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Claims are just a big wind-up  

Credit:  By Brian Monteith, Edinburgh Evening News, scotsman.com 17 June 2011 ~~

What is the biggest lie in Scottish and British politics today? That England subsidises Scottish public spending or that Scotland’s oil bails out the UK from bankruptcy? Actually it’s neither of these for the answers change each year depending on the price of oil, the tax revenues from the City of London and the size of our growing national debt.
No, the biggest lie in politics is that renewable energy is not only desirable but affordable – and there is a conspiracy between the politicians and the corporate bosses to perpetuate this myth.

This week John Swinney, the Scottish Government’s finance secretary, gave the bosses of ScottishPower a hard time because they are raising their electricity prices ten per cent and gas by a staggering nineteen per cent. He appealed to energy regulators to step in and urged customers to seek out cheaper suppliers.

What John Swinney did not mention, what he does not want you to know and what the ScottishPower bosses are too timid to say is that the politicians in Edinburgh, London and Brussels are the biggest cause of energy prices rising – and the chief reason is their religious zeal for renewable generation in pursuit of saving the planet.

Have you ever wondered why you will not find wind turbines generating electricity in poor developing nations? It’s simple really – while they desperately need electricity to help bring light and power to their growing economies they cannot afford the subsidies needed to pay for the most expensive way of providing electricity.

Wind turbines are less than thirty per cent efficient. That is because they cannot operate if the winds are too slow (one third of the time) and, perversely, they cannot operate when the winds are too fast as they become dangerous (another third of the time). This leaves only one third of the time when they work – and we now know from experience that due to other constraints (such as they might be able to work at a time that electricity demand is low and so they are not deployed) they are even less efficient than originally claimed.

Add to this that to ensure there is electricity available when the turbines are not working the power companies still need other reliable generation available twenty-four/seven (from nuclear, coal and gas) and the economics just don’t make sense even though the wind is free.

The truth of the matter is that if it were left to power companies to choose how they provide us with electricity they would only build gas and coal powered stations and maybe a nuclear power station if they thought they could get the planning permission. Wind turbines, be they on land or at sea, are currently too costly to make economic sense – so why are so many being built? Wind power has been around a very long time; today’s wind turbines are the modern hi-tech equivalent of yesterday’s windmills but instead of making flour they generate electricity.

Yet only in the last twenty years have they begun to be seen in Europe and then Scotland in large numbers.

This is because politicians have passed laws, introduced punishing taxes and offered attractive sweetners – the result is that wind farms should more appropriately be called subsidy farms – for they cultivate large financial subsidies and the electricity companies now want to build more and more of them.

The Renewables Obligation forces power companies to source eleven per cent of their power from renewable power generation – which is mostly wind power. Because these sources are more expensive the cost of electricity is forced up.

There is also the Climate Change Levy, which taxes businesses and public bodies on the energy they use making their energy at least twenty percent higher than need be. There’s the Carbon Emissions Reduction Commitment, which forces energy suppliers to invest in expensive equipment that reduces their carbon footprint, and there’s the new Carbon Floor Price that taxes coal and gas energy production and comes in next year. All of these hidden costs and taxes work their way through to domestic consumers’ electricity bills.

On top of these penalties that make coal and gas generation more expensive there is the Feed-in Tariff that subsidises the production of renewable generation – causing farmers and landowners to queue up to install wind turbines and reap the subsidy harvest. These subsidies worth millions have to be paid for by general taxation – so we all pay for that too. It’s a transfer of wealth from the masses to the few and it’s a scandal.

The bottom line is that while electricity bills are about to go up by ten per cent they are already twenty per cent more expensive because of politicians trying to rig the market – but you won’t find any mention of this on your leccy bill.

If people want to pay more for their electricity to save the world then we should be able to debate the issues and vote for politicians that offer such a solution, but first, let’s put all these hidden costs on our bills so we can see what we are paying for. Only then will John Swinney’s compassion look sincere.

Source:  By Brian Monteith, Edinburgh Evening News, scotsman.com 17 June 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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