Ministers must come clean to households about the higher energy bills they face if the UK continues to deter new onshore windfarms, the government’s top climate change adviser has said. Lord Deben, the chair of the committee on climate change (CCC), said there was no logical argument against onshore wind turbines in the parts of the UK that want them. The Conservative peer said the technology was the cheapest form of electricity generation and he hoped the government would rethink its opposition to subsidies to it. The government ended subsidies for the windfarms in 2015 but the energy minister Claire Perry has recently said she is “looking carefully” at a U-turn for windfarms built in Wales and Scotland. Last week, the government gave its backing to windfarms on remote islands, such as the Isle of Lewis. Deben told the Guardian: “There is no doubt, and I feel very strongly about it, that onshore wind is the cheapest form of electricity. If the Scots want to have it, on which basis should we say they shouldn’t have it?”
Guardian 10th June 2018 read more »
Building more onshore wind farms could save consumers £1.6 billion on their energy bills, the industry claims in a new study. Cost reductions mean that new projects could offer electricity more cheaply than the market price, the analysis suggests. About 7,000 onshore wind turbines have been built in the UK, capable of generating up to 12 gigawatts of power. They are commercially viable thanks to subsidies paid on energy bills. More than four gigawatts of further projects involving an estimated 1,800 turbines have planning consent, mainly in Scotland. However, development has ground to a halt since the government ended onshore wind subsidies in 2015. The wind industry is lobbying the government to revive the sector, arguing that it could save consumers money. Lindsay McQuade, chief executive of Scottish Power Renewables, one of the companies that commissioned the report by BVG Associates, said that the potential savings were “staggering”. The analysis by BVG suggests that from 2023 wholesale market prices would be higher than those needed by onshore wind farms. Instead of needing a subsidy, onshore wind farms would pay back the extra they received in the market to consumers. BVG modelled the outcome if five gigawatts of turbines were given contracts from 2019 to 2025. “Over the 15-year [contract] period, the net payback to the consumer would be more than £1.6 billion, benefiting household bills,” it said. It added that if onshore wind farms were awarded contracts next year, they would need £45.60 per megawatt-hour, compared with the guaranteed price of £92.50/MWh offered to Hinkley Point.
Times 11th June 2018 read more »