Jillian Ambrose Claims “Wind Power Is Cheap”

By Paul Homewood


Jillian Ambrose is either totally ignorant about the cost of wind power, or is being extremely devious.

This is what she has written today:



The UK’s electricity market has followed the lead of surging wholesale gas prices this week to reach weekend highs not seen in a decade.

The power market has avoided the severe volatility which ripped through the gas market this week because strong winds helped to supply ample electricity to meet demand.

But as freezing winds begin to wane this weekend National Grid will need to use more gas-fired power plants to fill the gap, meaning the cost of generating electricity will surge.

Jamie Stewart, an energy expert at ICIS, said the price for base load power this weekend has already soared to around £80 per megawatt hour, almost double what one would expect to see for a weekend in March.

National Grid will increase its use of expensive gas-fired power by an extra 7GW to make up for low wind power, which is forecast to drop by two-thirds in the days ahead.

Wind speeds helped to protect the electricity system from huge price hikes on the neighbouring gas market on Thursday, by generating as much as 13GW by some estimates.

However, by the end of Friday this output will fall by almost half to 7GW and slump to lows of 3GW by Saturday, Mr Stewart said.

The power price was already higher than usual at £53/MWh last weekend even before the full force of the storms hit Britain. That was still well above the more typical “mid-40s” price for this time of year, Mr Stewart added.



I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt over the headline, as I am aware that journalists often don’t have a say over them.

But then she does go on to write to the effect that wind power costs much less than £80/MWh.

As we know, this is utterly untrue.

The bulk of onshore wind output earns a subsidy of £45.58/Mwh, via the Renewable Obligation scheme. This is on top of what they receive for electricity sold. Therefore, even with wholesale prices at last week’s level of £53/Mwh, wind farms will be paid over £98/Mwh.

Offshore wind farms earn even greater subsidies, with RO subsidies typically worth twice as much as onshore.

Because these subsidies never appear in the wholesale costs, but are instead hidden away in green levies added to electricity bills, there is a misleading assumption that gas generation is more costly than wind.

The impression given by the article is that if we had more wind power capacity, the overall cost of electricity generation would fall. In fact, the opposite is true.

Interestingly there are a few comments on the article which have seen through the con, such as:

Gilbert Bellairs 3 Mar 2018 4:52PM

Very misleading headline. Onshore wind farms are paid at least £95/mwh, offshore around £150mwh.  Smaller turbines are paid even more and I hate to think how much we’re paying for the diesel generators being installed to fill in the gaps on windless days.  There is no such thing as cheap wind power for consumers.



March 3, 2018 at 12:45PM

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