themselves) or indirectly (by purchasing credits from other producers).

Once in place, the RPS mandate inevitably grew (what Milton Friedman calls the tyranny of the status quo). In 2005, the Texas legislature expanded the RPS to require 10,000 MW of installed capacity from renewables by 2025.

The legislature also acted to deal with a geographical inconvenience: Most of Texas’ wind capacity was in the sparsely populated west, while our electrical demand is centered in urban areas hundreds of miles to the east. In response, the legislature created the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ), to build a thousand miles of transmission line to link wind farms with urban demand (to solve the nowhere-to-somewhere problem).

These programs have been costly for Texas. Transmission lines under the CREZ program have cost nearly $7 billion, or $270 per Texan. The cost of transmission lines is socialized across all electrical consumers, and will start appearing on Texans’ utility bills in the near future. Costs of meeting the RPS have been lower, but still have been estimated at approximately$543 million since 2005. 

Blown Away

Yet upon close analysis, these programs appear to have achieved very little. Texas met the 10,000 MW target for installed renewable capacity in 2010, a full 15 years ahead of the deadline, suggesting that the RPS itself was not the major factor. And the CREZ lines are only now being completed.

If Texas’ RPS wasn’t responsible for the big increase in wind capacity, what was? Answer: federal subsidies.

The federal Production Tax Credit, which provided up to $22 per MWh for renewable energy generation, dwarfed any effect of Texas’ RPS. The PTC was so generous that wind generators would often bid electricity onto the grid at a negative price (i.e. they pay you to take it) just to be eligible for the subsidy.

Needless to say, this posed some serious challenges to the long-term reliability of the Texas electrical grid. It has also compromised the economics of conventional sources of power such as gas-fired power plants and even nuclear plants.

Texas’ RPS, more than realized, was an exercise in political symbolism. The costs were real, but the main benefit was that it allowed the state to take a share of credit for the expanding use of wind energy, as explained by Kenneth Anderson Jr. of the Texas Public Utility Commission in the appendix below.

A New Direction

The value of that symbolism appears to be changing. The federal government began phasing out the PTC at the end of 2013 and is currently looking at ways to reform the federal Renewable Fuel Standard.

And here in Texas, there is a growing sense that programs like the RPS and CREZ outlived their usefulness (if they were ever useful to begin with). Wind, in particular, has been the recipient of billions in subsidies over the course of several decades. If the technology can’t survive on its own by now, there’s no reason to think that a few more years of subsidies would change that.

Even if the CREZ program is repealed, Texans will still be paying the cost of these projects for years to come. With Texas wind at more than double the state’s RPS minimum, repeal is unlikely to do much to change the profile of renewable energy in Texas wither. But repeal is still important, because it sends a clear signal that markets, not politics, should decide what kinds of energy Texans use.

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Appendix: Texas Public Utility Commissioner Kenneth Anderson [1]

EnergyWire: After a [Texas] PUC report to lawmakers, bills have been moving forward on possibly scrapping a renewable energy standard and specifying commission oversight of certain direct-current (DC) ties to ERCOT. Some people are pretty upset, particularly on the renewable one (EnergyWire, April 14).

Anderson: I think their concerns are way overstated. … To be clear, we’re still counting renewable energy credits. We wanted to make sure that that continues to happen because it is the way that load-serving entities distinguish products. …

We just felt that there was no real reason to continue to have a mandatory purchase program because … we blew past our target years ago.

EnergyWire: A wind coalition has said the value of some credits could be affected.

Anderson: Will the price be affected slightly? It is possible, but I’m not sure why we should be continuing to have a mandatory program.

EnergyWire: Some environmental groups say Texas would be sending a bad message.

Anderson: How long do you have to subsidize something before it’s finally grown up? … We spent $7 billion to build out a transmission system that doesn’t cost them anything so that it would facilitate their interconnection to the grid. That is an ongoing and continuing, basically, social subsidy. …

Wind does not have to meet a schedule. They’re just a price-taker. ERCOT schedules the wind effectively first, you know, absent constraints on the system. … But, all things being equal, wind gets a free pass from the obligation to meet a schedule. So that in itself is a huge incentive.

[1] Source: Edward Klump, “From renewables to the grid, regulator seeks to keep Texas on its own path,” EnergyWire (E&E News), April 28, 2015 (subscription required).
Master Resource

The Texan’s retreat contrasts with the ridiculous push by Tony Abbott’s (conservative?) Coalition to carpet Australia’s countryside with 2,500 more giant fans. A “plan” which is backed by his $46 billion electricity tax on all Australian power consumers – a punitive and regressive tax, the entire proceeds of which is designed to be funneled off to outfits likenear-bankrupt Infigen as a whopping $3 billion a year subsidy that runs over the horizon, until 2031 (see our post here).

Note though, that Australia is in about the same position as Texas was in 2005, when it had no grid capacity to take power from its planned fan-expansion program. The missing grid had to built for no other purpose than taking wind power from North to South, as noted above. In:

2005 the Texas Legislature approved a major transmission project, the Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ), to carry mostly wind energy generated in West Texas and the Panhandle to high-demand cities. The project was forecast to cost less than $5 billion but ballooned to more than $6.9 billion to build nearly 3,600 miles of transmission lines and dozens of substations.

As pointed out in the piece above, in part, it’s that whopping cost that has legislators in Texas pulling the plug on subsidies for wind power, in an effort to protect power consumers from ballooning power bills.

In Australia, as we’ve pointed out a few times (see our posts here andhere), there simply is no (or insufficient) capacity to absorb the 17,000 GWh of intermittent wind power (needed each year to satisfy the latest 33,000 GWh LRET annual target) that can – like Texas – only be built in areas altogether remote from major population centres and markets.

Here, however, grid operators have absolutely no incentive to throw $billions at building transmission lines, substations etc running to the back-of-beyond, to take power delivered at crazy, random intervals which – apart from the REC Subsidy that comes with it – has no commercial value at all. The REC Subsidy goes to wind power outfits, not grid operators – and wind power outfits pay nothing to use the grid – that’s a cost that’s extracted by retailers from their dwindling pool of retail customers (see our posts here and here).

And, grid operators in Australia have just been prevented by the Australian Energy Regulator from recovering hundreds of $millions in network infrastructure costs – making the chances of them throwing any more at transmission lines slimmer than a German Supermodel. Why invest a penny, when a regulator is going to prevent you from getting anything like the whole return on that investment back?

Australia’s ‘lack’ of grid infrastructure is just another insurmountable obstacle for an industry in its death throes; and a guarantee that the LRET will go to penalty – with the inevitable imposition of the $65 per MWh shortfall charge.

That charge – which (carpeting the) Environment (in giant fans) Minister Greg Hunt refers to as his “massive $93 per tonne carbon tax” – will see all Australian power consumers end up paying more than $20 billion in fines; on top of the $25 billion that will go as subsidies (in the form of RECs) to wind power outfits.

In their constant need for massive subsidies – that’ll have to outlast religion in order for them to survive – the behaviour of wind power outfits the world over is just like Disney’s doyen of eternal youth – Peter Pan: the boy who could never grow up.

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Wind is Novelty Energy. Too much Pain, For Far Too Little Gain!

Brits Waking Up to the Insane Cost of its Wind Power Disaster

Nightmare (1962) Jerry wakes up

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Green targets ‘cost £214 a year’: Report says rush for renewable energy has been ‘most expensive policy disaster in modern British history’
Jack Doyle
Daily Mail
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.’
Daily Mail

Rupert Darwall’s brilliant, but sobering, analysis is covered in full here:

How Wind Power Subsidies Destroy Both Electricity Markets & Economies

Money Wasted

Legislators Finally Realizing That Wind Power is Useless! Pull the Subsidy Plug!

US “Wind Power States” Pull the Plug on Massive Wind Power Subsidy Schemes

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This time last year, we took a look at the States in the US where $billions filched from power consumers and taxpayers have been thrown at wind power outfits, as a massive, and seemingly endless, stream of subsidies; and the skyrocketing power prices that have been the result:

Want skyrocketing power prices? Just add Wind Power

In that post, James M Taylor laid out the wind power driven blowout in power prices, noting that:

Skyrocketing Costs in Wind Power States

The 11 states that AWEA identifies as deriving more than 7 percent of their electricity from wind power are Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. AWEA says these 11 states have had slightly falling electricity prices since 2008, but official U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data show nine of the 11 have dramatically rising prices. Here are EIA’s data on changes in electricity prices for each of the 11 states since 2008:

Colorado – up 14%

Idaho – up 33%

Iowa – up 17%

Kansas – up 29%

Minnesota – up 22%

North Dakota – up 24%

Oklahoma – down 1%

Oregon – up 15%

South Dakota – up 26%

Texas – down 19%

Wyoming – up 33%

The objective U.S. Energy Information Administration data show nine of the 11 largest wind power states are experiencing skyrocketing electricity prices, rising more than four times the national average. Moreover, prices in eight of the 11 states are rising more than twice as fast as in the 39 states with less than 7 percent wind power generation.

James goes on to explain the two outliers, Texas and Oklahoma:

The Two Outliers Explained

Other important factors further rebut AWEA’s claims in the two heavy wind power states where electricity prices are not skyrocketing.

In Oklahoma, where electricity prices remained essentially flat, there is no renewable power mandate. To the extent wind power is produced in Oklahoma, market forces, rather than state government, determine its generation. AWEA curiously argues relatively stable electricity prices in a state without renewable power mandates justify AWEA’s call for renewable power mandates.

In Texas, economists agree, electricity prices have been falling in recent years as a result of the state’s deregulation efforts during the past decade. Texas coal power, natural gas power, nuclear power, and wind power are all experiencing declining prices due to deregulation. Yet AWEA falsely ascribes the state’s declining electricity prices to wind power.

AWEA’s self-serving formula uses Texas’ deregulation to hide the cumulatively skyrocketing electricity prices in the 10 other states that generate the most wind power.

Now, in a cry of “enough is enough”, numerous States, including Ohio, Kansas, New Mexico and West Virginia have either pulled the plug on their “Renewable Energy Mandates” (State based subsidy schemes) or are set on the path to do so. What’s spooked them into action is the fact that:

“Electricity prices in states with mandates are 40 percent higher than in non-REM states.”

Remember, as Ross McKitrick puts it: “wind turbines don’t run on wind, they run on subsidies” (see our post here).

With States chopping the massive and endless subsidies on which the wind industry critically depends, the wind industry will finally be put to proof on its wild claims about about being “competitive” with conventional generators (see this nonsense from ruin-economy and our post here). As the Americans say to the foolish and/or brave: “well, good luck with that!”

Here’s the Washington Times on the beginning of the end for BIG WIND in the US.

Pulling the plug on renewable energy: States with mandates suffer exploding electricity prices
The Washington Times
Sterling Burnett
29 March 2015

There is never a good time for bad public policy. For few policies is this more evident than renewable energy mandates (REM), variously known as renewable portfolio standards, alternative energy standards and renewable energy standards.

The first renewable energy mandate was adopted in 1983, but most states did not impose these mandates until the 2000s. Though the details vary from state to state, in general, renewable energy mandates require utilities to provide a certain percentage of the electric power they supply from “renewable” sources, notably wind and solar, with the required percentages rising over time.

At the height of the renewable-energy mania, 30 states and the District of Columbia had imposed REMs and another seven had established voluntary standards.

Renewable energy mandate proponents included environmental lobbyists with a hatred for capitalism and fossil fuels that make modern society possible, crony socialists who saw the mandates as way of strong-arming exorbitant payments from government and ratepayers alike, and paternalistic politicians who look down on people’s choices in the marketplace, believing they know best what sources of energy people ought to choose.

Green-energy advocates, crony socialists and government elitists have seen their fortunes wax and wane over five decades. Government subsidies for unreliable, expensive renewable fuels had risen, fallen, been scrapped and begun anew since the 1970s. The existence and amount of subsidies tended to rise in fall with various energy crises — crises often created by the same government that then proposed subsidies for renewable energy as the solution for the problems it created.

For 50 years, green-energy gurus in industry and the environmental movement have sold the snake oil that renewable power would soon be as cheap and reliable as coal, oil, nuclear and natural gas. The nation has been told the turning point has always been just around the corner, always requiring a little more public funding and tax breaks before we have abundant, cheap, clean, reliable energy materializing from thin air.

All these promises were false, and the public and more-honest politicians have seen through the sales pitch. Now, support for renewables is as unreliable as the energy it provides.

To guarantee a market for renewables, green lobbyists fought successfully for mandates ensuring green-energy producers a slice of the electricity market regardless of the price and quality of the energy they produced.

Energy prices skyrocketed, as predicted by numerous energy analysts.

Though cost is an important concern, it is not the only problem with renewable power sources.

Renewable energy is not environmentally friendly. Renewable energy mandates have turned millions of acres of wild lands and wildlife habitats into a vast wasteland of wind and solar industrial energy facilities. In the process, renewable energy facilities have condemned to death hundreds of thousands of animals, including endangered birds, bats and tortoises. Finally, the construction and maintenance of these facilities have polluted the air and water. There is nothing green about all this. Still, continuing high costs, not environmental concerns, may finally spell doom for the mandates.

Citing high costs, Ohio became the first state to freeze its renewable energy mandate. Under Ohio’s mandate, utilities would have been required to provide 25 percent of the state’s electricity from qualified renewable sources by 2025. Under a law signed by Republican Gov. John Kasich in June 2014, Ohio froze its mandate at the current level of 12.5 percent, halving the mandated level.

In January, West Virginia repealed its renewable energy mandate entirely, and the New Mexico House of Representatives passed a bill freezing the state’s renewable standards in March.

Kansas has also recently held hearings on repealing its renewable energy mandate, spurred on in part by a new report from Utah State University reporting Kansas ratepayers are paying $171 million more than they would without the mandate. These additional costs have resulted in a loss of $4,367 each year in household disposable income.

What’s true for Kansas is true for other states with renewable energy mandates. States with mandates experienced 10 percent greater unemployment, due to higher energy prices resulting from the REM, than states without mandates. In addition, the U.S. Department of Energy has found electricity prices in states with renewable energy mandates have risen twice as fast as in states with no renewable requirement. Electricity prices in states with mandates are 40 percent higher than in non-REM states.

With these facts, it is little wonder that states are doing a slow walk back from their previous support of costly, environmentally harmful renewable energy mandates. It’s a classic case of legislate in haste, repent in leisure.

H. Sterling Burnett is a research fellow on energy and the environment at the Heartland Institute.
The Washington Times

subsidies

If any further proof were needed for Ross McKitrick’s “wind turbines don’t run on wind, they run on subsidies” adage, this little piece from Associated Press should do the trick.

Plans pulled for 223-turbine wind farm in Central Oregon
The Associated Press
27 March 2015

BEND — Plans for a big wind farm in north-central Oregon have been scrapped, state regulators say.

The Brush Canyon Wind Power Facility would have had as many as 223 turbines in Sherman and Wasco counties, The Bend Bulletin reported Friday.

It would have been in an area of 76,000 acres, or 119 square miles.

The turbines that have spread across the windy Columbia plateau in recent decades have benefited from two government initiatives: requirements by West Coast states that utilities include alternative energy among their energy sources and a federal tax credit based on turbine production.

But in December, Congress let lapse the federal tax break enacted in 1992 to nurture the fledgling wind industry.

The Brush Canyon proposal had its origin like many in the Northwest, proposed by the North American arm of a European or Scandinavian utility company, in this case the German firm E.ON (EE’-ahn) AG.

“We don’t know why they pulled out, but it’s not unusual,” said spokesman Rachel Wray of the state Department of Energy. “We’ve had a number of projects pulled over the last couple of years. Some that had gone a ways through the process . and others that were a lot less far along. It really varies.”

Calls and messages from The Associated Press to the company’s Chicago office and German headquarters were not immediately returned.

In Central Oregon, some were happy and relieved at the decision, saying the project was far too big and disruptive.

Residents of the high-desert town Antelope were anticipating that construction traffic would increase traffic by 600 percent, Mayor John Silvertooth said.

“It’s like a doctor telling a patient he’s in remission, or waking up from brain surgery and hearing everything was a success,” he said.

Antelope’s population is now about 50. It was larger in the 1980s, and got a lot of attention, when thousands of followers of the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh tried to establish a political power base on a commune that was eventually forced out.
The Associated Press

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When the Money Tap Shuts Off, the Wind Pushers Will Scatter!

US Take on the Colossal Subsidies ‘Essential’ For Wind Power Outfits to Survive

Money Wasted

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As the world wakes up to scale and scope of the great wind power fraud, the numbers men have started to put pen to paper, in an effort to get a proper bead on the size of the massive subsidies being filched from power consumers and taxpayers, and pocketed by wind power outfits – a merry band of blood-sucking leeches, if ever there was one.

One of the numbers men is Rob Nikolewski, the National Energy Correspondent for Watchdog.org. He’s based in Santa Fe, New Mexico and tallies up the damage to power consumers and taxpayers in this little piece.

Solar and wind energy pack a wallop — in federal subsidies
Rob Nikolewski
Watchdog.org
20 March 20 2015

Wind and solar make up but a small percentage of the U.S. energy portfolio, yet lead the pack when it comes to federal energy subsidies.

A study by the nonpartisan Energy Information Administration shows wind and solar finished in top two among all energy sectors in raking in federal subsidies. In fiscal year 2013, wind subsidies topped $5.9 billion. The solar industry received $5.3 billion.

The solar sector saw the biggest jump in federal subsidies between fiscal years 2010 and 2013 — climbing nearly five-fold, from $1.1 billion to $5.3 billion — “with declining solar costs and state-level policies also supporting additional growth,” the EIA report said.

While wind energy received the most subsidies, its rate of increase was less than 10 percent between 2010 and 2013.

Here’s the chart the EIA put out March 13:

WHO GETS WHAT: Federal subsidies by energy source

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Despite the increase in solar and wind subsidies, overall federal energy subsidies decreased 23 percent, dropping from $38.0 billion to $29.3 billion.

Fossil fuel subsidies declined by 15 percent, from $4.0 billion to $3.4 billion, according to the numbers by the EIA, which is an independent arm of the U.S. Department of Energy.

The EIA report came at the request of Congress, but officials at the Solar Energy Industries Association say the study’s parameters were too confining.

“The request was narrowly defined to only include subsidies with clear identifiable impacts on the U.S. Treasury and that are provisions specific to energy,” Ken Johnson,  SEIA’s vice president of communications, told Watchdog.org in an email. “This restrictive definition leaves out some of the largest fossil and nuclear subsidies, which, unfortunately, results in a skewed, apples-to-oranges comparison.”

Johnson also said the EIA report did not include loan guarantees.

The American Wind Energy Association criticized the EIA report as well, calling it “incomplete and distorted.”

“Fossil fuels have benefited from permanent incentives for nearly a century, and nuclear for more than half a century, while tax incentives for less mature renewable energy technologies such as wind came only recently and have often been enacted for only short-term periods,” said Shauna Theel, AWEA deputy director of digital media, wrote in a blog post on the organization’s website. 

The Institute for Energy Research, a research organization that advocates free-market solutions to energy issues, took the EIA study a step further.

The IER calculated federal subsidies and support per unit of electricity production from the EIA charts and concluded that on a per dollar basis, the solar industry is subsidized 345 times more than coal and oil and natural gas electricity production, and wind is subsidized 52 times more than more conventional fossil fuels.

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“Wind and solar are vastly more subsidized than these other sources,” said Chris Warren, director of communications at the IER. “Despite this massive amount of taxpayer dollars going towards these energy sources, they still produce such a small, small potion of our electricity. So you’re not getting a lot of bang for your buck.”

According to another EIA report  published last year, wind and solar combine for 4.36 percent of the nation’s total electricity generation.

But wind and solar’s supporters point out that those numbers have been increasing, and say the EIA and IER studies don’t take into account the value of clean energy to the environment.

“Wind energy creates billions of dollars in economic value by drastically reducing pollution that harms public health and the environment, but wind energy does not get paid for that even though consumers bear many of those costs,” Theel wrote.

Johnson, the solar spokeman, said breaking down the energy sources by unit of production is misleading.

“… (M)ost subsidies are front-loaded, traditional generation, such as coal, nuclear and hydro, received their government support years or decades ago, and the plants built with that support continued to exist and generate energy in 2013 — even if their support did not include substantial outlays in 2013,” Johnson said.

“The big takeaway is that no matter how many subsidies and taxpayer dollars we throw at these energy sources, they can’t meet our everyday electricity needs,” Warren said in a telephone interview. “And that’s what’s most important about energy and electricity resources. Are they going to be there on demand when we need them and are they going to be affordable? No amount of subsidies to wind or solar is going to fix that.”

The charts bring up a question that’s been debated for years in the energy industry: What constitutes a government subsidy? Does it include tax breaks? What about incentives?

“The Energy Information Administration data do not account for the uncertainty that renewable energy businesses have had to face as a result of temporary incentives that are extended for only short periods of time,” Theel said.

Johnson cited a study showing solar incentives are in line with those given to other energy industries.

“What’s more, solar is following a similar curve in development as traditional energy sources (coal, gas, oil), which received substantial subsidies during their growth period and are now still getting many of them,” Johnson said in his email.

Warren said subsidies “across the board distort the market.”

“We’re for a level playing field. That means getting rid of all these different subsidies, whether it’s for the fossil fuel industry, for nuclear, for wind and for solar,” Warren said. “We should just do away with them all and let these energy sources compete based on merit and the values they provide consumers.”

Click here to read the entire EIA report on energy subsidies and click hereto read the IER study.
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