Saturday, 18 December 2010

Govt cuts wind, gives to nuclear

from Dave Toke:

Government to cut wind power programme by at least half and give the resources to nuclear power

The more details emerge of the Government's electricity market reform, the worse things look. Huhne is going to adopt the 1990s NFFO auction approach (favoured by Tim Eggar the former Tory Energy Minister) which will massacre the onshore wind power programme and halve the offshore wind programme at least. In the 1990s the auctions for renewable contracts took years to organise and when they ended half of the projects were economic and half of th rest did not get planning consent - so only around one in four proposed projects could be implemented.
The auction proposal will also destroy the arrangements that the Crown Estates have organised for offshore wind in that the developers given leases in Round 3 at least will have to compete in this auction. Obviously not all will get contracts. Others will end up being uneconomic because the auction system encourages developers to put in optimistically low bids to get contracts (which can be sold on to others). This system has been tried several times around the world (UK, Ireland, California,and Denmark under the post 2001 right wing governmen) and low capacity out turns are always the result.

So, in effect, companies like E.ON are going to succeed in cutting the renewables programme by half and replacing it with investment for nuclear power which will be given much more relatively favourable treatment under the 'low carbon' mechanism' (Paul Golby of E.ON is behind this idea).

The Renewables Obligation (RO) (although expensive) is much preferable to the auction system being proposed because it at least allows companies to set up whre and when they can with a good price. Of course, what we need most is a REAL feed-in tariff system like they have in the bulk of EU countries (led by Germany) which allows the same effect but with a more cost effective outcome. I've talked to a couple of people about starting up a 'Campaign for Real Feed-in Tariffs'. If there's a consistent campaign supported by the Green Party, green NGOs and others on this we have a good chance of success, although the problem will still remain of getting good prices set for the different renewable technologies. - Co-ordination with RenewableUK would be needed there, although they are likely to try to defend the RO as their first choice.

One thing's forcertain - we can't place ANY trust on Chris Huhne's green publicity hype. What Labour did was heaven compared to this Government's proposals. Really, what the Lib Dems are doing is an about turn as radical as they did on tuition fees. It's just that people don't realise it (yet).
Chris Huhne is abandoning the anti-nuclear, pro-renewable stance which they campaigned on and is promoting a policy which funds nuclear at the expense of renewables.

Dave Toke
See also some details on

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