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« Lew's downfall | Main | Greenbait »

Security blanket

Ed Davey has announced a further expansion of the government's renewable energy scheme, with eight new projects unveiled, blanketing the UK's waters with wind turbines. These projects are apparently so enormous that they will, on their own, produce a noticeable rise in household electricity bills of some 2%. The rise in industrial electricity prices that will result and which must also be absorbed by consumers - something like the same amount again - goes unstated.

Interestingly, the argument that renewables are cheap have gone out of the window. Instead, with Ukraine in the news on a daily basis, Davey is emphasising energy security:

Mr Davey defended the cost, arguing that these kind of low-carbon projects were essential to boost energy security and battle climate change.

“I see the climate change debate as inextricably linked with energy security. If we can reduce our dependency on imported energy, it will make us both more secure but also enable us to tackle climate change,” he said.

If we get a cold winter it's possible the lights could start going out. I wonder what Mr Davey's explanation will be then?

To provide security against the possibility of power cuts we had to destroy the grid.

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Reader Comments (73)

He's clearly a twit. But sadly an elected twit. Long live democracy!

Apr 24, 2014 at 8:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

Davey has just removed any doubt about him being totally unfit for any role that carries responsibility. He is not a clown; a clown provides amusement.
His plan is to provide energy security with an intermittent power source. Genius. The sooner the LibDems are cast back into political obscurity the better.

Apr 24, 2014 at 8:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

By the way Mr Davey, look here to see just how wonderfully secure our energy supply will be:

At the moment (0846 BST) the windmills are operating at approx. 3% of installed capacity.

Why is he unable to look at this sort of dismal performance and not be at least a little puzzled.

Apr 24, 2014 at 8:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

See also the WUWT post on stresses on the US grid. It all sounds so familiar when environmetal concerns over-ride commonsense.

The good news is that Mr Potato will be toast in a year's time. The bad news is that we will probably get somebody else who is even more clueless. That will take some doing, but we can rely on Westminster to find someone. You have to wonder what the PSA at DECC, MacKay, thinks of this. Perhaps there is a reason why he is being replaced.

Apr 24, 2014 at 9:02 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

From the Ecclesiastical Uncle, an old retired bureaucrat in a field only remotely related to climate with minimal qualifications and only half a mind.

Mr Davey: This is LibDem policy pushed into prominence it does not deserve by the party's presence in the coalition. Maybe the announcement will be the only feature of the green energy policy expansion that will actually materialize.

The Conservatives: Who does not get what? The wording looks to me like that typically uttered from opposite sides of the mouth of a politician when executing a U - turn.

Apr 24, 2014 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

An extra 4% supply adds energy security? But then if 4% extra water vapour since 1975 can cause the Jetstream to shift course then clearly these tiny amounts can have big impact. Of course if we really were to have the projected warmer Britain due to climate change that would give us back more than 4% as well. But oops I forgot - the MO changed that to a colder Britain now - difficult to keep up with their ever-changing stories: They are now 97% certain that something will change in some way or other.

Meanwhile I've been assured on this very blog that Putins gas shutoff won't affect us. His plans to recreate the Soviet empire though? Well at least we now know we are not buying the Russian nuclear power option as mystic Davey had been negotiating...

Apr 24, 2014 at 9:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Wind is currently providing less than 1% of our electricity, whereas the interconnectors to France and the Netherlands are operating at peak capacity, providing about 3GW (8%). I wonder how much cheaper imported electricity is than home-grown wind? Which is more secure, home-grown wind power or French nuclear power?

Apr 24, 2014 at 9:15 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

No matter what 'One Amp' dreams up, the genie ain't going back in the bottle!

Fracking could generate £33bn and 64,000 jobs for UK

Apr 24, 2014 at 9:18 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

It is disgraceful that this idiot is allowed to do so much damge to the UK. In the last few years we have seen prices soar and fuel poverty reach record levels.

A fuel poverty Hockey Stick! - Thank you LibDems and their Green friends!

I hope the Tories stick to not subsidising new onshore windfarms and put it in their manifesto.

As a lifelong voter for the Labour party, I will vote Tory if they do!

Apr 24, 2014 at 9:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

Davey, can talk till he's blue in the face, I don't think that the private investment bank funding for these offshore bird mincers will be forthcoming in the interim.

Potato Ed and his wet green dream fantasy, he may not have to wait too long, even though he and his party of perverts, sycophants, Stalinists/Maoists without porfolio and liars will ere long be vanished off the political map.

Marine whirlygig bird killers - until such times as Miliband is elected and then with subsidy guaranteed by the newly installed green on the outside but crimson red on the inside - it's the wind up for offshore bird mincers and onshore will be boosted. here in the Daily Mail - read and weep.

Apr 24, 2014 at 9:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

As of 09.45 this morning wind turbines are supplying 0.30Gw of the 40Gw we require or 0.75% so what energy security is that?

Apr 24, 2014 at 9:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterForester126

DECC is also (again) being economical with the truth in its press release which states:-

"Government unveils eight major new renewables projects, supporting 8,500 green jobs" [My bold]

The story in the Independent which you link to, misreports the benefit as "The new offshore wind and biomass generators will create about 8,500 new jobs" [My italic]

The press release also fails to estimate how many jobs will actually be lost, because production is shifted overseas to less-green (i.e. less stupid) countries, due to them having lower energy prices.

Apr 24, 2014 at 9:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Apologies, I omitted the link to the actual press release:-

Apr 24, 2014 at 9:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Had to be something in it for "man of the People", Red Ed. Looks like his wife stands to cash in from wind (subsidy) farms (Ed Miliband's wife will benefit from his plans to ‘embrace’ onshore wind farms if Labour gains power.
Justine Thornton is a barrister who specialises in environmental law and has helped developers in high-profile legal battles to build turbines.
Read more:

Just as Camerloon's father in law does (albeit more directly).

The whole thing stinks.

Apr 24, 2014 at 9:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Idiots running the asylum is the price to be paid for the dear leader clinging onto power by his fingernails. Well clinging onto the semblance of power that is. So don't blame the idiot in question, he's simply doing what he does so capably - undiluted idiocy. Blame his master.

Apr 24, 2014 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Reed

Phillip Bratby

Which is more secure, home-grown wind power or French nuclear power?
French nuclear is secure just as long as they have enough of it to sell. Since the socialist government depends on the support of ecologists, and they've sworn to phase out nuclear, maybe we should be nicer to Putin.
Add the fact that the big son-of-Copenhagen COP conference is being held in Paris next year, hosted by President Hollande and his ministress of Ecology, Segolène Royal, last ex-mistress-but-two and the mother of his four children, and you have the makings of a psycho drama which would make a wonderful Pachauri-style novel.

Apr 24, 2014 at 10:09 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

"Security blanket"

With a heading like that, I was expecting the explanation to be, "If we build enough offshore windmills, enemy submarines will not be able to get through the gaps."

Apr 24, 2014 at 10:14 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

I found it both revealing and predictable that the BBC report I saw failed to contain the usual "but Labour says..." rebuttal paragraph. which it routinely applies to government puff pieces as a counterweight.

Once again, the BBC acting as a PR organisation for 'Green' politics.

Apr 24, 2014 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterUncle Badger

Apr 24, 2014 at 8:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR - "He's clearly a twit"

You are too kind. Other vowels are available

Apr 24, 2014 at 10:47 AM | Unregistered Commenterfilbert cobb

There's Windmill Lane, but no actual windmills in Ed Davey's Surbiton constituency.

Just saying....

Apr 24, 2014 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

That the privately-educated Davey appears to be an idiot should not obscure the real reason for his behaviour; he represents the interests of the neo-fascist elite who infiltrated the Lib Dems from the middle 1980s.

Their aim is eugenics, to create a sort of Poujadiste UK with windmills, controlled by predominately state employed middle classes whilst herding the proles into inner cities to die in the power-cuts of the new Little Ice Age. In the background are the real fascists whose aim is to make the UK a windmill-strewn province of the EU, never again to be Airstrip One.

Such zealots cannot back down. MacKay is leaving 2 years after Davey, against advice, went for broke with diesel STOR which will make the windmill power more fossil-fuel intensive than coal. Davey is just one of our generation's quislings.

Apr 24, 2014 at 11:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterTurnedoutnice

"Security blanket"

With a heading like that, I was expecting the explanation to be, "If we build enough offshore windmills, enemy submarines will not be able to get through the gaps."
Apr 24, 2014 at 10:14 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

You mean the radar won't be ale to detect the Russian invaders. The RAF are the principal objectors to offshore windfarms for precisely that reason.

Apr 24, 2014 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Keep pushing back. Perhaps this can be the climate obsessed's bridge too far. The economics, environmental impact, energy benefit- all say don't build. The climate impact of these boondoggles is zip. The only reason this sort of brobdingnagian landscape monstrosities get built is due to the insiders making money off of them. No one really believes in wind anymore as an energy source. It is all about the money.
Good luck with the fight.

Apr 24, 2014 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Just wait till the greens get hold of this one- you'll never hear the last of it.

Apr 24, 2014 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

A lot of the costs were missed in the story, since I believe something like 30%+ is domestic and the remainder industrial, the price of everything will increase as well as the energy bills. Part of the package is "bio fuels", Drax have built plants in America to process the trees and then ship the dried material her to Drax, very expensive and the jobs are not here. If they use other "bio fuels" the cost of food goes up again. The whole thing is a scam on a huge scale and one has to ask just who is potato Ed working for, it certainly is not this Country or People, which puts a question mark overthe idiot who set him up. Neither of them should be allowed out without a carer apiece.

Apr 24, 2014 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterDerek Buxton


It was said tongue in cheek. I know the French can pull the plug at any time if, say, the Germans bid a higher price, or, if the French wanted to cause mischief when we are in short supply. There have been several occasions when both French 1GW connectors have gone down together, despite this supposed to be an incredible event for which our grid is not designed to cope.

Apr 24, 2014 at 11:57 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Brits should immigrate to Australia.

Apr 24, 2014 at 12:26 PM | Unregistered Commentercedarhill

a) Hollande will be phased out himself very soon and never trusted again. b) Putin sees 'being nice' as weakness.

Apr 24, 2014 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

If you want Green Loony policies "Vote Cameron" that the way it works ?
2010 election
- if you'd voted Milliband you'd have got Green Loony policies
- if you'd voted Cameron you got Green Loony policies
2015 election
- if you vote Milliband you will get Green Loony policies
- if vote Cameron you will get Green Loony policies ..won't we , based on his past record

..@FarleyR ..Don't give me that crap about Davey being elected
.. the way it works if greens use subterfuge to get the maddest green policies implemented.. should we just stand by and let it happen ?

Apr 24, 2014 at 12:29 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

The DECC press release is here:

The salient figures are they expect just 15TWh p.a. from these projects - under 2.3GW - for a project cost (excluding additional grid connection costs where relevant) of some £12bn. These are the first projects signed up under the new CFD mechanism, which guarantee prices indexed to CPI against a 2012 base year (a subtle point that is never mentioned in public), for a period of 15 years from first commissioning. The further guarantees offered under these CFDs are quite extraordinary - they include protections against actions of future governments:

Compensation available for material and unforeseeable changes in law that uniquely target specific
technologies, individual projects or CfD holders as a group.

Protection also covers political decisions to shut down a generator, and general changes in law that have discriminatory effects without objective justification.

Protection extends to such changes in law that limit a generator’s ability to either deliver its output or to receive appropriate payment.

Compensation will adjust strike prices to reflect 100% of operating costs, a proportion of capital costs (tapering over time) and for lost revenues, over the term of the CfD.

Protection against certain changes in network charges, relating to the costs of the balancing system (BSUoS) and
transmission losses (TLM).

Compensation in the scenario where government has directly intervened in the market and the result is that the
relevant CfD generator is curtailed involuntarily and less than a minimum level of compensation is paid.

The guaranteed prices and the mechanism of calculating the cashout market price offer massive scope to any skilful trader to abuse the market and make life extremely difficult for generators not given the protection of guaranteed prices. I suspect that this may actually be tacitly approved by DECC - if they are smart enough to understand it. The consequences will be rather like those in Germany, where the fossil fuel generators have been forced into lossmaking positions to accommodate all the solar and wind output - but also threatening their financial viability, and our power supplies.

Apr 24, 2014 at 12:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Can't someone take him to one, put the bat down..and explain to him things like "Baseload", and "Cascade Failure"?

Apr 24, 2014 at 12:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterRightwinggit

geoffchambers, Philip Bratby
Hollande is also taking an "over my dead body" stance on Le gaz de schiste although if the Bonnet rouge get hold of him he may get closer to the dead part than he'd like.

Apr 24, 2014 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

I cannot believe the cr*p which that man spouts.
Does he NEVER look at Neta/Gridwatch and observe the reality of his so-called 'reliable' energy sources - wind currently providing 0.67% of (modest) demand (just over 3% of installed capacity)..?
Does he not 'get it' that this 'carbon footprint' government could cover the whole country with wind turbines, but when there is NO WIND there is NO POWER..?
I've given up e-mailing the DECC because of the infantile responses which I get...

Apr 24, 2014 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

It doesn't add up...,

Perhaps the hope is the windmills will be Bear choppers as well as bird choppers.

That said, maybe the MoD could look into creating a radar unit disguised as a windmill and insisting one or more gets included in every offshore windfarm that is in the way of land based radar.

Apr 24, 2014 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

Some more thoughts on these projects here.

Apr 24, 2014 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Homewood

Follow the money.

Apr 24, 2014 at 12:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterBob MacInnes

Michael Fallon says we already have enough wind power 'to meet EU 2020 targets'...
Ah - so THAT'S it - 'Ignore the protests, lads - just keep building the things until we've satisfied our overlords in Brussels...'
Cat out of bag...?

Apr 24, 2014 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

As one from Oz, might I pleae inquire if the UK government has been asked to provide a clear answer to the question of the cost to the Nation, be it plus or minus, of wind and large scale solar? And if so, whether there has been an answer that can be comprehended unambiguoously?
We are about to try this exercise here again and would benefit from the experience of others, both as to what to do and what not to do and say as tactics. Thank you.
Today, the Australian Government released a White Paper on its plan to reduce GHG emissions. I''ll post details if Andrew wishes, after I've studied it. Many of us are disappointed at the Minister's apparent 100% adoption of the CSIRO and BOM Establishment stance. However, most Ministers would probably have considered this to be the correct approach, as perhaps would I in the same position of expressing the perceived majority wish of the people.

Apr 24, 2014 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

On a related matter, I wrote to the only political party that gives a damn. Here is the text of my letter:


I am writing to draw your attention to a scheme that continues to demonstrate that so-called green projects are only viable if the electricity consumer pays through the nose for insignificant supplies generated by water power. The Forest of Dean Railway hopes to be paid grossly inflated sums of money for a mere 68 Megawatts per annum, using Pico Energy for the construction at Norchard.

If the FDR were to receive only the base price for their electricity, the whole scheme would be financially non-viable. It's iniquitous!

Please contact Ben Gray, the new chairman of the FDR & tell him that feed in tariffs are a cheat's way to generate undeserved income from electricity consumers. I shall write to him & will also urge other railway enthusiasts I know, to withdraw support from the FDR, until sanity prevails.

Yours truly,

Apr 24, 2014 at 1:14 PM | Registered Commenterperry

Can't recall if I posted this here before:

Does the UK Economy Run on Energy or Hot Air?

The post / charts show virtually insignificant renewables contribution to overall energy consumption. But is also shows, energy imports crippling the balance of trade.

Greens conflate indigenous primary energy production with energy security. Indigenous gas or nuclear production provides energy security. Indigenous wind production does not.

Apr 24, 2014 at 1:19 PM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

I'm sure Mr Davey and his green advisors have a backup plan or energy storage strategy for when the wind doesn't blow...they do don't they?

Time to invest in candle futures.

Apr 24, 2014 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered Commenterclovis marcus

I've just come back from a 2 week holiday in the Philippines. I was in Davao in the South. We had rolling brown outs almost everyday something to do with a dispute about restoring coal turbines. Interestingly Davao uses hydro for some of its power and it wasn't providing full cover for the city.

Now Davao is typically 34 degrees by day with high humidity and around 20 degrees or more at night so losing power is often a nuisance. However if brownouts where to occur in the UK that's a different story, especially if it's cold. Some brownouts lasted from 8 in the morning to 5 pm (I was in Davao Orientale for a few days - it was hit by Yolanda so electricity is more sporadic )

If building more wind farms leads us down this path there's going to be a lot of pissed off people.

Apr 24, 2014 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterMicky H Corbett

Off-shore windmills - how do they affect whales, dolphins etc.?

Apr 24, 2014 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterMargaret Smith

At 2.30pm Wind output is down to a giddy 0.23GW, or 0.61%.

Aah, the energy security!

Apr 24, 2014 at 2:33 PM | Registered CommentermikemUK

It doesn't add up & Gareth

It's not so much the effect on land-based radars, the bigger problem is the effect on airborne radars in the aircraft that have to do the shooting. I'm only glad that we didn't have to contend with this nonsense when I was in the bloom of middle age defending our shores.

Apr 24, 2014 at 4:05 PM | Registered Commenterdavidchappell

Why hasn't the British government given subsidies to candle manufacturers so that we can cope better when the lights go out? - Oh, I forgot, candles would create CO2 and we can't have that! Perhaps instead of candles we should revive the proposal Jonathan Swift made in Gulliver's Travels to extract sunbeams from cucumbers. If Sir Paul Nurse and the Royal Society want to make a useful contribution to the development of policies for tackling climate change then they could re-evaluate Jonathan Swift's proposal.

Apr 24, 2014 at 4:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

You don't understand - once there is twice today's capacity the fairy dust starts working - just like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Apr 24, 2014 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

I have just had a letter in response to some very recent correspondence I have had with my MP (Conservative party) who states and I quote

"I do think that punitive and hurtful "green" taxes are not helpful"

Come election time, I will closely analyse the Conservative party manifesto. If this isn't the party line then he don't get my vote <simples>

Apr 24, 2014 at 5:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

I love the phrases "battle climate change" and "tackle climate change"...

Like any of these **bleeps** are doing anything other than sitting on their bottoms watching TV wondering what else is for dessert.


Apr 24, 2014 at 6:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

Wind still going strong - .29 GW as of 1926 BST (0.75 % of demand). Output all day has been pathetic; even for windmills.

What is it that Davey just does not understand?

Apr 24, 2014 at 7:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

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