THE myth of cheap wind power has been well and truly demolished, but unfortunately it is the public who will pay the cost.
After the failure to attract any bids from offshore wind at the latest Contracts for Difference auction, the government has announced that it will increase contract prices for new offshore wind projects by 66 per cent to £73/MWh at 2012 prices. (Be aware that these prices are always based on 2012 levels – either much of the media is not aware of this or deliberately refuse to tell their readers.) At current prices, the real price is over £100/MWh. Worse still for energy bills, these contract prices are increased each year in line with inflation; by the time new projects come on stream in four or five years, the price could well be around £125.
To put these prices into perspective, the wholesale price of electricity was around £50/MWh for many years until the Ukrainian war. Even now it ranges between about £80 to £100.
According to official government costings published earlier this year, and based on the current price of natural gas, 100p/therm, the cost of electricity from gas-fired plants is around £80/MWh. This figure excludes the ‘carbon cost’, effectively a carbon tax imposed by the government to drive fossil fuels out of the power sector.
The offshore wind sector is already being subsidised to the tune of £4.8billion a year, though we have been promised for years that the ‘rapidly falling’ cost of wind power would bring our bills tumbling down.
Now we know that was always a lie, as a simple analysis of their annual accounts showed all along. There is no prospect that costs will decline in future; on the contrary, they are likely to continue increasing as supply chain and manufacturer problems mount. We are therefore now locked into permanently high electricity prices, with contract prices guaranteed for 15 years.
With a target of 50GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030, these new prices are likely to double subsidies.
On top of these subsidies must be added the wider system costs – standby capacity, storage, transmission network upgrades, system balancing and constraint payments.
The public have been sold Net Zero on the basis of a lie. We are steadily finding out just how much we are all going to have to pay for it.
Needled by the Met Office
EVERY time we get a bit of wet and windy weather, we are bombarded with alarming headlines like the ones last week when so-called ‘Storm’ Debi arrived: ‘Storm Debi Brings 70mph Winds’, ‘Dangerous Winds Batter UK’, and so on.
The press love this sort of headlines, the scarier the better. But the real culprit behind all this deception is the Met Office, who seem to publish wind speeds from only the most exposed locations. In the case of Debi, the strongest winds were 77mph at Aberdaron, North Wales. But what they don’t tell you is that the weather station there is at the top of a 300ft cliff, at the end of the long Llyn Peninsula.
Three miles down the road, away from the clifftop, is a privately run station, and this recorded gusts of only 44 mph. At other coastal sites in North Wales, such as Rhyl, average wind speeds were around 30mph, classified as a Strong Breeze on the Beaufort Scale. Yet the Met Office never publicise these more representative sites. Around the country it was a similar story.
Perhaps the most blatant example is the Met Office’s use of the Needles Old Battery weather station, which is routinely wheeled out to educate the public on just how strong winds are these days. In their Monthly Weather report for last month, for instance, they noted that the highest wind speed in the UK of 86mph was recorded there. They brazenly list the Needles as having the highest wind speed ever measured in England – 122mph last year. But the Needles, as many of you may know, stand at the end of a long, narrow peninsula at the western extremity of the Isle of Wight. The Old Battery itself is 260ft above the sea and totally exposed on either side.
Worse still, the Met Office did not begin collecting data from the Needles until 1996, so claims of any sort of records there are meaningless.
Wind speeds taken there have no more significance than the temperature on the Centre Court at Wimbledon! They belong in Guinness World Records, not in reputable science.
This video gives the best impression of just how exposed the Needles are: