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June 6 2016

UK Wind Industry Says England Isn't Windy Enough to Build Wind Turbines Without Government Subsidies

Charlotte Allen

What happened to the “wuthering” in Wuthering Heights?

From the U.K. Telegraph:

England is not windy enough to justify building any more onshore wind turbines, the chief executive of wind industry trade body has admitted.

Turns out that's actually a "windy" way of saying: The wind industry in the UK can't survive without government subsidies:

Hugh McNeal, who joined RenewableUK two months ago from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, insisted the industry could make the case for more onshore turbines in some parts of the UK, despite the withdrawal of subsidies.

But he said this would “almost certainly” not be in England, as the wind speeds were not high enough to make the projects economically viable without subsidy.

But "not windy enough" sounds better than "needs government handout to be economically viable," so we have this:

But new wind farms in England were “very unlikely”, beyond those that have already secured subsidies and are awaiting construction, as they would not be cost-efficient enough to undercut gas power, he said.

“We are almost certainly not talking about the possibility of new plants in England. The project economics wouldn’t work; the wind speeds don’t allow for it.”

So what to do? Here's what: Don't call it a subsidy! Call it "government financial support" to make sure that Britons have sufficient energy:

Although the Government has implemented its manifesto pledge to end subsidies for new onshore wind farms, the industry believes it should be able to deploy more turbines onshore if it can show that this is the cheapest form of new power generation capacity.

Current wholesale electricity prices are too low to spur investment in any new form of power generation, so the Government has already had to make subsidies available to new gas plants.

If financial support required by onshore wind is less than that required by gas, the industry argues it should no longer be regarded as “subsidy”

But some Britons seem to think that the wind industry is just "blowing" smoke:

The idea of “subsidy free” financial support for onshore wind has proved highly controversial. Owen Paterson, the former environment secretary, described it as a “con” after ministers confirmed earlier this year that they were considering the idea.

As Eric Worrall of Watts Up With That observes:

The effort to “redefine” subsidies as something all energy providers should expect, and therefore not really a subsidy, is telling – in my opinion it suggests Wind energy providers are well aware that their product will never be truly competitive against reliable, dispatchable power generation systems.

Wind farms in the US currently cost taxpayers $12 billion in subsidies, Breitbart notes:

Warren Buffett, a big investor in wind power, admitted the industry’s reliance on the federal subsidy. “[O]n wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.”

Plus, the monster-turbines are ugly as sin and kill around 300,000 birds a year.

So maybe it's not "windy" enough anywhere for there to be a viable wind industry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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