No, Mr Marlow – Renewable Energy Is Not “The Way Out Of This”

By Paul Homewood



h/t Ian Magness

A remarkable naive article by Ben Marlow:




I won’t bore you with the details, as it is the same old guff we get from AEP every month.


  • Wind and solar are dirt cheap
  • Fossil fuels are expensive
  • We should abandon fracking because of NIMBYs
  • Green levies are tiny

Let’s start with this nugget:



Marlow calls himself a financial journalist, but a competent one would actually go away and check the Annual Accounts of offshore wind companies, which consistently show that construction costs have not come down in the way he claims. Indeed they show that the real costs are around £100/MWh. And, of course, this does not start to reflect all of the indirect costs.

Is he even aware that the auctions are not legally binding supply contracts, and that the new wind farms which have come on stream in the last year have not taken up their CfDs, but instead are merrily selling at market prices?

And he clearly does not understand that wind power is hopelessly intermittent. He says:


Only this January we saw just how volatile even offshore wind power can be:

What on earth does he think will happen in a few winters time, when we are totally reliant on renewables?


He then goes on to dismiss the arguments against solar power:



I have no idea where he gets his preposterous claim that solar farms tend to be built on land that isn’t fit for farming. The opposite is in fact true.

But much more pertinent is what happens to solar power in winter, when demand for power peaks. During December 2021, for instance, all of the UK’s solar farms worked at just 1.8% of capacity – clue, Mr Marlow, it’s called winter for a reason!

And even this assumes that we have sufficient battery storage to smooth out supply during each day and night.

The government’s target is to have 36 GW of solar power by 2030, but in winter this will only supply a tiny 0.6 GW on average. Maybe Mr Marlow does not appreciate that by then will be needing 60 GW or more of power?

Of course, solar power businesses would be queuing up to build new solar farms if they were so economical as he says. Except they are not.

Since subsidies were withdrawn in 2017, new investment has dried up:


Ah, what about the Sahara, he says:



Well, if somebody wants to risk their capital and build it, fine. But personally I would not want to put our whole energy infrastructure and economy at the mercy of jihadists in North Africa, who could could blow up the cable at a stroke.

And green levies?



It is telling that he has outsourced his journalism to Carbon Brief, who shill for the renewable lobby.

Perhaps he should have consulted the OBR instead:

Green levies will cost us £14 billion this year, more than £500 per household, and the cost is projected to carry on rising.

The current spike in natural gas prices, which has precipitated electricity prices rises, has nothing to do with the intrinsic cost of extracting the gas. It is purely a function of supply and demand; increase supply and prices will return to normal, which means cheaper than renewables.

The whole of the western world has a part to play, just as it has been responsible for discouraging investment in recent years. And the UK has an important role in this, by maximising North Sea resources as well as fracking. Yet Mr Marlow claims:


According to Cuadrilla, who are prepared to put their money where their mouth is, the Bowland Shale alone could supply 50 years of current UK demand for gas.

I don’t call that a sideshow.

Isn’t it time the Telegraph started employing proper financial journalists?


August 26, 2022 at 01:23PM

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