A weird propaganda blitz, widely publicised again last week, is trying to persuade us that the cost of power from wind farms has been “tumbling” so fast that wind has now replaced coal as our “cheapest” source of electricity.
This began in October when Greenpeace and various wind companies plastered Westminster Underground station, the one most used by MPs, with posters claiming that the cost of offshore wind had halved in the past five years. This was so laughably untrue that the Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the claim was based only on figures that include “tentative future wind projects” that might not even be built.
Last week, the ASA emailed the GWPF to say that Greenpeace has now agreed not to repeat its claim; which means that the ASA does not now have to issue a formal ruling that this boast was bogus. In fact, official figures show that, far from falling, the price we all pay for offshore wind electricity can be up to £161 per megawatt hour, three-and-a-half times the current wholesale market rate. In the next four years, our offshore subsidy bill is due to more than double, from £1.4 billion a year to £3.1 billion.
As for the further boast that on 263 days this year wind contributed more electricity than coal, this is hardly surprising; the Government has been doing all it can with regulations and “carbon taxes” to close down our coal-fired power stations, which until two years ago were still supplying 30 per cent of our electricity. Yet on the coldest night of the year, two weeks before Christmas, those few coal plants that remain were still having to supply around 20 per cent of our needs, with nearly 50 per cent more coming from gas, the other fossil fuel that the Government wants to see phased out. Even this year there were times on windless days when all our 8,140 wind turbines – put together earning billions in subsidies – contributed barely one per cent to our needs.