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Renewables "most expensive policy disaster in modern British history"

The Centre for Policy Studies has been taking a look at Britain's energy policies and has concluded that they're not actually very good.

In fact, they are a disaster.

The true cost of wind farms and other green power projects is far higher than ministers have admitted, a new Centre for Policy Studies report claims, claiming renewable energy will be "the most expensive policy disaster in modern British history".

This is not news to BH readers, but it never hurts to reiterate these things.

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Reader Comments (60)

Every single one of our MSPs voted for this damned idiotic policy despite the fact the key figure of supposed "economic harm" was patently wrong in the briefing notes given to parliamentarians.

In other words, not a single one of the numpties looked into this issue at all because if they had they would quickly have spotted this.

They are the most despicable bunch of people ALL OF THEM

Mar 18, 2015 at 8:58 AM | Registered CommenterMikeHaseler

Interesting just done this research as my alter ego.

Using the 2015 wind generation data from gridwatch, and the installed base from renewableuk wind achieved greater than 50% for 3% of 2015, and less than 10% for 12% of the time. More telling though is the fact that the French and Dutch interconnectors supplied more power than the entire UK wind fleet for 33% of the time, that’s 1 day in 3. Note well that the French have hinted that the power will be going to Germany rather than the UK in the next few years, that’s assuming they have any spare when they switch from nuclear to wind.

Mar 18, 2015 at 9:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Unfortunately we all know that this study will have absolutely no effect on the thinking of the present energy secretary, or his minions. This also goes for leaders of all three main parties. CAGW fanaticism is now part of the fabric of mainstream politics. Bear in mind, the Royal Society assists in maintaining CAGW as the official view of the scientific establishment.

Mar 18, 2015 at 9:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Stroud

So what is the currently most expensive policy disaster then?

Mar 18, 2015 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

It is not only a disaster but it will cause us far more long term damage to our economy than any supposed global warming!

We have these wonderful climate "scientists" and the rather stupid politicians who believed them, to thank!

Mar 18, 2015 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

...So what is the currently most expensive policy disaster then?...

Well.... appeasing Hitler cost us the Empire, and around 60m deaths around the world...

Mar 18, 2015 at 9:40 AM | Unregistered Commenterdodgy geezer

Whilst I agree with their characterisation of our present energy policy, a quick glance at the Centre for Policy Studies's entry in Wikipedia shows that it would be inconceivable for the Centre to have come out with a report that said anything different.
Where ( apart from here, of course!) can one look for true objectivity on the subject? Every word of this report may be the gospel truth but it will be automatically discounted by the true believers because of its source.
The tragic dishonesty of the Green movement that has brought this madness on us is that they will close their ears to this report and others and fail properly to investigate themselves because they KNOW it represents a "disaster" to most ordinary thinking people but they do not SEE it as one.
Given Ed Davey's most recent pronouncements we are not due for a change any time soon.

Mar 18, 2015 at 9:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

I predicted this in November 2001 to a FoE group which waylaid me as I was heading to the HoC to listen to a speech on environment by Lord David Sainsbury, History and Psychology graduate I recall.

He was NuLaber's Science Minister...........:0

There is a fix but it'll bankrupt well over half the wind farms whilst saving real CO2 emissions instead of increasing them.

Mar 18, 2015 at 9:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterNCC 1701E


See The Blunders of our Governments for some plausible candidates.

Mar 18, 2015 at 9:43 AM | Registered CommenterJonathan Jones

I have been monitoring UK National Grid Status daily at random times since the 22nd January 2015.

The results show: Coal 34.75% - CCGT 28.34% - Nuclear 18.18% - Wind 7.38% - French Inter-connector 4.08% - Biomass 2.36% - Dutch Inter-connector 2.20% - Hydro 1.61% and Pumped 0.98%

The period being monitored has been quite windy, but with high pressure over the UK in the last 3 days Wind has produced on average only 1.31%. This at a time the UK daily average temperature has been below the 10 year average.

Mar 18, 2015 at 9:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterNeilC

Unfortunately there is nothing in the report that we didn't already know. But politicians do not understand the electricity system and they do not seem to understand the "law of unintended consequences". It is not the politicians who will pay the price for their disastrous policies - it is the the ordinary citizens and the economy that pays the price for Government incompetence.

Mar 18, 2015 at 9:52 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

But what about all the "Green Jobs" created, by charging people inflated amounts, to employ people, to tell us all, what a wonderful and noble thing it is, to pay inflated amounts. You might think it was just a scam, if it wasn't for all the pointless employment, for no discernable benefit.

Couldn't we have some form of separation of food waste, so that earthworms and micro organisms could choose a vegan diet?

Mar 18, 2015 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

For the insiders who have profited from it, this wasting has been most lucrative.
The US pelletized wood industry believes that the UK's policy is wonderful, for instance.
The big Green wind investors think the wind power part of the policy is fantastic.
Just for starters.

Mar 18, 2015 at 9:58 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

There are two themes here. The first is the development of alternative sources of energy, which is of itself a very good thing . The second, the driving of a lunatic subsidy programme largely engineered by a later criminal, which gave these schemes such a large return for little gain. From 2017, the ROC price will be subject to an auction by these schemes and will lead to many of the least profitable simply not seeing light of day. The community benefit of these schemes which amount to many millions also has a beneficial result for some post industrial vommunities.

Mar 18, 2015 at 10:26 AM | Unregistered Commentertrefjon

I haven't read the report yet but a quick skim I can't find much on the knock on costs from the impact on business.

Mar 18, 2015 at 10:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

GC: Green jobs = broken window fallacy! Reduce productivity and create "green jobs". They are all PPEs, but the E bit passed them by.

Mar 18, 2015 at 10:32 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Just one to a long, long list of great ideas of a totalitarian central government's that unwittingly, and with great intentions and fanfare, set out to erradicate itself. RIP.

Mar 18, 2015 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered Commentercedarhill

Article emailed to Ed Davey (only one of many)

Mar 18, 2015 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterBLACK PEARL

Renewables "most expensive policy disaster in modern British history" - said no Trougher ever.

Mar 18, 2015 at 11:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Anyway us tax paying plebs are stuffed, as the wind & solar stuff already installed all have 20 year binding contracts to run

Mar 18, 2015 at 11:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterBLACK PEARL

Here is the reason why it is anything but a disaster. Please notice that a trillion is 1000 billion which is makes the wind farm disaster a triviality. No, it isn't a conspiracy. It's totally public.

London's financial centre is the main home to the incipient global carbon market. Prof Heal believes that in a decade, the trade could be worth trillions of dollars.

Mar 18, 2015 at 11:30 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Not only has this policy led to a doubling in the cost of electricity to the detriment to both the consumer and to industry (with knock on implications on employment, tax revenues, benefit bill, and balance of trade), it has not resulted in any significant reduction in CO2 emissions.

Due to the intermitent nature of renewablles and the need for back up, there is no net reduction in CO2.

Whilst windfarms may on average produce about 25% of their nameplate capacity, this does not lead to a reduction of 25% of CO2 emissions. The required back up has to run in inefficient ramp up/ramp down mode such that although on average it is producing 75% of the UK energy demand, it produces almost as much CO2 as if it had been producing 100% of UK energy requirements. This is similar to urban fuel consumption for a car which is significantly more than the steady state motorway driving fuel consumption.

Any 14 year old schol child ought to have been able to foresee that there would be no net CO2 savings because of the need for back up, and because conventional fossil fuel generation would be run in an inefficient ramp up.ramp down mode. If windfarms (and the like) cannot achieve a meaningful reduction in CO2 what is their point?

All they are is an expensive form of energy generator, which achieves nno useful purpose (no reduction in CO2, and are a blight on the landscape).

The locked in problems have yet to be felt as we head towards 2020 wityh ever reduced conventional generation, and a really cold winter with a blocking high sitting over the UK for say 3 to 6 weeks (much like the winter of 2010). Then the UK citizen will see what this daft policy has caused.

PS. I dio not consider that there is any cogent evidence that supports the view that CO2 emissions are a problem, but I am just observing that even if one is a signed up supporter of CO2 is evil and must be curbed, windfarms do not achieve that goal and that would have been obvious to even a 14 year school child. That is the real political scandal. the policy was always incapable of delivering on its raison d'etre, ie., it was never capable of redducing CO2 emissions and even a school child would see that.

Mar 18, 2015 at 11:31 AM | Unregistered Commenterrichard verney

There is one reason the Guardian has promoted global warming. Massive advertising revenue from Shell and HSBC carbon trading.

Captured Guardian

Update 15 February – it has just been stated by HSBC in the Treasury Select Committee meeting today that the Guardian is the biggest recipient of digital advertising revenue from HSBC.

I have been saying for some time that the reason the Guardian don’t report this massive fraud is because of their financial connections with HSBC. The Chair of the Scott Trust, owners of the Guardian is Liz Forgan. She is also a patron of charity St Giles Trust, which recently benefited from a £30m donation by HSBC. That of course may be purely coincidental.

But I have just found this in the Guardian Media Group’s financial results for the year ended 2014, which I think leaves little doubt as to why they won’t report the fraud.

Mar 18, 2015 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

I would suggest that private and public funding is the reason Green groups support AGW too because behind the scenes, they know it's a scam. This is Friends of the Earth.

Michelle Chan, a senior policy analyst in San Francisco for Friends of the Earth, isn’t convinced.

“Should we really create a new $2 trillion market when we haven’t yet finished the job of revamping and testing new financial regulation?” she asks. Chan says that, given their recent history, the banks’ ability to turn climate change into a new commodities market should be curbed.

“What we have just been woken up to in the credit crisis -- to a jarring and shocking degree -- is what happens in the real world,” she says.

Even George Soros, the billionaire hedge fund operator, says money managers would find ways to manipulate cap-and-trade markets. “The system can be gamed,” Soros, 79, remarked at a London School of Economics seminar in July. “That’s why financial types like me like it -- because there are financial opportunities.”

Masters says U.S. carbon markets should be transparent and regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Standardized derivatives contracts -- securities that can be bought and sold by anyone -- should be traded on exchanges or centrally cleared, she says. The British-born Masters, who has an economics degree from Cambridge University, took over JPMorgan’s commodities business in 2007

Mar 18, 2015 at 11:39 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Phillip Bratby, and anyone else!

Has a wind turbine scheme ever been challenged, legally, (advertising standards, fraudulent misrepresentation, bogus claims etc), over claimed output v likely output?

I am sure Chris Huhne would be happy to swear on oath that such an honesty scheme would be in nobody's best interest.

Mar 18, 2015 at 11:49 AM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Can we even call it a "policy"? Surely the precondition for a policy is to first gather and examine the facts. UK energy 'policy' seems all about avoiding the facts.

Mar 18, 2015 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Pawelek

The reason they have to keep lying about global warming and putting up useless wind farms is because big business has tens of trillions of dollars in carbon credits that are worthless without a belief in global climate catastrophe.

Carbon credits bring Lakshmi Mittal £1bn bonanza

LAKSHMI MITTAL, Britain’s richest man, stands to benefit from a £1 billion windfall from a European scheme to curb global warming.

Mar 18, 2015 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

I'm surprised that Pat Swords hasn't been on here to comment. His latest report shows how the EU pushed through the renewable energy scam (sorry, I mean policy) illegally.

Mar 18, 2015 at 12:07 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

GC: Claims have been challenged at the Advertising Standards Agency and at Public Inquiries, but to my knowledge nobody has made a legal challenge. I can't see that it would achieve anything. See comment above re Pat Swords.

Mar 18, 2015 at 12:09 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

esmiff, is there a link between those who have benefitted most from dubious financial schemes made possible by Miliband's Climate Change Act, and those who have so kindly donated money, hoping that Miliband may be Prime Minister?

Mar 18, 2015 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

"A spokesman for the Department of Energy Climate Change said: 'The figures in this report don’t add up and ignore the urgent need to cut our carbon emissions. We are making sure we can keep the lights on, cut carbon emissions and keep bills down for consumers.'"

One assertion, devoid of evidence; one ideological red/green herring; three outright lies. Your taxpayer pounds, hard at work.

Mar 18, 2015 at 12:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterOwen Morgan

The full report is here:

and the summary is here:

Mar 18, 2015 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

The only surprising development in British politics over the past 6 months or so has been the upsurge in support for the Greens in the opinion polls. Perhaps that is at least partly due to the positive coverage that almost any "green" policy gets in most of the mainstream media, with the exception of the Daily Express and, too a slightly lesser extent, the Daily Mail.

I sometimes get the feeling that the BBC, Channel 4 and much of the press are deliberately trying to build up the Green Party as an alternative to the three main Britain-wide parties in order to take attention away from the true alternative offered by UKIP. Admittedly the Green leader did come in for a lot of criticism after she was unable to explain some of her party's policies in a recent TV interview, but that interview was such a fiasco that even the pro-Green media could not ignore it.

Mar 18, 2015 at 12:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

But...... but...... but......

Wind is free....!

(What d'you mean - so is coal, oil, nuclear fuel and gas - the cost is in converting each source of energy to useful power.. Look - just SHUT UP with facts, will you..?)

Mar 18, 2015 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Phillip Bratby, thanks for the response. The reason I raise the point, is that the public, politicians, planners etc, are constantly fed figures of quoted capacity, which are then used to make comparisons or equivalent to statements, with coal fired power stations.

A car manufacturer may be able to prove that on a flat circuit, at 20mph in 5th gear, their model can achieve 110mpg. But they are not allowed to.
Credit agreements have to quote apr interest rates

Wind and solar get away with claimed maximum capacity, irrespective of likely output.

I am not asking you to justify it, but wondering if those who have campaigned against wind farms, have ever made any formal/legal challenge to the bogus/fraudulent claims made about actual outputs.

If the UK's required capacity is 100 doodlewatts, and wind capacity is currently 10 doodlewatts, the presumption is that with 10 times more windfarms, the UK's electricity needs will be met.

The DECC do not see a problem with this. How can the DECC, plus Government ministers be forced to acknowledge there is a problem? Short of forcing DECC to use electricity, only when renewable output is above 50% of renewable capacity.

Mar 18, 2015 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie


Not sure what the calculation is this time. Looking at a recent YouGov, Greens are more to be found in London and the South, and are weak in Scotland. Overwhelmingly, if they voted in 2010 (only around 60% did so) it was for Lib Dems (70%). Their support also is strongest in the 18-24 age group (the influence of our miseducation system). The bookies think they'll probably only retain Caroline Lucas and gain no other seats. Overall, I'd have guessed the main influence will be to split the anti Tory vote.

Obviously the like of Harrabin would like to see them go mainstream in 2020, but that's a different calculation.

Mar 18, 2015 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...


Doesn't DECC have a large diesel generator in the basement used to keep the lights on in Whitehall and Downing Street in emergencies?

Mar 18, 2015 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Crisis for some are often 'opportunities' for others , in this case the greens hope that an energy crisis , thank to a worthless pursuit of renewable, will create an opportunity for them to get their madder ideas forced onto a public who otherwise would never touch them . So you can see why keen on actions that likley to bring one about .

The one thing to remember about the renewable industry is that it is an 'industry ' which means it does what it take to make money and always wants to make more. the green tint makes no difference to that . So if they can use their influence to get more subsides then they will.

Mar 18, 2015 at 12:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnR

Roy, In the First Past the Post System the choice is between voting for one of four things:
-Not Labour (tactical vote)
-Not Conservative (tactical vote)

Promoting UKIP is pushing people to switch from Conservative to something else. And that something else isn't a tactical vote.
Promoting Green is pushing people to switch from Labour to something else. And that something else isn't a tactical vote.

Thus practically, in terms of the result, the promotion of the Green Party is anti-Labour and so pro-Conservative.

I like the 1st Past the Post system.
It reflects what most people really believe - that they dislike that party more than they dislike the other

Mar 18, 2015 at 12:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterMCourtney

It doesn't add up...

Of COURSE there is..!

Can't have government suffering the indignity of 'no leccy' like us plebs, what..?

Mar 18, 2015 at 12:58 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Golf Charlie

I don't know, but ..he is a little crook

Miss Thornton is thought to be a somewhat reluctant political spouse. A former child actress who starred in the television show Dramarama, she went on to Cambridge and the Bar, becoming an environmental lawyer. The pair have been together for five years, and were sharing a home in north London when, in March 2009, The Daily Telegraph disclosed her identity for the first time – reporting that she worked in the nuclear industry at a time when Mr Miliband was responsible for energy policy.

He had provided officials at the Department for Energy and Climate Change with her name, but did not publish it on the publicly available register of ministerial interests, merely reporting that his girlfriend was an “environmental lawyer.” In fact, Miss Thornton was the “preferred counsel” for E. On, which was bidding for government contracts worth more than £20 billion to build new power stations.

27 Sep 2010

Obviously a very fruitful union.

E.ON and RWE to build £20bn UK nuclear reactors

E.ON and RWE, Germany's two largest utilities companies, are set to announce the creation of a joint venture to build at least four nuclear reactors in the UK at a cost of around £20 billion, The Times has learnt.

E.ON and RWE will announce details of the venture to build at least 6 gigawatts of new generating capacity, possibly as early as today.

The capacity would be equivalent to replacing almost 10 per cent of Britain’s existing total installed power generating capacity.

The two companies are expected to propose the construction of reactors at two existing nuclear sites they already control at Wylfa, on the island of Anglesey, where RWE has been granted approval for a connection to the National Grid, and at Oldbury, beside the River Severn in Gloucestershire, where E.ON has recently obtained similar permission.

However, the companies are also expected to seek out further sites owned by the Government through the Nuclear Decommisioning Authority (NDA).

Mar 18, 2015 at 1:32 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Politics 101. The people who run the world are a lot smarter than you. They know what they are doing. Stealing your money.

Politics 102. Politicians and journalists only believe in one thing. Money.

Mar 18, 2015 at 1:35 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

UKIP, like the BNP are the playthings of MI5/Special Branch.

UKIP infiltrated by MI5 - Norman Tebbit

Mar 18, 2015 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

esmiff on Mar 18, 2015 at 1:37 PM

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since that article in 2001.

And what organisation hasn't been infiltrated? At least it wasn't Common Purpose, Moscow agents or the Green Blob.

Mar 18, 2015 at 1:59 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Robert Christopher

Very true, however this is on a different scale.

Everything about UKIP tells me they are a perpetual, slapstick comedy show, making major gaffes that even the mainstream parties wouldn't survive. It will get worse as we move toward the election.

The reason MI5 are so interested is that mass immigration is the most profitable scam of them all.

Mar 18, 2015 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

esmiff, so if Mr Cameron get his Green sympathies via Mrs C, Mr M gets a sense of putting income before politics from his other half?

Mar 18, 2015 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Emily Gosden is having a busy day reporting on renewables:

I think "tens of millions" is rather an under-estimate: the lagoon is supposed to generate 495GWh p.a. Taking the mooted £168/MWh in 2012 prices and the average day ahead price in 2014 of £42/MWh on N2EX, we're looking at a subsidy of ~£140/MWh or £70m p.a. for 35 years or £2.45bn.

Mar 18, 2015 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Golf Charlie

Mr C gets his Green sympathies from the City of London, same as every other politician in Britain. Yes, it's fashionable for his daft wife, but it's utterly irrelevant at that level.

Mar 18, 2015 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

esmiff, it is not the bedroom tax thats needs reviewing, it is the bedroom tucks.

Mar 18, 2015 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

@It doesn't add up

I recall that the province of Quebec had widespread winter power-cuts some years back and the only thing puncturing the gloom in Quebec City, according to Mark Steyn, was a very bright light blazing from the headquarters of the power company. Rather than fix the power-cuts, they ended up switching off the beacon.

Perhaps we can persuade DECC to put up a statue of Ed Davey and perform a nightly son et lumiere in his honour, just so people remember whom to thank, when the time comes.

Mar 18, 2015 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterOwen Morgan

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