Gas Power Is Cheaper Than Wind, Despite Carbon Brief’s Claims


y Paul Homewood

h/t Joe Public

OFGEM have just announced the latest energy cap, which will apply to the period April to June. Technically it has fallen from £4279 to £3280, although reductions in government support mean that households won’t see any savings immediately.

The cap is based on wholesale prices between November and January. But as I have been reporting in recent weeks, market prices for both gas and electricity have been falling sharply since November, and this means that the cap should be much less come July, maybe to around £2100, assuming wholesale prices remain where they are now.

But the announcement brought a ton of misinformation from Simon Evans, deputy editor at Carbon Brief (the renewable lobby group funded by the far-left European Climate Foundation):

Nobody would deny that gas prices are higher than two years ago, or that electricity prices are also higher as a result. However Evans is not telling the whole story, and has conflated the two graphs to mislead people.


He has deliberately conflated the two graphs for gas and electricity to imply they are directly comparable. To be fair the graphs are OFGEM’s, but you will note that the y-axis is exactly the same on each. But closer examination shows that one is per therm and the other per MWh, something that some commenters on his Twitter have pointed out.

One therm equals 29.3071 KWh, so the January gas price of around 150p/therm equates to about £51/MWh, which is substantially less than the price of electricity. Since then gas prices have dropped further to 120 pence.

Evans claims that energy bills are high because of the price of gas, but clearly they would be much higher if we all had to use electricity instead.


But the real dishonesty is his failure to mention that offshore and even onshore wind power is considerably more expensive than gas-fired power, despite the currently high price of gas.

 Market prices of electricity averaged £121/MWh, and this price usually reflects the price of gas-fired power. However offshore wind farms subsidised under CfDs were paid an average of £167/MWh.

And offshore wind subsidised via ROCs, which account for about half of the offshore sector, earn £100/MWh on top of the market price, a total of £221/MWh.

The weighted average cost for all offshore farms was therefore £194/MWh.

Even onshore wind farms receive a subsidy of £52/MWh on top of the market price.

And these costs don’t even include the extra costs incurred by the grid associated with intermittent wind power.

If we had more gas-fired power and less wind power, our energy bills would be lower, not higher.

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Ron Long
March 3, 2023 2:33 am

Looks to me that Paul has presented an excellent example of the well-known principle: if you subsidize something you get more of it, if you penalize something you get less of it. Instead of blaming the politicians for the fiasco of using tax funds for subsidies the idiot voters should be penalized. Not going to happen…….too many idiots.

Reply to  Ron Long
March 3, 2023 4:06 am

Did people actually vote for the wind farms?

Ron Long
Reply to  c1ue
March 3, 2023 4:18 am

Yes. Democrats state their position during the campaigning. Here’s another example of how bad the theme is: the US Secretary of Defense has stated that one of the military’s missions is to “fight climate change”.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Ron Long
March 3, 2023 4:33 am

If I were a cartoonist I think I’d have fun showing the military trying to fight climate change.

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
March 3, 2023 3:29 pm

…nukes blasting Easter Isle.

Reply to  Ron Long
March 4, 2023 7:55 am

Fighting Climate Change is not automatically support for wind farms, however, any more than support for democracy automatically means support for foreign wars.

Reply to  c1ue
March 6, 2023 8:40 am

Well, fighting climate change is automatic support for wind farms if decarbonization is a pillar of the political platform. Arguing on the internet: “Well, if decarbonization is a part of the political platform, but there are many ways to do that so wind farms are not inherently a part of what people voted for”, is not a productive argument. Especially since the investors make the most money on wind farms vs every other green economy scheme. If the idea is to decarbonize, and the most profitable way for investors to make money is by wind farms, and those investors are supporting the political party that is promoting decarbonization, it is disingenuous to the extreme to argue wind farms are not part of fighting climate change.
Now, I get a hint that because the voters are trying to elect leaders with some increased care for the environment, you might be indicating the voters lacked intentional agency to install wind farms, and I would agree with that. But their ignorant (I don’t say that mockingly, but clinically, they really don’t understand how their votes affect their own lives) opinions and intentions don’t negate the wind farms are what they voted for. There was never any valid reason to think wind farms were not part of the solution in the past and in the future.
If you voted for green economy politicians in the past and in the future, you have been and still remain a wind farm voter.
To put the shoe on the other foot, if a voter had voted for a neoconservative politician in the early 2000s, you may not have intended and invasion of Iraq, as it was not explicitly part of the party platform, but it was coded in the foreign policy that sought to assert robust American military intervention in support of the Pax-Americana that was wearing thin so far out from the cold war. Some people who voted for neoconservatives in the 2000’s understood there was going to be military interventions. Others were caught unawares, but everyone voted for it.

Last edited 21 days ago by Brian
Reply to  c1ue
March 3, 2023 4:45 am

Did people actually vote for the wind farms?

Public consultation is window dressing.

“Traffic filters will ‘definitely’ be introduced in Oxford, said a travel chief, implying the controversial plan would go ahead whether people liked it or not.
A cabinet decision on the traffic restrictions will be made on November 29 following a consultation which closed earlier this month.
But Duncan Enright, cabinet member for travel and development strategy, has already told the Sunday Times: “It’s going to happen, definitely.”

“Sadiq Khan made a dig at the Brexit referendum on the third anniversary of the UK leaving the EU, as he insisted a “strong leader” can ignore opposition to proposals in consultations.

The London Mayor added: “There’s a difference. A brave, strong leader doesn’t rely on referenda, to decide policy.”

Now you know why children have been indoctrinated in schools and universities to be sceptical of ideas of democracy.

Last edited 25 days ago by strativarius
Reply to  strativarius
March 4, 2023 7:57 am

That’s part of what I meant by the question.
As I note above: support for fighting climate change does not automatically mean support for wind farms, support for more expensive electricity etc etc.
Nor has there been any public discussion, much less debate, about whether wind farms or solar or whatever are the right/best/agreed upon way to fight climate change.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  c1ue
March 3, 2023 8:01 am

There are the large blocks of ‘heritage’ voters who seem not to notice the party they vote for is the same
as the old one in name only. The rest vote for handouts oblivious of the real costs of these.

Ron Long
Reply to  Gary Pearse
March 3, 2023 10:56 am

Right on, Gary. Those “heritage” voters used to include some voters known as “Regan Democrats”, and they are nowhere to be seen now.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Ron Long
March 3, 2023 2:01 pm

My Dad and my wife’s Dad fell into that category. WW2 generation. Voting for FDR and the Dems was seen as “patriotic”.
Her Dad was a patriotic Union voter.
My Dad was also. But he was also a Pediatrician.
He saw what LBJ’s Medicare would do to Medicine.
His brothers and sister argued with him (then), but he voted Republican (for the most part) after that.

Reply to  c1ue
March 3, 2023 7:04 pm

Did people actually vote for the wind farms?

Excellent point. The voters didn’t vote for wind power and subsidies. The politicians they voted for are responsible for those policies. The voters are responsible for (re-)electing the politicians who inflicted that madness on the country. So ultimately it does come down to the voters; enough of whom have been brainwashed with leftist dogma to keep wanting these self-destructive policies. It’s a shame. It’s our job to keep shining light and truth from the city on a hill that can’t be hid, the light that illuminates the darkness of leftist ideology and reveals it for what it is: dreary, soul-sucking authoritarianism; the primary purpose of which is to make them feel like they are the saviors of world.

Last edited 24 days ago by stinkerp
Reply to  Ron Long
March 3, 2023 3:27 pm

“subsidies … idiot voters should be penalized. Not going to happen”
Self contradictory?

To clarify: subsidy for bad idea = penalty for voter?

Last edited 24 days ago by KevinM
March 3, 2023 2:50 am

Back in Thatcher’s day there was what they euphemistically called ‘creative accounting’. Nowadays it’s creative trousering with very big bucks.

The direction of travel has been set by Parliament. Nobody but nobody stands a chance of becoming a party candidate if they aren’t signed up to net zero. And Parliament has no intention of consulting the people. So, there’s a choice of net zero, net zero or net zero.

Ehrlich made the intention clear on de-development and energy and now the alarmists have come up with a name for it: “Degrowth Communism”. Bigged up no end in the Guardian and other pious alarmist networks.

“…the way Saito mobilises Marxist theory to make a plea for “the abundance of wealth in degrowth communism” (the title of the last chapter of his book) is as precise as it is gripping. This is what attracted my attention as an economist working on degrowth: Saito’s attempts to reconcile Marxism with newer ideas around alternatives to economic growth might bring critiques of capitalism to an unprecedented level of popularity.”

But somehow I doubt it. I would go as far as to say that where people are concerned there really can be a tipping point.

Surely, an economist working on degrowth, is really nothing more than a rationer?

Reply to  strativarius
March 3, 2023 3:15 am

Tipping point #1

Sri Lanka.

Reply to  strativarius
March 3, 2023 3:40 am

Tipping point #2

“A knock-on the door. A quick inspection of the premises. And then, before you know it, a group of uniformed men have taken over the house and started dismantling it piece by piece.
It might sound like an extract from an early draft of George Orwell’s 1984. In fact, it was the plan for Whitby, targeted as the government’s first “Net Zero village”. An entire community would have all their heating systems ripped out, by force if necessary, and replaced by hydrogen or heat pumps. But, in this case, there was a twist. The villagers protested so much that the project was scrapped.

There is nothing wrong with switching to greener energy, but it needs to be done voluntarily, because the technology is cheaper and better, not as part of a centrally planned system that rips up people’s homes without their consent. That is the real lesson of the Whitby revolt – and the government should take account of it before launching the next ridiculous target.”

Peta of Newark
March 3, 2023 3:21 am

Quote:”And offshore wind subsidised via ROCs, which account for about half of the offshore sector, earn £100/MWh on top of the market price, a total of £221/MWh.

Holy cow, that £221 figure is just £10 more than the one I calculated from first principles
(posted into a recent thread. can’t remember which one, I do talk far faaaaar too much)

That was based purely on what Vattenfall said their new windfarm would cost, expected windmill lifetimes, capacity factors and ‘normal business economics’ – I got a figure for wholesale price for a commercially viable operation of £211 per MWh

And there they are, getting £221

I may have to go have a celebratory coffee for that one. And to have a drive past the 40 acre Daffodil Farm. They were just ‘coming out’ a couple weeks ago, should be epic by now.
pictures may follow

Nick Stokes
March 3, 2023 3:44 am

I don’t see what Simon has said that is actually wrong. He said that electricity prices rose and fell because of gas prices, and I think his graphs demonstrated that. I don’t see where he said that wind was cheaper than gas. I think there is a case for saying that, but it requires data on the costs side, not just the instantaneous price of electricity, which doesn’t distinguish.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 3, 2023 4:33 am

… data on the costs side …

My favorite metric for that is EROEI (Energy Returned on Energy Invested). If you don’t have sufficient EROEI, you don’t get enough energy back to build the windmills, and also power civilization. In that case, you fall over the EROEI cliff, and society collapses, and billions of people die.

For wind power, there’s a trick. If it doesn’t matter when you get your electricity, wind power has a reasonable EROEI. However, if it does matter when you get your electricity (the linked article calls that buffered power), wind power falls over the cliff.

Modern civilization requires a reliable supply of electricity. Without that, we go back to a world where life was a lot shorter and nastier.

Last edited 25 days ago by commieBob
Reply to  commieBob
March 3, 2023 6:02 am

“Reliable electricity” doesn’t mean using a higher cost source all of the time because it is the most reliable. That source needs to be kept ready to pitch in only when needed. The family Generac is the best example. You keep it covered, keep water out of the crank case, and keep the gas fresh if it uses gas. But you (or at least me and mine) don’t run it 24/7/365 because it’s “reliable”.

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 3, 2023 7:47 am

Reliable electricity meant the U.K. paying Belgium 5,000% above normal prices per MWh

Only fossil fuels will do. Face it, bob

Reply to  strativarius
March 3, 2023 7:57 am

I’m not familiar. What fraction of the time does this occur? Not rhetorical, how often?

Do you have the companion B-A incremental ROR evaluation, including externalized costs for your “all fossil fuel, all of the time” alternative? Including a forecast that includes the facts that US shale is peaking, that fossil fuel asset retirement costs are mounting exponentially, and that the only lower cost fossil fuel sources are in either conflict lands and/or in those with strong man klepto’s in charge?

Dave Fair
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 3, 2023 9:26 am

Its sad when one is left with only one dead horse to beat upon.

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 3, 2023 8:09 am

I’m guessing that in whatever world bob infests, there is no cost to keeping fossil fuel plants on hot standby for whenever wind and solar fail to produce.

Reply to  MarkW
March 3, 2023 9:21 am

Guess again. I’m guessing that you still imagine that those stand by costs are more then a couple of orders of magnitude lower than going all fossil fuel, all of the time.

BTW, “hot stand by” doesn’t have to be that hot at all. Both extreme weather conditions and time of day requirements are both quite predictable in plenty of time. And even extra labor costs would be minimal, since the changes are mostly to equipment and remote monitoring. That’s why most of the changes to the Texas natural gas to electricity infrastructure, to gird it for 2/21 conditions, are already in place in northern states. If you like, I can list 10 easy, cheap, well site mods that would get Texas 85% of the way to extreme condition nirvana.

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 3, 2023 3:55 pm

I love the way bob substitutes his ignorant opinion for cold hard facts.
The fact is that running plants on standby reduces costs by maybe 10 to 20%, if that much.

If bob really stupid enough to think that a plant doing spinning reserve is doesn’t have a full complement of employees on hand?

Reply to  MarkW
March 3, 2023 4:16 pm

The fact is that running plants on standby reduces costs by maybe 10 to 20%, if that much.”

You seem to space on the fact that your alternative would have a fuel cost orders of magnitude than the relatively minor cost of “running” these plants part time. So, since fuel is not free, I find that hard to believe. We are talking about equipment that is designed to be stopped/started. And mostly unmanned. Do you have any actual data to back up your wishful thinking?

OTOH, I am most experienced in field gas operations. To add the equipment and manpower to warm weather fields to enable them to both be produced and shut in regularly (as they are now), even in extreme conditions is relatively trivial. Mostly improved remote monitoring, downhole chemical injection, prompt separation and storage of liquids, heated gas production units, dehydration, separation of fluids produced during compressor interstages, selected heat racing, and such.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 3, 2023 6:15 pm

No bob, you really are nuts. The worst thing you can do to big motors and turbines and generators is stop them and start them.
That isn’t even debatable.
The best thing for them is to run continuous.

You know nothing.

And show us ONE jurisdiction that installed renewables and got cheaper power.

Just one.

Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
March 3, 2023 7:10 pm

No bob, you really are nuts. The worst thing you can do to big motors and turbines and generators is stop them and start them.”

Reality denier. That’s what’s being done for all of the swing electrical power sources now. Ever heard of night and day? Peak and non peak?

“And show us ONE jurisdiction that installed renewables and got cheaper power.”

One state ok? Pay particular attention to 2022 $/MBTU industrial/residential Texas natural gas prices

But wait, there’s more…

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 4, 2023 11:24 am

Is there any fact that bob “knows” that is actually true.
Fuel costs are the smallest cost of running a power plant.
Beyond that, Running on spinning reserve only reduces fuel costs by a few percent and reduces none of the other costs.
You need the same number of personnel on site, the wear and tear is the same.

I am most experienced in field gas operations. 

Allegedly knowing how to drill wells makes you an expert in how to run a power plant?

Reply to  MarkW
March 4, 2023 11:57 am

“Fuel costs are the smallest cost of running a power plant.”


” The generation costs of CCGT range between $65 and $80/MWh (typically, $73/MWh), of which $30–45/MWh is for the fuel.”

“Beyond that, Running on spinning reserve only reduces fuel costs by a few percent and reduces none of the other costs.”

Which is why most of them don’t have to. Modern forecasting and normal grid connectivity (i.e. not Texas) makes ramp up times long enough to avoid doing so. Even without wind and solar, demand varies widely from day to night, and with normal weather fluctuations. That is where flexibility is required most.

“Allegedly knowing how to drill wells makes you an expert in how to run a power plant?”

No, that’s not why. In fact I never claimed to know how to “operate a power plant”. My experience ends at midstream. But just my indirect experience – I am after all, an adult lifelong petroleum engineer – allows for me to see through your wishful assumptions.

Last edited 23 days ago by bigoilbob
Dave Fair
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 3, 2023 9:24 am

Thank you, Bob, once again for demonstrating your electric power system ignorance. The issue is the negative impacts of your neighbor constantly and rapidly alternatively injecting then withholding his wind and/or solar generation. Your costs and the excess wear and tear on your Generac both rapidly accelerate. In the larger sense governments’ insane distortion of energy markets (not just electricity markets) additionally contribute to the unnecessary and excessively heavy burden on consumers and taxpayers.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 3, 2023 8:07 am

There’s nothing wrong with being deceptive, is there.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  MarkW
March 3, 2023 12:28 pm

So what is deceptive here? Simon just said that electricity prices go up and down with gas prices. True and commonplace.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 3, 2023 3:56 pm

The deception was fully explained in the article you either didn’t read or didn’t understand.
The deception is trying to imply that the changes in natural gas prices explained almost all of the increases in electricity costs.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  MarkW
March 4, 2023 3:21 am

It’s true. This is a typical WUWT post that claims some set of facts refutes something said, when it is actually unconnected. What Paul has tried to show is that wind is more expensive than gas. Even if it were (it’s not) that does not say that gas price change is not responsible for the electricity spike.

In fact, the only sense it could make is if a claim could be established that some change in wind costs caused the spike. But what change cold that be? Wind itself is free. There is complaint about subsidies., but they certainly didn’t spike like that in 2022. Nor did building costs, power cable costs or anything else associated with wind. What did follow that pattern was gas price.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
March 4, 2023 11:25 am

Once again Nick Sophist tries to refute a post by ignoring what was actually said.

The longer a thread goes, the further Nick gets from the original point, and reality.

March 3, 2023 6:30 am

I doubt the average user knows what all is involved in supply chains or NIMBY energy policy.

Story tip


How Gas From Texas Becomes Cooking Fuel in France

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Europe is importing U.S. natural gas like never before to heat homes, generate electricity and power factories
For now, Europe has been forced to increase imports of U.S. LNG, deepening cross-Atlantic trading ties and elevating America’s role as an energy superpower.

But before an American molecule of gas can be burned by a power plant in Italy, used to cook in Spain or produce fertilizer in Germany, it has to be pumped out of the ground, treated, piped, chilled, loaded onto a ship and converted into gas again. The journey spans the gas fields of Appalachia and the Gulf Coast, and involves thousands of miles of pipelines; giant, multibillion-dollar fridges; and a global fleet of special vessels. 

Reply to  ResourceGuy
March 3, 2023 5:20 pm

In human terms, the US is a fairly large place. The sources of gas, oil, coal, iron, aluminum, agricultural products, and just about all other useful stuff, is unevenly distributed. Too have a functioning modern society, these commodities must be produced where they can and then distributed to where they are needed.

It may be true that somewhat different technologies are required to distribute overseas rather than just within a single landmass, but the principles seem to be the same. An objection seems to me to be based on the idea that “we” should keep what we have so “they” don’t use it up. By general application of that logic “we” would most assuredly not have much access to copper, bananas, and a great many other things we consider part and parcel of the good life. Of course, if “they” had the raw resources close at hand, and had the facilities to collect and process them as needed, they might be able to have more at a lower cost, but no place has everything.

Peta of Newark
March 3, 2023 8:23 am

How many of us get the GWPF newsletter emails?
From the one just arrived here (more proof of what I was saying in my BoE Calculations on windmill economics)

Quote:The Times is now reporting that the Danish state-controlled wind giant Ørsted is threatening to cancel the £8 billion Hornsea Three wind farm, the world’s biggest, unless it is given more UK government support through “enhanced capital allowances”.

I’ve only got the MailChimp link – it’ll be on NetZero Watch’s site somewhere

edit to PS while I’m here:

Last edited 24 days ago by Peta of Newark
March 3, 2023 9:25 am

 “The following article originally appeared (in slightly different form) as a portion of a comment submitted by the Concerned Household Electricity Consumers Council to the EPA in February 2018 with respect to EPA’s proposal to rescind an Obama-era regulation called the Clean Power Plan.

March 3, 2023 9:28 am

The simple measurement for me in the UK is the fact that the standard consumer rate for gas is 10.3p per kWh whereas electricity is 34p per kWh as confirmed by the government website

So why would I want to switch to all electric for heating and why is this apparently expensive source of energy cheaper than all that renewable based electricity that is apparently free?

Gunga Din
March 3, 2023 1:46 pm

Often tax subsidies for Green and Big Oil enter the discussion.
This Layman’s understanding is that tax breaks to Big Oil (or Amazon in NYC) would generate even more tax dollars to the local or state economies.
Has anyone done an economic study of the actual cost to the consumer minus ALL of the subsidies (tax breaks for EVs, etc.) of the energy options?
Do taxes go up? Does the cost of “energy” go up (at the pump or the electric bill)?

Reply to  Gunga Din
March 3, 2023 3:57 pm

Allowing oil companies to deduct normal business expenses is not a subsidy.

Reply to  Gunga Din
March 3, 2023 5:24 pm

Without all the subsidies, there would not be many , if any, renewables in the market place. Subsidies to “big oil” are pretty much an imaginary propaganda concept.

March 4, 2023 8:44 pm

Purposed misinformation and presentation.

March 5, 2023 9:30 am

Regarding “One therm equals 29.3071 KWh”: This does not account for average combined generation, transmission and distribution efficiency of producing electricity from natural gas being 39%. (That is the US national average, and UK would have a similar figure.) This means one therm of natural gas produces 11.43 kWh of electricity. Equivalence of electricity cost with the cost of natural gas being used to produce electricity has pounds per MWh being .8749 times pence per therm.

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