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« Operation Cabin files | Main | Scottish Power on cost of green policies »
Thursday
Nov012012

Two questions

The BBC's Five Live Drive programme yesterday interviewed a chap called Dale Vince from a company called Ecotricity. The segment is embedded below. During the show, he made the claim that government support for onshore wind only costs the consumer £5 per year.

Here are two questions:

1. What is the basis of this figure?

2. What is the cost to the consumer of the renewables obligation (which doesn't count as "support")

As an aside, it's interesting to note that Mr Vince makes £6m per year in subsidies on his windfarm empire. I think the BBC should probably have mentioned this.

Drive excerpt

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Reader Comments (35)

Dale Vince is also chairman of my local football team, Forest Green Rovers. Anyone with enough spare cash to throw about like that isn't going to feel much pain from an economic down-turn.

Nov 1, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterBloke down the pub

Don't be a cheapo. Mr Vince only costs (each one of) us 10p/year.

Nov 1, 2012 at 10:05 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

1 I'm sure we went through this £5 per household claim a few weeks ago. As I recall, it didn't include the effect on the rest of the economy which ultimately is passed onto households. It also didn't include costs of grid connections and upgrades, of back-up inefficiencies and constraint payments.
2 REF provides analysis of ROC costs. See http://www.ref.org.uk/attachments/article/238/ref%20info%20note%2020%2006%2011%20.pdf

.

Nov 1, 2012 at 10:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Found this on the ecotricity site

http://www.ecotricity.co.uk/news/news-archive/2012/on-shore-wind-power-cost-households-less-than-5-last-year

Nov 1, 2012 at 10:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterGSW

The Royal Academy of Engineering seems to think that windmills are more than twice as expensive as coal, nuclear or gas:

http://www.raeng.org.uk/news/publications/list/reports/cost_generation_commentary

Nov 1, 2012 at 10:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Longstaff

O/T slightly: Good input to the R4 prog (9:00PM last night) on Climategate. Well said. I even thought the talking head (name forgotten) presenting the prog seemed quite sympathetic. Is the BBC starting to turn, just a mm? The only problem was the constant reference to an external hack at CRU - but that was mainly the police spokesman stressing that.

Nov 1, 2012 at 10:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

The BBC will never mention anything that detracts from their core beliefs. The Climategate broadcast:- the BBC still insult many scientists by repeating the '' skeptics and main stream scientists'' rubbish. Many main stream scientists are skeptics, indeed all scientists must by definition be skeptical to ask the right questions.

Nov 1, 2012 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

[Buggered up the html: I'll try again]

This site calculates the cost per household of renewables subsidies as £103.30 between 2002 and 2011:

renewable_energy_bills_environment_cost-3187

However, that figure is just for the FITs and ROCs: there are a load of other "green" levies adding to fuel bills too, relating to energy efficiency and carbon reduction targets.

This figure does not, however, agree with one that regularly does the rounds on the Guardian, which says renewables subsidies add £20 per year to bills, half of which - that is, £10 per year - goes to wind.

Dale Vince makes the £5 per year claim here:

what-the-papers-wont-say

Dale Vince is a past master at milking the system: the Telegraph reported a while ago about how he got a load of taxpayers money to develop his own personal toy car:

electric-sports-car-part-funded-by-the-taxpayer

And finally, read the comments under this article by the indefatigable "Nick" for a little insight into the mind of a capitalist pseudo-hippy:

dump-the-big-six-go-on-you-know-you-want-to

Nov 1, 2012 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterTurning Tide

Dale Vince is a director of the following companies:

ALVESTON WIND PARK LIMITED
BALLYMENA WIND PARK LIMITED
BAMBERS EXTENSION WIND PARK LTD
BAMBERS WIND PARK LIMITED
BANBURY WIND PARK LIMITED
BRISTOL PORT WIND PARK LIMITED
CARBONADE LTD
CARBONAID LTD
CARBON BANK LIMITED
CARBON SAVINGS BANK LIMITED
CARDIFF WIND PARK LIMITED
CRYSTAL SYSTEMS LIMITED
DAGENHAM 2 WIND PARK LIMITED
DAGENHAM WIND PARK LIMITED
DALBY WIND PARK LIMITED
DALE VINCE LIMITED
DERIX VENTURES LIMITED
DUNDEE MERCHANT WIND PARK LIMITED
DUNDONALD WINDPARK LIMITED
ECOBANK LIMITED
ECO CARS LIMITED
ECOGAS SUPPLIES LIMITED
ECOLECTRICITY LIMITED
ECO.NET (UK) LIMITED
ECOTALK LIMITED
ECOTECH CENTRE LIMITED
ECOTECH WIND PARK LIMITED
ECO TELECOM LIMITED
ECOTILITY LIMITED
ECOTOPIA LIMITED
ECOTRICITY DE FRANCE LIMITED
ECOTRICITY DOING THE RIGHT THING LTD
ECOTRICITY GROUP LTD
ECOTRICITY JUICE LTD
ECOTRICITY LIMITED
ECOTRICITY NEW ENERGY LIMITED
ECOTRICITY (NEXT GENERATION) LIMITED
ECOWATER LIMITED
FEN FARM SOLAR PARK LIMITED
FEN FARM WIND PARK LIMITED
GALSWORTHY WIND PARK LIMITED
GEAROID LANE LIMITED
GOLDMEK TECHNOLOGY LIMITED
GREEN PARK WIND PARK LIMITED
HETHEL WIND PARK LIMITED
KATA SYSTEMS LIMITED
KINGS LYNN WIND PARK LIMITED
LOCHNET SYSTEMS LIMITED
LONDON WIND PARK LIMITED
LYDIARD FIELDS WIND PARK LIMITED
LYNCH KNOLL WIND PARK LIMITED
MABLETHORPE WIND PARK LIMITED
MANCHESTER CITY WIND PARK LIMITED
MERCHANT WIND PARK (EAST KILBRIDE) LIMITED
MICROTRICITY LIMITED
MILTON KEYNES WIND PARK LIMITED
NEW POWER COMPANY LIMITED
NEXGEN GROUP LIMITED
NEXT GENERATION WIND HOLDINGS LIMITED
NORTHAMPTON WIND PARK LIMITED
NORTH HARBOUR WIND PARK LIMITED
ONE PLANET BANK LIMITED
POLLINGTON WIND PARK LIMITED
RENEWABLE UK ASSOCIATION (Resigned)
SANDY WIND TURBINE LIMITED
SHIPDHAM WINDPARK LIMITED
SHOOTERS BOTTOM WIND PARK LTD
SOMERTON WIND PARK LIMITED
STREET WIND PARK LIMITED
SWAFFHAM II WIND PARK LTD
SWAFFHAM WINDPARK LIMITED
SWINDON WIND PARK LIMITED
THE MINISTRY OF CARBON LIMITED
THE RENEWABLE ENERGY COMPANY LIMITED
THE VINCE CAR COMPANY LIMITED
THE VINCE MOTOR COMPANY LIMITED
URBINE LIMITED
WAKEFIELD WIND PARK LIMITED
WESTERN RENEWABLES LIMITED
WESTERN WINDPOWER LIMITED
WIND HOLDINGS NORD LIMITED
WINDPOWER (WALES) LIMITED (Resigned)
WINDTRICITY LIMITED
WONDERBAY LIMITED
ZERO ENERGY LIMITED
ZERO FOOD LIMITED
ZERO LIMITED
ZERO TRADING LIMITED
ZERO TRANSPORT LIMITED

Nov 1, 2012 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Had a look at the Ecotricity site, about us page.

http://www.ecotricity.co.uk/about-ecotricity/our-history

They appear to about 60,000 customers. If the £6million in subsidies is correct, that works out as £100 per customer.

Nov 1, 2012 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterGSW

Posted this earlier but it never appeared. Apologies if it ends up being duplicate post.

Dale Vince is a director of the following companies:

ALVESTON WIND PARK LIMITED
BALLYMENA WIND PARK LIMITED
BAMBERS EXTENSION WIND PARK LTD
BAMBERS WIND PARK LIMITED
BANBURY WIND PARK LIMITED
BRISTOL PORT WIND PARK LIMITED
CARBONADE LTD
CARBONAID LTD
CARBON BANK LIMITED
CARBON SAVINGS BANK LIMITED
CARDIFF WIND PARK LIMITED
CRYSTAL SYSTEMS LIMITED
DAGENHAM 2 WIND PARK LIMITED
DAGENHAM WIND PARK LIMITED
DALBY WIND PARK LIMITED
DALE VINCE LIMITED
DERIX VENTURES LIMITED
DUNDEE MERCHANT WIND PARK LIMITED
DUNDONALD WINDPARK LIMITED
ECOBANK LIMITED
ECO CARS LIMITED
ECOGAS SUPPLIES LIMITED
ECOLECTRICITY LIMITED
ECO.NET (UK) LIMITED
ECOTALK LIMITED
ECOTECH CENTRE LIMITED
ECOTECH WIND PARK LIMITED
ECO TELECOM LIMITED
ECOTILITY LIMITED
ECOTOPIA LIMITED
ECOTRICITY DE FRANCE LIMITED
ECOTRICITY DOING THE RIGHT THING LTD
ECOTRICITY GROUP LTD
ECOTRICITY JUICE LTD
ECOTRICITY LIMITED
ECOTRICITY NEW ENERGY LIMITED
ECOTRICITY (NEXT GENERATION) LIMITED
ECOWATER LIMITED
FEN FARM SOLAR PARK LIMITED
FEN FARM WIND PARK LIMITED
GALSWORTHY WIND PARK LIMITED
GEAROID LANE LIMITED
GOLDMEK TECHNOLOGY LIMITED
GREEN PARK WIND PARK LIMITED
HETHEL WIND PARK LIMITED
KATA SYSTEMS LIMITED
KINGS LYNN WIND PARK LIMITED
LOCHNET SYSTEMS LIMITED
LONDON WIND PARK LIMITED
LYDIARD FIELDS WIND PARK LIMITED
LYNCH KNOLL WIND PARK LIMITED
MABLETHORPE WIND PARK LIMITED
MANCHESTER CITY WIND PARK LIMITED
MERCHANT WIND PARK (EAST KILBRIDE) LIMITED
MICROTRICITY LIMITED
MILTON KEYNES WIND PARK LIMITED
NEW POWER COMPANY LIMITED
NEXGEN GROUP LIMITED
NEXT GENERATION WIND HOLDINGS LIMITED
NORTHAMPTON WIND PARK LIMITED
NORTH HARBOUR WIND PARK LIMITED
ONE PLANET BANK LIMITED
POLLINGTON WIND PARK LIMITED
RENEWABLE UK ASSOCIATION (Resigned)
SANDY WIND TURBINE LIMITED
SHIPDHAM WINDPARK LIMITED
SHOOTERS BOTTOM WIND PARK LTD
SOMERTON WIND PARK LIMITED
STREET WIND PARK LIMITED
SWAFFHAM II WIND PARK LTD
SWAFFHAM WINDPARK LIMITED
SWINDON WIND PARK LIMITED
THE MINISTRY OF CARBON LIMITED
THE RENEWABLE ENERGY COMPANY LIMITED
THE VINCE CAR COMPANY LIMITED
THE VINCE MOTOR COMPANY LIMITED
URBINE LIMITED
WAKEFIELD WIND PARK LIMITED
WESTERN RENEWABLES LIMITED
WESTERN WINDPOWER LIMITED
WIND HOLDINGS NORD LIMITED
WINDPOWER (WALES) LIMITED (Resigned)
WINDTRICITY LIMITED
WONDERBAY LIMITED
ZERO ENERGY LIMITED
ZERO FOOD LIMITED
ZERO LIMITED
ZERO TRADING LIMITED
ZERO TRANSPORT LIMITED

Nov 1, 2012 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Ecotricity is one of several such outfits who seek commercial leads by way of climate alarm sites aimed at children. Therefore, in my view, they are for that alone, deserving of a place in an inner circle of hell. See: http://www.coolitschools.com/switch-now

Extract:
"Switch Now

Cool it Schools runs on clean energy, why don't you?

Switch to one of these brilliant renewable energy companies and you will be helping to protect the world from oil generated environmental disaster. And you will be helping us to fund exciting new Cool it Schools projects."

More examples of such companies and sites aimed at children or teachers here: http://climatelessons.blogspot.co.uk/p/climate-sites-aimed-at-children-or.html

Nov 1, 2012 at 12:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

GSW -
Thanks for the link to the Ecotricity report which shows how they come up with the £5 per year per household for onshore wind vs £120 per year for "bankers & energy speculators".

They get the £5 figure by figuring £15.15 per household per year for ROCs; and onshore wind represents about 30% of the ROCs. [Per the OFGEM 2010-11 report.] Now they attribute the £15.15 to the OFGEM report, but there's no per-household breakdown there. As ecotricity use 26.3 million as the number of UK households, that totals to £398M. Can't find that figure in the OFGEM report either. Hmmm....

Going back to the OFGEM report, in the specified year there were 24,884,608 ROCs, each worth £51.34. I make that £1277M. Perhaps ecotricity is only considering domestic electricity usage, and discounts the corporate usage because they're literally counting what appears on domestic fuel bills. [Increased corporate costs of electricity are also ultimately paid by consumers, but they show up as increased cost of food &c.] Nice sleight of hand there.

Then there's ecotricity's claim that fuel prices have gone up by £120 per household, again citing OFGEM (Dec 2011 Supply Market Report). True, but cherry-picked. Look at Figure 1.3. Wholesale cost of gas energy has fluctuated over the last 5 years, but no strong trend. Also an irrelevant distraction, as the question pertains to subsidisation of *electricity* cost. Gas price is no more relevant to that, than the cost of petrol, or food.

Here's OFGEM's calculation:

Environmental costs
The government has put a number of environmental programmes in place. These give energy companies targets for reducing carbon emissions. These are not itemised levies on your bill, but currently amount to around £87 on an annual bill. They do impact on the price suppliers charge you for your electricity and gas. However, some of these programmes will actually help save you money on your bill.
These programmes (which are administered by Ofgem) are:

Carbon Emissions Reduction Target: The Department for Energy and Climate Change estimates that the cost of this programme this year is £26 per fuel, i.e. if you are a user of gas and electricity, £52 of your combined bill goes towards paying for this programme.

Community Energy Saving Programme: Ofgem estimates that the cost of this programme this year is
around £1.00 per fuel.

The Renewables Obligation: Ofgem’s estimate is that the cost of this scheme this year is £21 out of your electricity bill (there is no impact on your gas bill for this programme).

Feed-in-Tariffs: Ofgem’s estimate is that the cost of this programme is less than £1 out of your electricity bill (there is no impact on your gas bill for this programme).

I note that OFGEM also seems to be computing costs *on your bill* and not the indirect costs one pays for corporate/industrial charges.

Nov 1, 2012 at 12:55 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

TerryS

"ZERO ENERGY LIMITED"

That sounds apposite!

How does Mr Vince attend all those meetings, I wonder?

Nov 1, 2012 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

I should note that whether one obtains £15.15 per household per year for ROCs (as ecotricity do) or £21 (OFGEM), it's only because renewables represent a small fraction of the electricity generation. At the 2010-11 rate of £51.34 per ROC, and 1.073 ROCs per MWh, the OFGEM standard household usage of 4 MWh/year would result in an extra £220/year if all electricity generators were granted ROCs at the current rates. [And that doesn't count one's indirect payments via increased prices for goods & services due to inflated energy prices.]

Nov 1, 2012 at 1:31 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Last year onshore wind generated circa 10 million MWh at 1 ROC/MWh. If we assume that each ROC is worth about £30 and there are roughly 60 million consumers in the UK, then that is £5 per consumer.

Nov 1, 2012 at 1:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterJH

HaroldW, strange that the Ofgem numbers do not add up. I make it £76, or £54 if we ignore the gas part (as you wanted above).

Nov 1, 2012 at 2:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

JH -
Ecotricity claim onshore wind costs £5 per household per year, not per consumer. They give their rationale for that figure at here.

Nov 1, 2012 at 2:04 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

BitBucket -
Well spotted! I hadn't noticed the discrepancy, because I was focused on comparing with Ecotricity's figures. I wonder where the missing £11 comes from? [OFGEM give £87 as the annual bill but the listed items total to £76.]

Nov 1, 2012 at 2:10 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

It would be an interesting exercise to establish what the working capital is of each of those companies of which Dale Vince is CEO....
I would just like to add that I am CEO of EVERY COMPANY NAME THAT DALE VINCE HASN'T THOUGHT OF LIMITED....
sarc/off

Nov 1, 2012 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Dale Vince was also on the food programme on Radio 4 apparently. He is a vegetarian and has banned all meat products at his football club. His little footballers all love vegetarian food and would never dream of eating meat......

How are they doing in league tables?

[Never ask a question unless you know the answer. I am sure someone will now come along and tell me they're top of the league and it'll be ya-boo-sucks to me.]

Nov 1, 2012 at 3:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy

That's around 80 companies. Which makes a maximum of around 3 days he can work for each company per year.

I wonder how much each company pays him for 3 days work.....?

Nov 1, 2012 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterDodgy Geezer

Grumpy
Perhaps you should have taken your own advice;:
6 Forest Green Rovers 16 8 3 5 26 17 9 27
There are 24 in the Blue Square Premier and that is their position as at 27/10. All the teams I take an interest in are doing worse than that!
More to the point what sort of a person buys a football club and then imposes his own personal prejudices on it? It's laughable.

Nov 1, 2012 at 3:56 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhchSVIamkI

Jump to about 9 Minutes 30 Hes got a snotty nose and he cant do it because hes hurt his wrist.

Nov 1, 2012 at 6:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Dale Vince has got an Electric Sports car called a Nemesis.

Claims a top speed of 170 MPH
150 Mile average range

Claims it takes 2 Hours to recharge it on its own 3 phase Charger or 9 Hours on its 240 Volt household mains Charger

So how many Grams of CO2 does 9 Nine hours per 150 miles at say 8 amps create as oppose to say 40 Litre Petrol Tank driving a V8 or V12 Turbo Charged Engine.

I love Clarkson and Topgear but i am no Petrol Head .But could someone work that out.

Nov 1, 2012 at 6:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Dale Vince is worth an alleged £90 million and has an OBE, despite never having sold anything to anyone for an unsubsidised market price. He was also on a government body designed to reduce red tape and encourage entrepreneurialism, even though he is clearly a subsidy farmer rather than an entrepreneur. I emailed him once to ask for a copy of Ecotricity's accounts (couldn't be arsed to look them up at Companies House and thought it would be an interesting test), but got no response.
Given that he has neither experience nor qualifications in banking, it is extraordinary that he is permitted by the regulators to be a director of several banks, in addition to all the other onerous jobs he has. Surely the PRA or whatever it is called now can see that it is impossible for him to discharge his Companies Act responsibilities.
My pound says that if Cameron ever listens to Osborne and removes the subsidy trough the whole lot will go pop and Vince will walk away with a load of dividends that he has a questionable right to.

Nov 1, 2012 at 8:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

UK population is 60 million. So if subsidies are 300 million or less, he is right.
If it is higher, than he means 5 pounds per year per person per windmill.

Nov 1, 2012 at 8:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeN

Dale Vince was also interviewed on the PM programme at 5pm last night by Eddie Mair. If I could be arsed I'd be writing a complaint to the Beeb about it.

Any other industry is given hell by BBC interviewers. The wind industry, time and time again, gets an easy pass. You could hear Eddie Mair's tongue was down on the floor throughout the 'interview' (clearly prepared questions scripted for the benefit of Mr Vince).

Among the various pearls, Dale Vince made an outrageously false statement at the very end which as usual went unchallenged.

He said that communities were already heavily involved in planning decisions regarding wind, unlike other forms of energies.

What he forgot to mention was that wind plants above a certain size go directly to the Scottish Government (and I expect to Westminster) and communities have no say about that. Moreover, most refusals go to appeal and non-elected Reporters end up deciding, in most cases going against local opinion.

So, yet another patent lie that the BBC did not pick up. So much for their commitment to facts...

Nov 1, 2012 at 8:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndy

I understand he feeds his team 'vegetarian food', maybe recycling the grass clippings from the pitch?

Herewith a Chestertonian ditty to celebrate Mr Vince's progressive views:

Nebuchadnezzar, the King of the Jews,
Suffered from new and original views,
He crawled on his hands and knees it's said,
With grass in his mouth and a crown on his head,
With a wowtyiddly, etc.

Those in traditional paths that trod,
Thought the thing was a curse from God;
But a Pioneer men always abuse,
Like Nebuchadnezzar the King of the Jews.

Black Lord Foulon the Frenchmen slew,
Thought it a Futurist thing to do;
He offered them grass instead of bread,
So they stuffed him with grass when they cut off his head.
With a wowtyiddly, etc.

For the pride of his soul he perished then,
But of course it is always of Pride that men
A Man in Advance of his Age accuse
Like Nebuchadnezzar the King of the Jews.

Simeon Scudder of Styx, in Maine,
Thought of the thing and was at it again;
He gave good grass and water in pails
To a thousand Irishmen hammering rails,
With a wowtyiddly, etc.

Appetites differ, and tied to a stake,
He was tarred and feathered for Conscience Sake;
But stoning the prophets is ancient news,
Like Nebuchadnezzar the King of the Jews.

Nov 1, 2012 at 10:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhilip Foster

A bit more research shows that he claims not to pay himself dividends. In which case where did he get the money to set up all these other companies, and who paid for his ridiculous car?

Nov 1, 2012 at 10:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

He wasn't lying, most local communities are involved with wind farm planning applications, but not as he was implying..

Nov 1, 2012 at 10:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Tolson

Ofgem say: http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Media/FactSheets/Documents1/household-bills.pdf

Average electricity bill is £470 of which 10% is direct eco-charges, so £47.
Average gas bill is £704 of which 4% is eco-charges, so, £28.16.
Total £75.16. Plus indirect costs.

Nov 2, 2012 at 12:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterNullius in Verba

Thanks, P. Foster, that is gold!

In my experience, people who are involved in this many companies are very crooked, very rich, or both.

Nov 2, 2012 at 5:13 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohanna

Dale Vince made this cryptic comment in the Guardian too


Dale Vince, founder of the green energy company Ecotricity, said: "It is a disaster for investors." Onshore wind was one of the cheapest forms of energy, adding only about £5 to household bills, while fossil fuels added about £120, he added.

Nov 2, 2012 at 1:35 PM | Registered CommenterAndy Scrase

Would you buy an Ecobond from this man?

http://www.worldwiseinvestor.com/news/article/176/Ecotricity-wins---but-do-investors

Nov 2, 2012 at 2:43 PM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

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