Green energy cost-cutting plans may lead to more onshore wind farms

December 15, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

In a paper released on Monday, Policy Exchange backs auctions, arguing that
“mature technologies such as onshore wind, biomass and energy-from-waste
should be able to compete in an auction process as early as next year” in
order to drive down the costs of green energy for bill-payers.

But Mr Moore acknowledges there are “understandable concerns about the impact
wind farms could have on the landscape”.

“That’s why it’s vital that policymakers and developers work closely with
local communities on the design and potentially even financial incentives of
any proposed wind farm,” he said.

The Government originally planned to begin technology-specific auctions in
2018 but has had more interest in projects than the money available.

Mr Davey said auctions would now be introduced “a lot quicker than 2018-19”
though did not say whether the auctions would be technology-specific or for
groups of technologies.

“We are getting more investment come forward than people had expected and
moving to competitive allocations quicker than people expected,” he said.
“Onshore [wind] and solar are going to competitive auctions very quickly.”

John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, a stern critic of
green costs, said that while onshore wind may appear cheaper than other
technologies in official figures, this “doesn’t reflect the full cost to the
consumer” such as managing the intermittency of wind.

“The worry is if they start auctioning these things off they might end up
inadvertently causing yet another stampede for onshore wind because the true
costs of wind are not reflected in these ‘strike prices’,” he said.

“The principle of reducing costs for the consumer is good. But you have to
make sure the prices being used and medium for competition actually reflect
the real costs. They need to do a full system cost study if they want to do
an auction that is meaningful.”

Michael Fallon, the energy minister, told an industry conference last week:
“It is unfair for hardworking base-rate taxpayers to be funding large scale
deployment of mature technologies renewables that shouldn’t need further
subsidy.

“We will set out our plans for the introduction of competition shortly.”

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