Posts Tagged 'Rip Off Britain'

The poor value wind turbines deliver in return for the subsidy

When Christopher Booker isn’t ploughing a lonely furrow exposing the disturbing secret behaviour of the courts as they put children into care or take them to be put up for adoption; he is making the weather on the wind turbines – and specifically this week reminding us of how the weather reduces their already poor performance to even more rotten levels.

Yet even though the facts Booker has presented are accepted by DECC – meaning their projections for wind power generation are being significantly overstated – DECC is continuing to use their incorrect and inflated numbers to justify the proliferation of wind turbines at vast expense to taxpayers, in return for even less energy than the fraction of capacity they already deliver.

Defeated Council to spend yet more taxpayers money in attempt to rob residents blind

The local government resident-robbing machine is hard at work in the London Borough of Barnet.

The Evening Standard reports that a Judge in the High Court has ruled Barnet council acted unlawfully when it increased the cost of residents’ parking permits and visitor vouchers in controlled parking zones (CPZs) in order to raise revenue.

From the Standard’s piece there is a familiar story here.  Residents in part of the borough are frustrated at parking problems in their streets caused by commuters trying to park close to the local London Underground station.  So they get the council to agree to create a controlled parking zone in certain roads where residents and their visitors will have permits to park and everyone else gets a ticket or towed away – even though they also pay for a road fund licence and were entitled to park there.

To meet the administration costs, the council imposes an annual charge, which in this case back in 2001 was £20 per year for the first vehicle in each household and 35p for each visitor permit.  After several years the council puts up the administration charge, in this case in 2006 to £40 for the first vehicle in each household and £1 for visitor permits.  Doubtless Barnet feels the amount of administration of the CPZ scheme warranted such an increase.

But then, in the way councils do because they feel they can do what the hell they like, Barnet sought to turn these residents into official cash cows to subsidise other transport related matters the council wanted to spend money on.  So in 2011 Barnet donned its balaclava mask, put on its black and white hooped sweatshirt, and took it upon its collective self to charge residents in the CPZ £100 for the first car in each household and £4 per visitor permit.  As one resident, who unhelpfully for Barnet is a solicitor who does know a bit about the law, pointed out:

Simply holding a summer BBQ or a children’s party could cost £40 in parking charges. An elderly person enjoying regular visits from a relative could face an annual cost of £800.

Extrapolate that across the whole CPZ and you can see there is serious money being taken from residents for the council to spend as it sees fit.

However, it would seem Barnet Council’s solicitor is underused (not consulted) or overpaid (incompetent in the law), because the council did not have the power under the 1984 Road Traffic Regulation Act to charge local residents for parking in order to raise surplus revenue for other transport purposes!  And that is what was held by Mrs Justice Lang in a rare example of the judiciary upholding residents’ complaints about the illegal behaviour of councils and their agents.

But, not content with having their kleptomaniac tendencies reined in by the High Court, Barnet is udderly determined to milk its unwitting cash cows and now intends to spend a significant sum of taxpayers’ money to appeal the case – so desperate are they to suck every drop they can from the taxpayers’ teat.

For the moment it seems at least one council that acts as a law unto itself has come unstuck.  But this is just one example of what councils up and down the country are doing, blatantly ripping off and pressuring residents to part with ever larger sums in fees and charges to service its own agenda, without any consideration of the legality or the probity of their actions.  We will watch with interest how the case pans out.

STOR: Are even higher diesel generator costs just over the horizon for energy customers?

STOROn current figures, as Richard North, Christopher Booker and James Dellingpole have explained in recent days, the Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR) scheme that provides back up for wind power and renewables in the form of a national network of diesel generators controlled remotely by the National Grid, is expected by 2020 to cost UK energy consumers close to an extra £1 billion.

However it is possible that figure could increase substantially for energy consumers because of factors that investors, who are rushing to install generators to cash in on incredibly lucrative standby payments and grossly inflated tariffs per MWh, may not have considered.

There is a very reasonable possibility that the propensity of the EU to impose regulation on anything that moves could be extended to things that don’t, such as stationary diesel generators that comprise the STOR network.  The subject of regulation of diesel generators forms a discussion piece on the website of the Association of Manufacturers and suppliers of Power Systems (AMPS).

The EU is nothing if not a fan of harmonisation and standardisation.  For while at this time the EU Stage IIIA regulations affect emissions from portable and rental generator sets in the power range of 18-560 kVA, but not emissions from stationary, non-road diesel generator sets such as those used for STOR-type prime, peak shaving, load shedding or emergency standby power, the EU could decide to move to adopt US Tier IV-style regulation for diesel stationary engines.

Stage III A of the EU regulations covers engines from 19 to 560 kW including constant speed engines, railcars, locomotives and inland waterway vessels, Stage III B covers engines from 37 to 560 kW including, railcars and locomotives and Stage IV covers engines between 56 and 560 kW.  If these regulations were to be applied to stationary diesel generators, which arguably pose a greater risk to people because of their fixed locations and their in situ emission of the nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and other particulates the regulations are designed to limit in fixed locations, existing generator sets may need to be modified or replaced.

The investors who are piling in for their cut of the STOR largesse are not going to want to see margins eroded by the need to replace or update at significant cost their gen-sets.  The costs will be passed on when the government’s operating reserve becomes a hostage to fortune upon which it is ever more reliant due to its obsession with renewables at the expense of conventional energy generating plant.

In the AMPS piece it is clear the power systems manufacturers have already been anticipating what this means for their profits.  As Richard Cotterell, the General Manager at the Perkins Engines Company Large Engine Centre in Stafford makes clear:

France, Germany and Switzerland and other European countries have their own regulations. India, for example, regulates diesel engines up to 800 kVA, whereas the EU only regulates [non-road, portable gensets] up to 560 kW.

Furthermore, the emissions regulations set for electric power engines are several years behind highway engines, so as Perkins also manufactures on-highway engines we are less apprehensive about more stringent emissions legislation. Our electric power division in Stafford, UK will be able to leverage Perkins in-house expertise and knowledge that our brothers have in Peterborough, as well as our parent company Caterpillar has around the world.

In other words, they can bring modification solutions to the market quickly – but it will be at a cost to the owners of the gen-sets.  Perkins stands to do well out of a change in the regulations, as does its fellow Caterpillar company, FG Wilson (now Caterpillar NI), which is Europe’s largest manufacturer of diesel & gas generator sets and power generating solutions.

Interestingly last summer, FG Wilson as it was then, began to implement a significant redundancy programme across its plants at Larne, Monkstown and Belfast when it decided to move the manufacture of retail size gen-sets to China because that’s where its major market for the units is. A Caterpillar employee tells me its strategy is to build its equaipment as close to its customer market as possible.  So it is noteworthy and very telling that the manufacture of large gen-sets of the type used in STOR diesel parks has been kept in Northern Ireland, as demand for them in the UK is robust.

Ultimately the inescapable fact is that the UK government has put this eye wateringly costly STOR in place at our expense and we could soon see our supreme government in Brussels take regulatory measures that further add to the cost, which we will also be expected to cover through our energy bills.  We are in a lose – lose – lose situation and despite the huge implications for energy customers the mainstream media and the likes of its eco-activist, climate defending superstars like the BBC’s Roger Harrabin, remains silent.

STOR scandal: Revealing the rip off to millions more people


Following the exposure of the rapidly growing use of diesel generators, to provide energy when the wind doesn’t blow to turn those intermittent and inadequate turbines, the story revealed by Richard North and Christopher Booker in being brought to a much wider audience via the Mail on Sunday today, courtesy of James Dellingpole.

Making use of Richard’s content, Dellers makes the key points that should make a lot of people sit up and take notice:

The National Grid’s eye-wateringly expensive solution to counter the instability of wind power is known as the Short Term Operational Reserve, or STOR, to generate a reserve capacity of eight gigawatts (GW) by 2020, the equivalent of about five nuclear plants.

The diesel-generators will provide immediate computer-controlled back-up for that significant period when the wind turbines are not working, but at a hefty premium.

Currently the wholesale price for electricity is around £50 per megawatt hour (MWh) but diesel-generator owners will be paid £600 per MWh.

At 12 times above the market rate, this represents a bigger cash bonanza even than that currently enjoyed by wind developers, who receive a subsidised price of between two and three times the market rate, depending on whether their turbines are on land or offshore.

With the huge reach that can be achieved by the Mail due to its millions of online readers, the STOR scandal is starting to gain some traction.  This increased attention will surely lead to more scrutiny about why the UK is decommissioning coal and nuclear power stations to be replaced with ineffective wind turbines, that in turn rely on hugely expensive, CO2 emitting diesel generators as back up when electricity demand exceeds what can be supplied.

The detail that should make people’s eyes open wide in disbelief is that in 2010, the scheme was already costing us £205 million a year, yet by 2020 this is expected to rise  to £945 million.  All this money being taken from us in addition to what was already being taken to fund our energy needs – and it is only being taken because the politicians have wantonly abandoned reason and made us increasinly dependent on the least efficient, least reliable and least affordable form of power generation, which necessitates diesel generators to be on standby to make up the shortfall when the wind drops off.

To call this a scandal doesn’t come anywhere close to underlining the scale of this corrupt rip off or the extent of the carbon con that is being used by the government to enrich corporates at our expense.

STOR Scandal: Ripping you off to line corporate pockets

Richard is away plane spotting so I’ll try to do my bit for the cause… Booker’s column in the Sunday Telegraph today spreads the word to more readers that under the Government’s STOR (Short Term Operating Reserve) scheme, the National Grid has been signing up, at vast expense, thousands of diesel-driven stand-by generators to provide instantly available power to “balance the grid” when the wind isn’t blowing.

 
As Booker explains, so huge are the sums the grid is offering to make this power available that hundreds of canny investors have seen that this is one of the great money-making rackets of our time. In old industrial sites, quarries and supermarket premises all over the country they are piling in to install dedicated “generator parks”, capable of producing up to 100 megawatts (MW), in return for “availability payments” of up to £47,000 a year for each MW of their capacity. They then receive additional payment for the amount of electricity they actually feed to the grid, giving them an equivalent of £600 for each MW hour supplied – 12 times the going market rate.

What does this mean for energy customers?  Before long STOR alone will be adding five per cent, or £1 billion a year, to our electricity bills. Yet no one involved wants to talk about it. This is a scam so colossal that it makes the owners of those useless wind farms, who get subsidies of 100 or 150 per cent, seem miserably underpaid. As Booker puts it, this new energy scandal makes the wind industry look underpaid.  And that is exactly what this is, a scandal.

In the name of decarbonising our economy and fighting climate change, ordinary customers like you and me are footing the bill for inadequate and grotesquely expensive wind energy solution that simply doesn’t work.  To make up the shortfall in wind energy’s capacity to deliver the power we need, the government is encouraging – with even more of our money – the construction an even more grotesquely expensive back up solution powered by hydrocarbon fossil fuel.  STOR is best described as the Government scheme to make corporates richer at your expense, which exposes the fight against CO2 as a blatant fraud.

STOR scandal: Putting the scale of the theft from us into context

Following on from our previous post about the emerging STOR scandal, it would be helpful for people to understand just some of what this means in monetary terms.  To what extent are energy consumers and taxpayers being ripped off to make expensive diesel powered electricity generation worthwhile for ‘investors’ and big businesses to provide to the grid?

So lets put it into context, in the words of an energy company:

National Grid (2011b) sets out reserve tender outcomes and RWE npower has estimated that the price paid when stand-by generation capacity is called for by the short-term operating reserve market mechanism was £180-280/MWh in 2010. There is also a payment of around £7-10/MWh.

This is worth around £30,000-45,000/MW per annum to an owner of stand-by generation (RWE npower, personal communication).

That is roughly eight times the industrial tariff for power. As demand for operating reserve increases, shown in Figure 8, the price will rise and the incentive to participate will grow stronger.

Indeed, by 2015, National Grid (2011b) estimates that the utilisation payment will have risen to £544/MWh, and by 2020 the figure is £685/MWh, all in real terms in 2010/11 money. That is an increase of 96 per cent in ten years providing a strong incentive for new owners of generation to participate. Across the whole market, the total payments for being available and for generating could reach £945 million per annum by 2020, up from £205 million in 2010. That is an increase of 350 per cent in ten years.

There are profitable opportunities to be seized and they are open to existing generation assets which have already been paid for and sometimes even depreciated.

While the firms benefit, society does too. The mechanism allows the market to find the cheapest way to maintain an uninterrupted power supply whichever scenario the UK finds itself in. It will be to the benefit of all consumers if stand-by generation is put to its best possible use.

Source: nPower

It is interesting to note that over on the Bishop Hill blog, Andrew Montford points to a conclusion that no fossil fuels are subsidised in the UK, in rebuttal to the imbecilic climate alarmist mouthpiece, Bob Ward.  However, STOR clearly shows there is subsidy being made available for diesel powered electricity generation at peak times – albeit to back up virtually useless wind power.

STOR scandal: The establishment conspiracy to fleece energy customers by design

A story broken by Christopher Booker in the Telegraph and Richard North on EU Referendum on Saturday evening heralds one of the biggest consumer rip off scandals in UK history.

This concerns the existence of a vast network of standby diesel generators, which make up what is known as a Short Term Operating Reserve (STOR), that can be called upon by the National Grid in the event of a shortfall in electricity should electricity generating capacity go offline.

The theory is simple.  When there isn’t enough power being generated to meet demand, this network of diesel generators can be brought online within minutes to provide gigawatts of electricity to keep the lights on.  Booker and North detail the system and how it has been hidden in plain sight for years – which explains the confident performance of energy minister, Michael Fallon in his interview with Andrew Neil last week when he said the lights would stay on, even as power stations close without replacement and wind turbines fail to deliver power reliably when it is needed.

STOR brings into sharp focus three major issues that are unlikely to be pored over by the media. First and most immediate of these for energy customers is the cost of running this system that will be passed on to them.  As Booker explains in his piece:

These new power sources are far from cheap; the current wholesale cost of electricity is around £50 a megawatt hour (MWh). Thanks to the subsidies levied through our electricity bills, we are already paying nearly £100 per MWh to the owners of onshore wind farms and £150 for those offshore. But, as the National Grid reveals, the tender prices submitted by those signed up to the STOR scheme can be as high as £400 per MWh, eight times the market rate. The average payment in 2011 was £225 per MWh, plus a fee of £22,000 for every megawatt of their capacity (for these fees in 2010-11 alone we stumped up £75 million).

This is another subsidy gravy train run in the interests of corporations at the expense of hard pressed customers, and businesses whose costs are driven up accordingly and are passed on in the price of most goods and services.  The evidence of this is detailed by Richard in his piece when he explains:

Under normal circumstances using this back-up capacity is not an economically competitive form of generation; it is generally only called upon in emergencies when price rises can cover the costs of generation. But as we lose power stations from the system, there will be no option but to use it as replacement capacity and, in particular, as back-up when the wind is not blowing.

So lucrative is this option that it is being regarded as a major investment opportunity, “anticipated to experience significant growth due to increased reliance on reserve sources of power to meet fluctuations in electricity.

Investors are told that the “significant upward trend in the requirement for reserve services” is due to “decreased power supply following from the decommissioning of ageing nuclear power plants” and “increased volatility of power supply caused by increased reliance on renewables (due to the high proportion of wind power, renewables are not a consistent source of power) “.

The second is yet another example of fear being as a tool to condition people into accepting a grotesquely expensive ‘solution’ that shouldn’t be required in the first place.

Make no mistake the emergence of the STOR story, and its revelation of the gigawatts of failover capacity that are available to the system, shows us that the current focus on the energy gap being played out in the media with suitable dramatic effect, is a contrived narrative designed to worry people about power cuts and blackouts so that when they are asked to stump up significantly more money to keep the lights on via diesel generators, they will grit their teeth and pay up – the metaphor that sums this up being ‘they’ve taken my arm and cut off my leg, but thank God it means I’ve been able to stay alive’.

The third of the two issues is how this theft has been engineered by the establishment by its utterly illogical and nonsensical policies on energy.  Whereas common sense would dictate this country’s government to have an energy strategy to meet the needs and demand of powered infrastructure, businesses and residential customers using the most reliable forms of power generation, the strategy has been designed around the unworkable goal of relying on unreliable and intermittent wind energy to meet our baseload energy supply, coupled with ‘demand management’ – namely the forced reduction in energy demand through increased cost.

Businesses and households are being priced out of using tomorrow the same amount of energy they already find difficult to afford today; and this scenario is being compounded by purposely built-in scarcity through the policy of closing down generating capacity without reliable replacement, so the gap between total reliable energy supply and peak energy demand has narrowed to a dangerously small percentage.  Instead of replacing conventional power in need of decommission with nuclear power to provide our baseload energy, and topping that up with coal and gas which, already spinning below capacity but not wasting what is being generated, can quickly be called upon to meet additional demand when it peaks, we are getting subsidy chomping wind turbines that provide only a fraction of their potential and rely on intermittent weather conditions.

At the end of this trail of state driven larceny is a special interest collective of subsidy farmers, corporates and big money investors who reap a huge return in profits at our expense for our substandard and flawed-by-design energy infrastructure.  An infrastructure that is forced on us by a deranged sustainability agenda that is sponsored and nourished by those special interests who hoover up our money, and the anti-progress environmentalists who are determined to de-industrialise the world and enforce untold misery on billions of people.

As you can see, this is not just a story about carbon emitting diesel generators being used to keep our lights on.  It runs far deeper and is far more disturbing than that.  The question that needs answering is will the media step up and educate people about this, or will it look away to continue sucking up to those influential and ‘powerful’ people of ‘prestige’ who are calling the shots to enrich themselves by robbing us blind?

The great wind power rip-off revisited

In the Telegraph today is a piece about the ‘true cost of Britain’s wind farm industry’ which underlines the extent of direct (let alone the indirect) consumer-funded subsidy deployed to propping up one of the most unreliable and inefficient forms of energy generation available.

The piece opens:

A new analysis of government and industry figures shows that wind turbine owners received £1.2billion in the form of a consumer subsidy, paid by a supplement on electricity bills last year. They employed 12,000 people, to produce an effective £100,000 subsidy on each job.

The disclosure is potentially embarrassing for the wind industry, which claims it is an economically dynamic sector that creates jobs. It was described by critics as proof the sector was not economically viable, with one calling it evidence of “soft jobs” that depended on the taxpayer.

It’s an interesting take, to focus on the extent of subsidy paid to wind farms against the number of wind farm jobs that exist.  But that doesn’t take into other subsidy that pours into the industry from other taxpayer funded sources.  Also it encompass jobs that were focussed on building and installing the subsidy farms in the first place, so the piece undermines itself.  When that happens it doesn’t do any favours to those of us opposed to the government’s insane and utterly disastrous reliance on wind farms for baseload power, for such pieces leave us open to attack for inaccuracy.

What the piece should do is remind people that creating jobs which are reliant on public subsidy does nothing to boost the productive sector of the economy.  It is simply another government mandated burden on the consumer/taxpayer.  That is because the roles that have been created at these subsidy farms would not have been without legislation designed to skew the energy market to underpin uneconomic wind farm development, and without rules put in place to confiscate extra money from us to service their upkeep we would not be paying so much for our energy.  The energy market would not have opted for wind if left without interference to develop the most cost effective and reliable energy solutions that would be delivered at less cost to the companies and their customers.

But while we are on the subject, let’s take a quick look at the contribution being made to our power needs by all those grotesquely expensive wind turbines pitting the countryside up and down our nation, within the last hour…

 
1.4% is a disgraceful return for the huge sums of money that have been taken from us to service the government’s unjustified and pressure group driven decarbonisation agenda.  Hanging would be too good for these people as punishment for the wholesale theft we have suffered at their hands and their justification for it on the strength of an unproven hypothesis.

They should count themselves fortunate that most people have, as intended, been distracted from real issues affecting all our lives by mind numbing TV programmes and glitzy trivia.

Important question – If this is such a problem for Cameron, why isn’t this a problem too?

On Friday night the Telegraph ran a story about David Cameron’s comments to a group of factory workers in Wales, about food prices being increased to subsidise cheaper alcohol, explaining:

The Prime Minister claimed that “a family with a reasonable drinking habit” was “actually subsidising the binge drinker” because supermarkets were increasing the price of food to fund cuts in the cost of wine, beer and cider.

Tim Worstall challenges this by asking, ‘Even if it’s true, so what?‘  But there is a much more important question that should be asked.  If that increase in cost, to subsidise a real terms benefit to a minority of people who don’t need it at the expense of the majority, is such a problem for Cameron then why aren’t we reading something like the following in the papers…?

The Prime Minister claimed that “a family with reasonable energy consumption” was “actually subsidising super wealthy landowners and profitable renewables companies” because energy providers were increasing the price of electricity and gas to fund excessive tariffs that are paid for energy which is generated by wind and solar power.

If it is so outrageous and unacceptable for binge drinkers to benefit from food price subsidies footed by responsible ordinary consumers, why isn’t it equally outrageous and unacceptable that a small cabal of opportunist subdidy farmers benefit from artificially high tariffs for energy, also footed by responsible ordinary consumers?  If he feels so minded to have a cause, then why isn’t Cameron focussing on something almost identical that costs families significantly more money each year?

Perhaps the problem is that Cameron is a stinking hypocrite who not only exhibits the worst kind of moral equivalence but is also in thrall to environmental lobbyists; not to mention a band of influential wealthy people who play host to lucrative wind turbines while gifting money to fund his rapidly shrinking party.


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