Windfarms – We now have to pay twice to destroy our upland biodiversity.

We now have to pay twice to destroy our upland biodiversity. When will we get a sensible energy policy which protects our ecology and biodiversity – and which will guarantee our electricty supply at a reasonable price?:

Britain’s richest energy companies want homeowners to subsidise billions of pounds worth of gas-powered stations that will stand idle for most of the time.

Talks have taken place between the Government, Centrica, owner of British Gas, and other energy companies on incentives to build the power stations needed as back-ups for the wind farms now being built around the country.

It is understood 17 gas-fired plants worth about £10 billion will be needed by 2020.

Bad news: Energy Department warned lights could go out when wind dies down

The Energy Department has been warned that without this massive back-up for the new generation of heavily subsidised giant wind farms, the lights could go out when the wind dies down.

Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica, said renewables, such as large-scale wind energy, were intermittent and required back-up generation, a role gas was uniquely qualified to fill.

But as power stations that operate only intermittently would not be financially viable, Laidlaw said: ‘The building of new gas-fired capacity must be incentivised so that gas can fulfil its role as a bridging fuel.’

To that end, energy companies are asking the Government for ‘capacity payments’. This ensures firms are paid a fee all year round for keeping a plant on standby.

As in previous subsidies, homeowners would be asked to pay for them through yet another levy on their fuel bills, which are already expected to soar by up to 20 per cent this year alone. The Department is considering the request from energy companies and an answer is expected in a new energy White Paper due later this year.

Industry sources insist the Government has no alternative but to agree to the ‘capacity payments’ for standby generation if it wants wind power, which also receives huge subsidies, to provide one-third of Britain’s energy needs.

In winter, when the most intense cold period coincides with a high pressure front, most wind turbines do not work.
One industry executive said: ‘Why would we build a power station – costing about £600 million – that is guaranteed to make a loss because it is not used most of the year?’

By 2020, most of Britain’s nuclear plants, old gas-fired plants and coal-fired power stations will be closed, leaving a 30 per cent energy gap to be filled by more new nuclear plants and more wind power.

British Gas managing director Phil Bentley has warned prices will have to rise by at least 15 per cent to compensate for the soaring cost of wholesale gas.

Tim Sarney

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3 comments to Windfarms – We now have to pay twice to destroy our upland biodiversity.

  • Lyndsey

    What a surprise! Isn’t that what we have all been saying all along? It beggars belief that our politicians are being led by the hand, blindfolded, by the wind farm developers into an economic catastrophe. At what point will they stop the lunacy and admit they got it wrong. The people of Wales are making their voices heard – the rest of the UK need to follow suit.

    There’s got to be a resounding ‘no’ against the principles of this sort of development in rural areas”
    End Quote
    Peter Ogden

    Director, Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales

    I hope the White-tailed Eagles given to Scotland by Norway are sited somewhere safe and away from any monster turbines.


    Mike, this article makes shocking reading. We(the energy consumers, who pay hidden costs on our fuel bills) have ALREADY paid £5 BILLION in subsidies since 2002. This is set to rise to £100 BILLION by 2030 as calculated by the Renewable energy foundation. It is an utter disgrace that people are driven into fuel poverty directly by these subsidies. For what? On shore wind produced 1.9% of our energy needs in 2010 – an utterly pathetic contribution for maximun outlay. I object to this, BUT, I object more to the loss of biodiversity, landscape, and utterly wild areas that wind farms impact upon. The only winners are the developers who are making money hand over fist. This is an utter scam. The quicker subsidies are stopped the better.