Reading Wind farm windfalls (Gazette, November 29), I was left absolutely speechless by the statement of Clare Wilson of npower renewables: “A wind farm’s only source of income is being paid for the electricity it produces – there is no other source of income – so wind farms would not be profitable unless they produced large quantities of electricity.”
It is one thing to have a debate about whether the vast cost of the Renewables Obligation (the subsidy system introduced in 2002 to incentivise renewable energy generation) is good value in terms of cost per ton of carbon saved, but it is another thing altogether, and quite unacceptable, for a representative of npower to mislead the public by implying that there is no subsidy on energy from a wind farm, or that they produce “large quantities of electricity”.
Anyone familiar with the Renewables Obligation will know that wind farms, along with all other accredited renewable energy generating plants, derive income from two sources: 1. Sales of electricity, and 2 Sales of ROCs (Renewables Obligation Certificates).
The subsidy system is generous to generators, and especially attractive to those investing in the relatively ‘low value’ technology of on-shore wind power. It has thus led to a disproportionately high interest in this one technology and the scheme has been criticised by OFGEM and others for delivering an extremely modest reduction of CO2 emissions at an enormous cost to electricity consumers.
It has also “clogged up” the planning system with a huge number of, often inappropriate, planning applications.
It is possible that your reporter, Robert Brooks has unintentionally misquoted Ms Wilson of npower, but if she did indeed say those words, then she should be asked by npower to apologise for misleading the public.
Editor: The statement was emailed to us from npower.
6 December 2007