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HomeClimate WatchThe climate scaremongers: The Renewable Obligation scandal

The climate scaremongers: The Renewable Obligation scandal


THE renewable energy lobby would like us to think that wind and solar power are now the cheapest forms of energy.

There was even a letter in the Times last week from the Professor of Energy and Climate Change at UCL, Michael Grubb, who claimed that consumers were paying four times the cost of renewables for their electricity. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Renewable electricity is heavily subsidised, and will be for many years to come, and these subsidies are added to consumers’ energy bills. Last year, for instance, £11.1billion was handed over in subsidies, equivalent to more than £400 per household.

More than half of this figure comes through the Renewable Obligation scheme. In simple terms, Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) are handed out to generators of renewable electricity, including wind, solar and biomass. Suppliers of electricity have to possess a certain number of ROCs to cover their obligation each year, so either need to produce renewable electricity themselves or buy the ROCs. The market price set by the regulator Ofgem this year is £50.80 per certificate.

Generators can expect to receive ROCs for the life of their asset.

The number of ROCs handed out is dependent on the amount of electricity produced, and varies by technology – for instance, offshore wind farms receive typically receive 2 ROCs/MWh, whereas onshore ones get 1 ROC/MWh.

In effect this means that an offshore wind farm is awarded a subsidy of about £100/MWh, in addition to the income from the electricity sold. In the past the latter was around £50/MWh, meaning gross income of £150/MWh.

With the rapid rise in power prices last year, the market price is now about £110/MWh, meaning that the same wind farm now has a gross income of £210/MWh. This extra profit is pure windfall.

With free markets, of course, there are always winners and losers. Sometimes prices go up and sometimes they go down, with businesses gaining and losing accordingly. However the ROC scheme effectively takes away that downside, because it gives companies a minimum guaranteed income. Why then should they benefit from windfall profits which they have done nothing to earn?

In overall terms, the ROC scheme covers about a quarter of total electricity generation. At current prices, this windfall is worth £4.8billion to renewable generators.

At a time when energy consumers are having to pay out hundreds of pounds a year more, it is intolerable that these companies should be allowed to reap billions extra in windfall profits, especially when they are already heavily subsidised anyway.

Latest hurricane scare story

You may have read reports recently that the range of hurricanes is going to expand into temperate latitudes, and affect cities such as New York, Boston and Tokyo. All, of course, because of global warming.

The projections come from the latest piece of junk science, and were faithfully trumpeted by the BBC as if they were fact, in an article titled Climate change: Hurricanes to expand into more populated regions. The absurd Matt McGrath, the BBC’s Environment Correspondent, wrote:

‘Climate change will expand the range of tropical cyclones, making millions more people vulnerable to these devastating storms, a new study saysAt present, these cyclones – or hurricanes as they are also known – are mainly confined to the tropical regions north and south of the equator. But researchers say that rising temperatures will allow these weather events to form in the mid-latitudes. This area includes cities such as New York, Beijing, Boston and Tokyo.’

It does not seem to have occurred to the clueless McGrath that hurricanes have always hit these places.

In the US for instance, between 1950 and 1991 a total of nine hurricanes hit the coast in New York State or further north. Since 1991, only one has made landfall there – Sandy in 2012, which most hurricane experts now say was not even a hurricane at landfall. In other words, there are many fewer hurricanes there than in the past.

The story is similar in Japan, where the Japanese Meteorological Agency tells us that three hurricanes hit the mainland each year on average, and that the numbers are not increasing. (Strictly speaking, ‘hurricanes’ are named ‘typhoons’ in the western Pacific).

US National Climatic Data Center

As is usually the case, the BBC failed to challenge this study, or provide readers with the facts, or ask hurricane experts for their opinions instead of taking the word of a computer modeller.

Junk studies like this one are unfortunately all too common in climate ‘science’. They feed off the billions available each year in research grants, and are designed to garner headlines to scare the children.

After all, when do you ever see a BBC headline that says ‘Hurricanes becoming less common, new study finds’?

Almost as warm as 1733!

The climate crisis is upon us, as latest figures from the Met Office confirm. According to the long running, high quality Central England Temperature series, last year was so warm in England that temperatures almost reached 1733 levels!

UK Met Office

 Indeed there were six years in the 18th and 19th centuries which were warmer than last year:







More significantly, however, there has been no increase in average temperatures for the best part of two decades, following a rise in the 1990s. The data suggests that temperatures have stabilised at this new level, and that projections of a hotter climate in future are without foundation.

The data also clearly shows that our weather nowadays is little different from that experienced by our forefathers.

Moths munching their way through palaces

Rain or shine, hot or cold – it’s all due to climate change!

Only last week we heard Environment Agency warnings about summer droughts, caused of course by climate change.

Now we are told that wetter summers are leading to the population growth of moths in our royal palaces. In a Telegraph article headlined More moths munching away at Royal Palace treasures because of climate change, we are told:

‘Tapestries, furniture and soft furnishings in some of Britain’s most historic buildings are at risk from a surge in household pests driven by climate change.

‘Historic Royal Palaces, which manages six palaces in London and Northern Ireland including Hampton Court and parts of Kensington Palace, has seen the breeding rate of clothes moths in its properties more than double.

‘Kathryn Hallett, the head of conservation and collection care at Historic Royal Palaces, told the Telegraph: “Over the last decade, we have seen an increase in common clothes moth activity across our sites, often seeing up to three annual breeding cycles rather than the more usual one or two.”

‘The increase in breeding is caused both directly and indirectly by the changing climate. Longer, damper summers have provided ideal breeding conditions for moths, while earlier winters and more frequent and potent cold snaps are forcing the palaces to turn on their heating sooner and more often, further improving conditions for them.’

Needless to say, our summers are not getting wetter, or for that matter drier. As for ‘earlier winters and more potent cold snaps’, maybe Ms Hallett might like to tell the Met Office, who insist that our winters are getting milder!

Now I did not do A-level Moths, but might I offer the suggestion that the increased use of central heating is the culprit here, as the admission that it is being turned on earlier each year indicates.

There is another factor. Paul Bates, director of pest control firm Cleankill, in an earlier Telegraph report claimed that bans on heavy-duty pesticides had limited his armoury. ‘We’re not even allowed mothballs any more,’ he said. 

But it’s much easier to blame climate change, isn’t it? The recent Telegraph article was written by Daniel Capurro, who simply regurgitated Ms Hallett’s patently absurd claims without bothering to do any cross-checks.

Capurro is listed by the paper as a ‘Senior Reporter’.  I hate to think what the junior ones are like!

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Paul Homewood
Paul Homewood
Paul Homewood is a former accountant who blogs about climate change at Not a Lot of People Know That

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