In a move that gives the lie to years of propaganda claiming falling costs, the wind industry’s leading lobbyists have written to the Government threatening to abandon the U.K. unless subsidies for their companies are hugely increased.
The industry lobbyists claim that unforeseen rising costs now require three actions:
- A revision to the auction rules so that the winners are not determined by the lowest bids but by an administrative decision that weights bids according to their ‘value’ in contributing towards the Net Zero targets.
- Special new targets and thus market shares for floating offshore wind, one of the most expensive of all forms of generation;
- A vast increase in the budget for the fifth auction (AR5) of Contracts for Difference subsidies, with an increase of two and half times the current levels for non-floating offshore wind alone;
Such changes were the Government to agree to them, would not only increase the total amount of subsidy to an industry that was until recently claiming no longer to need public support but also provide the industry with protected shares of the energy market, eliminating risks for investors at the expense of the paying public. It would also clearly be an open invitation to corruption.
Climate lobby group Net Zero Watch has urged the Government to stand up for consumers by rejecting the wind industry’s latest demands. Dr John Constable, Net Zero Watch’s Energy Director, said: “It would be both absurd and counterproductive for Government to bail out the wind industry in spite of the evident failure to reduce costs. A refusal to learn from mistakes will be disastrous.”
In a press release, the organisation argued the Government should “reject the self-serving demands” because the U.K. economy should not be expected to continue to subsidise a sector “that is still uneconomic after nearly 20 years of above-market prices and guaranteed market share”. “The wind experiment has failed and must be wound down,” it adds.
The Government should also be mindful that U.K. households and businesses are already experiencing extreme pressures on budgets, and a further burden on the energy bill should not be tolerated, it says. This is particularly the case as the wind industry’s current cost difficulties are “neither unforeseen nor unpredicted but have been obvious to careful observers for over a decade”.