Wind turbines again

Presenter of the Daily Politics show on the BBC, Andrew Neil has blogged about his encounter with Philip Hammond on Wednesday, also covered by Christopher Booker this weekend.

During the show, Hammond (another of those hypocritical weasels who spins like a top) claimed that onshore wind doesn’t need subsidy anymore, onshore wind can pay its way.  Those who actually inform themselves rather than rely on government spin will know that claim is utter rubbish.

Andrew Neil says he has looked into Hammond’s claim and shares with readers what he now understands:

Onshore wind turbine generators don’t necessarily get a direct subsidy to build or operate the turbines (though some might) but under the government’s Renewables Obligation electricity companies must buy power generated by onshore turbines at twice the market rate.

This 100% higher price is then passed on to the rest of us in higher electricity bills. (The price for offshore generated power enjoys, I’m told, an even higher officially-mandated mark up).

So it’s not so much a subsidy in which government doles out billions of our money to keep the turbines going. It’s an artificially high price they are empowered by law to charge to keep them going, which is then passed on the rest of us. Otherwise, as I understand it, the turbines would be uneconomic. You may conclude that is as much a subsidy as a straight taxpayers’ grant.

I’m not sure where Neil looked, but he must have missed this recent piece in the Telegraph that shows onshore turbines do attract a direct subsidy. It is helpful that he has explained the effect of the Renewables Obligation, but Neil would have been more accurate if he had pointed out the EU origins of this insanity that generates a tiny amount of energy but a lot of money for the owners, operators and landlords.  The taxpayer is being ripped off.

2 Responses to “Wind turbines again”


  1. 1 Dominic Allkins 06/03/2011 at 4:31 pm

    I agree 100% that we’re being ripped off AM.

    Let’s give Neil his dues though. At least he isn’t just spouting the BBC groupthink and is actually doing some research himself, which is more than can be said for a lot of the BBC ‘churnalists’.


  1. 1 50kW wind turbine installation, Maple Honda, Maple Ontario | Conservation Earth Today Trackback on 06/03/2011 at 4:52 pm
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