Government has surrendered to green lobbyists

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From The Net Zero Watch

  • Generators awarded large and open-ended price increases to new offshore wind, with a minimum 66% increase.
  • Government has offered further handouts contingent on delivery of a ‘low carbon supply chain’ and ‘social benefits’
  • This can only increase costs to consumers, who should expect hefty increases in bills

Campaign group Net Zero Watch has ridiculed energy minister Claire Coutinho’s claim that handing a 66% price increase to windfarm operators is part of her plan for ‘bringing bills down for families’.

Net Zero Watch director Andrew Montford said:

Poor Claire Coutinho has only been in the job for a few weeks, and her civil servants have already made her look foolish. The idea that you can double prices paid to generators and at the same time reduce electricity bills is simply preposterous.

Net Zero Watch’s statement comes after Coutinho announced an astonishing round of price increases, with offshore wind offered 66%, floating offshore wind 52%, geothermal 32%, solar 32%, and tidal 29%. The prices for some of these technologies are now up to six times higher than long-term market averages.

Since Contracts for Difference are index linked, claims that these increases address recent inflationary effects are simply implausible. As work by numerous researchers has shown, the renewables industry in general and the offshore wind industry in particular has been less than candid about its true capital and operating costs, and the earlier low bids in the CfD auctions were a market positioning and PR gesture that did not reflect the true cost of generation. We have long predicted that the wind industry would be back with its begging bowl. It is disappointing in the extreme that government has betrayed consumers by giving in to this blackmail.

Worse still, the 66% increase is a minimum: government is offering windfarm operators ‘more money’ ‘if they reduce carbon emissions in their supply chains and demonstrate positive social impact on communities’. How much money is not specified, leaving the cost to consumers and taxpayers open-ended.

And Mr Montford has slammed Whitehall officials for misleading the public over renewables costs, and has warned that consumers should expect hefty price increases.

Just a few months ago, Whitehall was telling us that offshore wind was extraordinarily cheap. That was a lie, and we are now seeing the truth emerging, with the Government’s complete surrender to green lobbyists. Consumers and businesses should expect yet more increases in their electricity bills. When will this end?

In the light of today’s cave-in, Net Zero Watch is calling for DESNZ to withdraw its Generation Costs report, which continues to insist that offshore wind is cheap – less than half the figure offered to developers today.

Notes for editors

Since 2017, Net Zero Watch and GWPF have been warning that the much-hyped ‘renewables cost revolution’ was a falsehood. See: