Guest essay by Eric Worrall
The British CEO of RenewableUK, the British Wind Industry Trade Association, thinks England is not windy enough to justify building any more onshore wind turbines.
England is not windy enough to justify building any more onshore wind turbines, the chief executive of wind industry trade body has admitted.
Hugh McNeal, who joined RenewableUK two months ago from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, insisted the industry could make the case for more onshore turbines in some parts of the UK, despite the withdrawal of subsidies.
But he said this would “almost certainly” not be in England, as the wind speeds were not high enough to make the projects economically viable without subsidy.
Current wholesale electricity prices are too low to spur investment in any new form of power generation, so the Government has already had to make subsidies available to new gas plants.
If financial support required by onshore wind is less than that required by gas, the industry argues it should no longer be regarded as “subsidy”.
“We are almost certainly not talking about the possibility of new plants in England. The project economics wouldn’t work; the wind speeds don’t allow for it.”
WUWT have been predicting “peak wind” for some time. In my opinion this admission from the CEO of RenewableUK is an admission that it is happening.
Regarding the lack of investment across all UK energy sectors, I doubt a temporary lull in wholesale price is the issue which is deterring investment, especially investment in new gas generators. The real reason is more likely that the UK energy market is in chaos, thanks to years of heavy handed British government efforts to promote renewables. In the words of Amber Rudd, the British Energy Secretary, “… We now have an electricity system where no form of power generation, not even gas-fired power stations, can be built without government intervention. …”
The effort to “redefine” subsidies as something all energy providers should expect, and therefore not really a subsidy, is telling – in my opinion it suggests Wind energy providers are well aware that their product will never be truly competitive against reliable, dispatchable power generation systems.