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Roger helmer MEP corrects Philip Hammond MP
Wind power is bad economics, however you subsidise it
Below is some interesting communications between Roger Helmer (Conservative MEP), who spoke at and supported the launch meeting of ASWAR, with Philip Hammond MP, the Government's Transport Secretary.
I recently received a communication from a concerned citizen who had heard Philip Hammond speaking on television about on-shore wind power, and had got the impression that Mr. Hammond had said that such electricity generation no longer needed subsidies. Of course it receives the benefit of massive "Renewable Obligation Certificates", which are subsidies by another name.
The Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP is of course our Secretary of State for Transport, and is generally a very sound chap.
But in response to my query on wind farm subsidies, he said in essence that higher carbon taxes on conventional fossil fuel power generation would gradually make on-shore wind more competitive, relatively speaking, so that soon it should no longer require subsidies.
I replied as follows:
I am most grateful for your reply to my recent e-mail on the question of subsidies for on-shore wind. The gist of it seems to be that carbon taxes will make conventional power generation less competitive, and that thus on-shore wind will no longer need subsidies.
But in terms of the overall economic impact, the effect of a carbon tax on fossil fuels is very much the same as a subsidy for other non-carbon means of generation. A carbon tax is, in effect, a subsidy for non-carbon generation. We have a distinction without a difference.
The plain fact remains that wind power is very expensive, and that it could not survive for a moment without government intervention creating a market distortion designed to give wind an artificial advantage. I fear that we in the UK are likely to end up with the most expensive electricity in the world, just so that we can do some posturing over our green credentials -- for be assured, nothing that we do will make a scrap of difference to the climate. We risk bankrupting our grandchildren for the sake of gesture politics.
I do hope that you and your colleagues will reconsider this ruinous policy.