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« UK energy prices unaffordable by 2015 | Main | Tim Osborn responds to the Yamal furore »

That's telling him

This just in from the Telegraph:

Peter Atherton, Citigroup’s head of utilities research, said the SNP’s radical renewable power targets require up to £7 billion of investment a year but the figure at the moment is only £750 million.

The industry expert, who advises the bank's clients where to invest their money, said utility share prices are “dire” and green energy manufacturers have proved a “terrible, catastrophic investment” in recent years.

It is “borderline fantasy” that this difference can be made good because banks and international investors do not think green energy schemes provide reliable returns, he said.

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Reader Comments (56)

Andrew Buglass, the head of energy structured finance at RBS, said there were 50 banks that funded renewable energy projects before the financial crash but this has now fallen to 20 at most.

He said the bank has a £50 million fund for small renewable schemes but only for “proven” technologies.

Proven wind turbines were a catastrophe and Proven Energy went bust, leaving many people with a scrap heap and a financial loss.

May 31, 2012 at 8:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The SNP's policies amount to wind and hot air, not necessarily in that order.

May 31, 2012 at 9:03 AM | Unregistered CommenterMostlyHarmless

"Mr Atherton’s evidence to Holyrood’s economy, energy and tourism committee infuriated SNP MSPs"

If you have 1 hour 50 minutes or so, the video of the session is on this link.

May 31, 2012 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

Renewables and Green jobs are part of the SNP's independence battle-cry, so they will not easily give them up. The energy policy espoused by the SNP is even more suicidal then the Westminster one.

Lets hope sanity returns soon before our economy implodes and we double the number of people in fuel poverty.

May 31, 2012 at 9:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton

"Head of Utilities Reseach" for a large bank? What would they know?

The sociology graduates at the Guardian tell us the real present and future success story of these renewables in a daily continuous narrative.

May 31, 2012 at 9:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

They are in denial. But will be obliged to retreat. Westminster is still talking green, but backing towards the door. The times they are a changing.

May 31, 2012 at 9:16 AM | Unregistered Commenterfenbeagle

It's not all bad news, however. This from the end of the report:

'Maitland Mackie, the ice cream tycoon, insisted that wind power is economic but MSPs had to persuade financiers to invest in the sector.

He also disclosed he had named three turbines at his Aberdeenshire company after three of his ex-girlfriends, Margaret, Mirabel and Matilda.'

You see, if you are rich enough, you can have your own personalised turbines. Makes it all worthwhile.

May 31, 2012 at 9:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

Maitland has called large windmills "big jobbies" and small windmills "little jobbies".

Is anyone here old enough to remember Billy Connelly and the jobby wheeker?

May 31, 2012 at 9:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrownedoff

"Mackie, the ice cream tycoon"

Not buying any more of theirs, then.

May 31, 2012 at 9:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

"Mackie, the ice cream tycoon"

Does that imply that his ideas are flakey and likely to melt in the glare of reality?

May 31, 2012 at 9:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterIan E

The "Times" had an 8 page insert yesterday extolling the benefits of offshore wind energy.
Apparently supported by "Green Giraffe"

Green Giraffe Energy Bankers (GGEB) is a specialist advisory boutique focused on the renewable energy sector - and in particular offshore wind - launched in 2010 by experienced finance specialists
Non recourse debt structuring, project equity advisory, buy-side and sell side advisory, project contracting support, market intelligence
18 professionals with offices in Paris (France), Utrecht (Netherlands) and, since September 2011, London (UK)
Officers with a long track record of closing deals in the renewable energy sector - in past capacities and now with GGEB
Our ambition is to provide high quality, specialised advisory services to a select group of clients
Focus on projects where we can add real value
Addition of sector-specific advisory (such as project contracting services for offshore wind) to traditional debt or equity advisory services

I wonder how much this propaganda extravaganza cost (us)?

May 31, 2012 at 9:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

I would have thought global warming would be good for Mackie

May 31, 2012 at 9:43 AM | Registered Commentermangochutney

spinning the numbers:

30 May: Reuters: Jeff Coelho: UPDATE 2-Global carbon market value rises to record $176 bln
Editing by Jason Neely and Jane Baird
A record number of emissions products were traded in 2011, even though prices of EU carbon permits and international offsets plumbed new depths well below $10 a tonne late in the year, the bank said in its annual report on carbon markets.
Worldwide emissions trading last year rose 17 percent in volume to 10.3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, with permits in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) accounting for more than three quarters of the total…
The rise in volume lifted the value of the EU market to $148 billion from a revised $134 billion in 2010, even though average EU carbon prices fell 4 percent year on year to $18.80 a tonne.
Carbon markets were not immune to recent global economic volatility from the Arab Spring, Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster and the euro zone debt crisis, the World Bank report said.
“A considerable portion of the trades is primarily motivated by hedging, portfolio adjustments, profit-taking and arbitrage,” it said.
But if carbon prices continue to remain below $10 a tonne, there will be little incentive for companies and governments to invest in low-carbon projects, a bank official said…
Other national and regional carbon schemes showed mixed results. New Zealand’s carbon market value tripled to $351 million, while the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in North America nearly halved to $249 million, the bank said…
Secondary trading volumes for international offsets regulated by the United Nations also soared in 2011, rising 43 percent year on year to 1.8 billion units valued at $23 billion.
The main reason for this was a rise in demand for U.N.-backed emissions offsets, because a certain number of the credits can be used for compliance in markets such as the EU ETS…
The World Bank suggested recent and emerging cap-and-trade schemes in Australia, California, Mexico, South Korea and Quebec could contribute to future growth in overall carbon trading…

it is beyond ridiculous:

30 May: Reuters: EU carbon emissions rise, end multi-year decline
Editing by Jason Neely and Alison Birrane
Greenhouse gases from the European Union rose more than 2 percent in 2010 when a cold winter and a rebound in many economies drove up energy use, breaking a multi-year pattern of emissions declines.
***The year-on-year rise in the official EU data released on Wednesday was slowed by emissions declines in struggling Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain…
International Energy Agency Chief Economist Fatih Birol said it would be a surprise to him if emissions did not continue to grow, chiefly because of the impact of a collapsed carbon price…
To stimulate low carbon energy, the IEA has said a price of $50 a metric ton (1.1023 tons) is needed. That compares with current prices of less than 7 euros ($8.78) a metric ton on the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
Although gas use rose in 2010 because of lower prices, Birol said that in 2011 cheap carbon pushed up coal use in Europe by 6 percent, while natural gas declined by more than 10 percent…
Among the greenhouse gases reported to the United Nations, carbon dioxide accounted for 82.4 percent of emissions.
Industry emissions of hydroflourocarbons (1.9 percent), which are extremely potent greenhouse gases, continued a rising trend identified since 1990, as air conditioning and refrigeration demand grew…

***some great examples to follow?

May 31, 2012 at 9:49 AM | Unregistered Commenterpat

@ James P. The cartons of Mackies ice cream have pictures of wind tubines on them. The man is a wee bit unhinged. The ice cream is nothing special either. I make better ice cream at home.

May 31, 2012 at 9:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Crawford

I gave up buying Mackie's ice cream several years ago.

May 31, 2012 at 10:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

He said no one knows what fossil fuel prices will be in the middle of the next decade and it is not inevitable they will increase, adding there are numerous examples of people wrongly predicting this over the last 40 years.

Exactly what I always bang on about. To know what atmospheric CO2 levels will be in 100 years' time, you need to know what emissions will be over the next 100 years. To know what emissions will be, you need to know what the sources of energy will be. To know what the sources of energy will be, you need to know price. And to know price, you need to know what global population and average technology levels will be, 100 years into the future.

As Mr. Atherton says, nobody knows what fossil fuel prices will be in the middle of the next decade never mind 10 decades' time. I'd go further (probably so would he) and assert that nobody knows what these prices will be in the middle of next year, next month or next week.

Anyone who thinks the science is settled must believe otherwise. They must believe you can predict the price of energy weeks, months, years, decades and centuries into the future - and indeed that someone already has done so.

They thus have a glorious opportunity to enrich themselves by encashing their entire personal net worth, betting on energy futures accordingly, and collecting their enormous winnings off all those mugs who stupidly think you can't predict the future of oil (or coal, or power, or gas) prices.

Instead, they seem anxious to bet someone else's money. Or in this the case, the whole Scottish "economy" (actually a spending department of English government, but we'll let that pass). I wonder why?

May 31, 2012 at 10:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

I don't get it. Wouldn't cold (or cool if you prefer) and damp Scotland enjoy a little warming? Looks like a lot of the more rational Scots migrated to Canada in the 19th century.

May 31, 2012 at 10:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

It's a very well known fact in manufacturing that if you can spread costs over more items you can make money through increased volume. Thus, for Greens, anything that costs 100 Euros but can only be sold for 20 Euros will make money if enough of them are sold. Simple economics. Read the Brussels plans. Simple. Worked every time in the former USSR.

May 31, 2012 at 10:41 AM | Unregistered Commentercedarhill

Worry not all you Jocks

2014 brings you the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn..the only significant battle in which the Scots beat the English.

With Wee Eck and his SNP in charge, we can confidently expect enough hot air to be generated over this event to power most of Scotland for at least a decade.

May 31, 2012 at 10:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Who's a ruddy wee Scot, then, eh? I seem to hear the clinking of pub glassware in the background here. Bunch of Good-time Charlies, or Geordies, you lot, I wager.

May 31, 2012 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Dale Huffman

Jack Savage (May 31, 2012 at 9:10 AM)

The sociology graduates at the Guardian tell us the real present and future success story of these renewables.
If only they were sociology graduates. They might get out more and meet people. The guy who does the factual stuff at Guardian Environment has a music degree. The environment editor is usually to be found on a plane to Rio, pretending to be inteviewing the natives in East Africa.

May 31, 2012 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

Spain recently stopped paying the subsidies for wind and solar due to lack of funds. The Green industry are now in dire problems which only goes to prove that subsidies are not good for any industry and certainly not one that purports to be sustainable.

May 31, 2012 at 11:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

Allegedly, many relatives of MSPs are directors of Scottish Renewables' Companies......

May 31, 2012 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered Commenterspartacusisfree

May 31, 2012 at 9:49 AM | pat

the IEA has said a price of $50 a metric ton (1.1023 tons)

A metric ton, at 2205 lbs, is 0.984375 tons. Why am I not surprised that an international agency can't even convert units. They haven't even inverted the conversion, they have produced a random number, 1.1023 tons is 1,119.797 kg.

Perhaps I should buy carbon credits in tons and sell them straight back to the IEA in metric tons.

May 31, 2012 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

From the link:

Maitland Mackie, the ice cream tycoon, insisted that wind power is economic but MSPs had to persuade financiers to invest in the sector.
He also disclosed he had named three turbines at his Aberdeenshire company after three of his ex-girlfriends, Margaret, Mirabel and Matilda.

Reminiscent of Dien Bien Phu, where the outposts were said to have been named after the mistresses of the French commander Colonel Castries.
That didn't turn out too well either.

May 31, 2012 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid C

You all seem to be missing the point, Scotland cannot stand on it's own 2 feet unless they cull 75% of the population, so you make heating unaffordable to 75% of the population and wait for a good cold winter.

A free Scotland with low house prices, easy.

May 31, 2012 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterShevva

If the SNP _do_ get independance (and I don't think they will) and commit the country to renewables then history is condemned to repeat itself.......

We could be back in the UK within 5 years.

May 31, 2012 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial

"He also disclosed he had named three turbines at his Aberdeenshire company after three of his ex-girlfriends, Margaret, Mirabel and Matilda."

One can only hope he won't abandon Margeret, Mirabel and Matilda for the second time. If he is faithful this time round, the ladies can look forward to a long life of expensive maintenance. :D

May 31, 2012 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

As long as some of the money ends up in political slush funds there will be debacles like this and politicians to ram them through.

May 31, 2012 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterdfbaskwill

Doesn't Mrs Mackie rate a mention, or didn't he ever make it as far as the altar?

May 31, 2012 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

{snip] Wind power produces intermittent electricity, which has no market value.

May 31, 2012 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby


'We could be back in the UK within 5 years'

It takes two to tango.

Why do you assume that you'd be wanted? England, Wales and Northern Ireland would rub along very nicely without you guys. There would be much less whingeing. The GDP per head would rise. The average standard of football in this country would rise considerably.

And - surely the clincher - Wee Eck, Alastair Darling and Gordon f...g Brown would be permanently repatriated behind Hadrian's Wall.

Why on earth should we English want to reverse so many desirable outcomes?

May 31, 2012 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

This attempt to become a power-generating power reminds me of that infamous Scottish financial disaster, the Darien Scheme, in which something like 20% of the entire wealth of Scotland was squandered, all based on delusions and wishful thinking.

That was a dreadful social disaster as well, as 2,000 people died. It also made Scotland dependent on England, leading to the 1707 Acts of Union, where the Scottish Pound was given the fixed value of a shilling. (5p in today's money).


For this retelling, see also RBS borrowing from the ECB

May 31, 2012 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith Macdonald


Comparing safety records between the UK nuclear industry and the UK wind industry over the last 10 years shows a stark difference in favour of the nuclear industry.
If the wind generation industry was set such high safety standards it would be even more expensive.

May 31, 2012 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterConfusedPhoton


Perhaps the answer is for consumers to be given the choice of continuously available electricity at the price we used to get it, or wind’n’solar, as available, at three times the price? [snip]

May 31, 2012 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

"Why on earth should we English want to reverse so many desirable outcomes?"

We (well they, I'm not a native) could withold the porridge and haggis!

I'm pretty confident the SNP won't get their way though. Many people voted SNP as a protest against Labour, and while they're doing a reasonable job of running the place as things stand polls suggest most people don't want independance, by a long shot.

Sure without Salmond there's no one else capable enough to even get they a majority in the sham parliament.


May 31, 2012 at 1:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial

Troll editing has been implemented. PDNFTT.

May 31, 2012 at 1:35 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

More amusing unintended consequences of greenery this morning:

government officials have begun private discussions with the motoring industry and drivers’ groups about an overhaul of the Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) rules.

The talks come as ministers try to prevent a fall in tax revenues as more motorists choose smaller, cleaner cars that incur a lower rate of duty.

So "greener" vehicles are cheaper, so people opt out of higher tax by buying them, so tax take falls, so the tax on green vehicles of course has to go up. Net outcome, zero. That is, you can't lower your tax bill by changing your behaviour. The tax bill must be paid and any old pretext will do.

When / if carbon taxes are abolished, they will merely be succeeded by substitute taxes of similar magnitude. The gubmint will have accustomed itself to spending all the money, so even if the catastrophism goes away, the taxes won't.

May 31, 2012 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka

Billy Liar, somebody is confusing long tons (2240lbs) with short tons (2000lbs). A metric tonne is 1.1023 short tons.

May 31, 2012 at 1:53 PM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

Nial, I think that "independance" should be spelled "independence". In any event a recent poll has indicated exactly the point made by Nial, namely that many SNP voters supported SNP at recent Holyrood elections because of the poor show delivered by particularly Labour and the Lib Democrats and not for independence.
Part of the problem is that the best politicians from the national parties seek elections to Westminster.
I noted that a comment above put Alistair Darling in the same category of unwanted Scots as Gordon Brown and Alec Salmond. I think that is unfair to AD. He did a good job in difficult circumstances as Chancellor standing up to Gordon Brown and has now agreed to lead the campaign against independence for Scotland. He is one of a (too) small group of reasonably sensible politicians.

May 31, 2012 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Peter

Go on, then Alex - pull the plug, and sail off in an independent Scotland.
Just 'afore ye go', we'll just make sure there's no electrical connection to us back here in Blighty, because with your daft 'renewables' policy you'll be in the cold and dark for most of the time....

Oh - and re Peter Atherton's comment that green renewable companies have been a 'terrible, catastrophic investment' - all of us out here in Reality land have known that for years - but don't let that stop any nice Scots with money to throw away...

May 31, 2012 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

If Scotland does become an independent green nirvana will we see all of the English warmists queuing at the door to get in?

Hmmm? I doubt it. Probably cost too much for a kick off, eh?

May 31, 2012 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

@May 31, 2012 at 12:58 PM | Latimer Alder

Because not all Scots are like Gordon f*****g Brown. My mums the best judge of char. I know and her best mates scottish, she always gives me twenty quid on my birthday. Always assume the scots are mardy(?) teenagers and you'll do right.

May 31, 2012 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterShevva

"If Scotland does become an independent green nirvana will we see all of the English warmists queuing at the door to get in? Hmmm? I doubt it. Probably cost too much for a kick off, eh?"

You'll be able to get no problem, Just convert your currency at the border. £1 (English) = 5p (Scottish)

May 31, 2012 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith Macdonald

"Mackie, the ice cream tycoon" - I thought they were called Ice Cream Sheiks.

May 31, 2012 at 2:22 PM | Unregistered Commentersteveta

Keith McD: if history is any guide, you have your exchange rate the wrong way round. Don't forget where RBS and HBOS were based.....the S is a clue....and that if Sir Victor Blank had resisted Gordon F Brown's entreaties to buy HBOS, the hole in the public finances would have been at least £10B bigger.

May 31, 2012 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

@ David S - "if history is any guide, you have your exchange rate the wrong way round. "

You are correct, see my earlier post at 1:04 PM"...1707 Acts of Union, where the Scottish Pound was given the fixed value of a shilling. (5p in today's money)."

Obviously attempts at jokes about Scots and money are doomed. We're all doomed, but that's another story ;-)

May 31, 2012 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith Macdonald

Another reason we won't see English - or any other nationality - warmists flocking to enjoy an independent and gloriously green Scotland is because it's too bloody cold. (Well, most of the time. It was nice last week for a couple of days.)

May 31, 2012 at 2:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh


'I thought they were called Ice Cream Sheiks'

Don't forget that these are the Scottish variety: You need to try

'The Irn Bru flavoured Deep Fried Ice Cream Sheiks with a Wee Mars Bar sticking out the top. Washed down with a bottle of Buckie Wine'

A true Govan delicacy.

May 31, 2012 at 3:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterRab C Nesbitt

May 31, 2012 at 1:53 PM | Jonathan Jones

Only the Americans could dream up 'short tons'!

May 31, 2012 at 5:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

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