Why is DECC clinging to wind?

Energy Minister Charles Hendry

The case for wind power is looking increasingly tattered.  Several reports are arguing that wind plus the necessary conventional back-up delivers emissions savings somewhere between not-very-much and zero, while the costs are frightening.  Yet the government clings to its wind policy.  It may be the perverse effect of the Lib-Dems in the Coalition.  It may be the even more perverse effect of Brussels regulation.

But it is such a huge threat to our prosperity that I feel we must try to get to the bottom of it.  So I have written to Energy Minister Charles Hendry in the following terms.

Dear Charles, 

Economics of wind power

You will recall that we have corresponded on the economics of wind power, and I drew your attention to the report from Professor Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University, “Why is Wind Power so expensive?” You will recall that Prof Hughes concluded that wind power, with the necessary conventional back-up, saved little or no CO2 emissions, and that the capital cost of wind plus back-up was around ten times that of equivalent gas capacity.

From your reply, I formed the impression that the civil servants who are advising you had not really taken the trouble to understand Prof Hughes’ work — perhaps because it was so challenging in the face of current policy assumptions.  Given the vast implications of Prof Hughes’ findings, I wonder if you could take a moment to see if we can find some common ground?

May I assume that you would agree with the following observations:

1        Wind power is intermittent and requires back-up, usually gas

2        For technical/flexibility reasons, the back-up needs to be single-cycle gas, not the modern combined-cycle

3        Single-cycle gas is very much less efficient than combined cycle

4        Further, because the back-up will run intermittently, it is still less efficient than if it were run consistently

5        Therefore the back-up gas will produce electricity which will cost very much more per unit, in terms of money, fuel consumption, and emissions, than would be the case with (combined-cycle) gas alone.

6        These additional costs and emissions are usually ignored in the performance estimates given for wind power by the renewables industry.

7        Therefore, the real cost of wind power is much higher than industry estimates, while the emissions savings are much lower.

If, as I assume, you agree with these observations, then your disagreement can only be about the actual numbers which Prof Hughes has applied to these factors.  If your staff have produced their own estimates of these factors, and if these are at variance with those of Professor Hughes, could I ask you please to release the estimates and calculations on which your staff are relying, as they seek to maintain that wind power saves emissions and is affordable?  This would at least enable us to take the debate forward.

In view of the critical importance of these questions to the future of the British economy, and the gravity of the debate on renewable energy, I propose to take the liberty of publishing this letter, and I will of course plan also to publish any reply I receive from you.

With kind regards.



UKIP Energy Spokesman

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39 Responses to Why is DECC clinging to wind?

  1. Spot on as usual, I await a reply with bated breath.

  2. Ilex says:

    Well done, Sir. Clear and concise, and very much to the point.

  3. Mary Young says:

    As always, Roger, straight to the heart of the matter

  4. turnedoutnice says:

    Unhappy about OCGTs vs CCGTs: you can use CCGTs at 60% output as standby without th thermal fatigue of the steam boilers.

    Trouble is, you need more of them [100/[100-60]] =2.5 times the number.

  5. Charles Wardrop says:

    Agreed indeed! One of the flaws of politics in practice is to cling to ideologically based activities, even in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence. Left wing Parties are usually guilty of that, and our wretched Coalition no less, despite its purported Tory input. Cameron and Yeo do not escape blame, though they claim to be Conservatives, Yeo being the more rational, as a knave!

  6. Don’t let this drop Roger, this is exactly the right approach.

  7. confused says:

    While you are at it why not ask how many members of Parliament (or their wivws/husbands/fathers in law) have investments/interests in wind enrgy production.

    • Sue says:


    • Russellw says:

      I seem to remember Roger has a solar installation. So do we, & for the same reason as him – better (subsidised) ROI than elsewhere. The same forces apply to wind (& MPs who may have it.) Don’t blame those who take advantage of the system.

  8. John Curtis says:

    DECC clings to wind trough a mixture of cupidity and stupidity. Far too many vested interests from the top down. Please do not let up the pressure on this.

  9. Mindworp says:

    Good on Roger, Hendry hides away in the background avoiding the blame, pushing Davey forward to sholder the flack………

    Hendry is Conservative Energy Minister so is a big part of the scam that desecrates Britain, about time he got fronted with some awkward questions…………

    Perhaps you would like to give Roger your answers on National TV in a one on one debate Charles…….

  10. edmh says:


    If you are interested in UK energy security and UK international competitiveness PLEASE READ

    The Western world is continually being pressured by propaganda and has widely enacted legislation about “Global Warming / Climate Change / Global Climate Disruption”. These definitions mean that any adverse weather event can be ascribed to “Climate Change” and thus be blamed on the destructive actions of Man-kind. The Catastrophic Climate Change Alarmists back every horse whichever way it runs.

    Nonetheless all Alarmist policy recommendations are only ever intended to control excessive Global Overheating by the reduction of Man-made CO2 emissions. It is not clear how reducing CO2 emissions would help save the world from a climate change towards cooling climate.

    This is the BLINDING PARADOX of Catastrophic Global Warming / Climate Change Alarmism.

    The paradox has been bought into or ignored by the minority of Western Nations including the EU and UK who are attempting to reduce their CO2 emissions and thus influence climate. That has to raise real questions:
    · What if CO2, whether naturally created mostly by the biosphere or man-made, is not a pollutant?
    · What if CO2 is a harmless and essential trace gas in the atmosphere, without which life on earth could not exist?
    · What if any extra atmospheric CO2 fertilises all plant growth and reduces all plant water requirements?
    · What if all mankind’s relatively small additional CO2 emissions do not affect the worlds’ climate in any significant way?
    · What if the whole Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming Cause / Religion is a hoax, negated by serious science?

    · Are the massive efforts and extreme costs already being expended and being planned by a few Western Nations reasonable?
    · Is it reasonable for a few Western Nations to deliberately commit themselves to the immense economic risks of damaged energy security and lost worldwide competitiveness for a theory that is much promoted but as yet unproven?
    · Is a partial and comparatively miniscule reduction of Man-made CO2 emissions from few nations with doubtful effects on world temperature justifiable at all?
    · Are controls on CO2 emissions a rational way to save the World?
    · And what precisely is the World being saved from?

    A warmer world with higher levels of CO2 is probably a rather better, more agriculturally productive world, with longer growing seasons and with less violent weather. This was certainly so in the earlier Medieval and Roman warm periods.
    · And as the remedies proposed and already in effect are so vast and so onerous:
    · Where is or rather was the open-minded due diligence?
    · Where are the full cost benefit analyses?
    · Do the participating governments have robust contingency plans for when their lights go out?
    · Do the participating governments understand that with reducing sunspot activity, the world has entered a period of natural cooling?
    · Do the participating governments understand that that a cooling, rather than a warming, world will lead both to more extreme weather events, perhaps as we are seeing, now and also to huge deprivation for much of mankind worldwide?

    Instead it is reasonable that any current global warming is within normal limits, is probably beneficial to Mankind, or sadly may be not now even be occurring at all.

    The probability is that any current global warming is not man-made and could be not be influenced by any remedial action, however drastic, taken by mankind, particularly by a small minority of Nations.
    That prospect should be greeted with universal and unmitigated joy.
    If it is so:
    · all concern over CO2 as a man-made pollutant can be discounted.
    · all CO2 reduction targets become irrelevant
    · all renewable energy alternatives are unnecessary and expensive for consumers
    · it is not necessary to damage the economies of Western world’s to no purpose.
    · any extra CO2 is already increasing the fertility of all plant life on the planet
    · if warming were happening it would lead to a more benign and healthy climate for mankind.
    · a warmer climate within natural variation would provide a future of greater opportunity and prosperity for human development. This has frequently been proven in the past and would especially benefit the third world.

    The sooner this is realised, in spite of the media propaganda, public relations efforts, lost academic credibility and the huge business and government monetary capital already invested, the sooner the Western world can be released from its self-imposed, economically destructive straightjacket.

    • Lt. Columbo says:

      Very Good, and Lord Monckton prepared
      a House of Lords briefing paper which was
      circulated to all those in “The Other Place” way back in 2009.
      Temperature Change and CO2 Change – A Scientific Briefing
      was published at the SPPI website, and can be read or get PDF

      It seemingly had some effect, because a number of “Thier Lordships”
      have since asked many awkward questions, and have clearly altered
      their viewpoint on these matters.

    • I’ve just been at a GWPF lecture with Steve McKintyre, with data demonstrating there’s no correlation between extreme weather events and Global Warming.

    • dougieh says:

      very good summery of the state of play – the West is stuffed until people like Roger & others reach Joe Public with this obvious (to some) viewpoint.
      times are hard for a lot of folks, now is the time for the little people (me & you) to ask for hard evidence before all our parents/grandparents taxes/hard work to make this country better for their offspring is pissed down the drain or straight into the pockets of spivs.

  11. Phillip Bratby says:

    Another excellent letter. Well done sir, and keep at it.

    Whenever I write to Hendry, I get the usual drivel back from some DECC minion.

    • Lt. Columbo says:

      Exactly so, they NEVER answer such questions. Yet the minion is under the same obligations in Law as the Minister. If the “drivel” demonstrates a lack of due diligence or the statements might not be true, and if the person making those statements knew that they might not be true, and somebody lost or gained as a result then a Fraud may have taken place.

  12. Phillip Bratby says:

    Furthermore, we know from FOI requests that DECC has never done the analysis to show whether wind power actually reduces CO2 emissions. The wind farm scam was a policy introduced without due diligence as to whether it would do what the wind industry lobby group claimed.

  13. edmh says:

    I have not forgotten watching Hendry in the house saying he / DECC rely on the Stern report and the IPCC. When will they consider some real questions?

  14. Sue says:

    Fantastic letter! Well done. Keep up the fight!

  15. Carol Tristram says:

    Thank you for this concise and clear letter, putting into understandable words what many of us feel. As well as the economics of wind power, the desecration of vast swathes of the British countryside not only by the turbines but also by pylons and other infrastructure needed to connect turbines to the national grid is of great concern to so many people. Keep up the good work.

  16. Roger. You are proving that not all politicians are taken in by this scam and scandal. I understand over 160 have now agreed with Chris Heaton-Harris MP. The ‘policy’ mentioned above was co-drafted by vested interest groups.

  17. IMHO the alleged lack of ‘due diligence’ and the ensuing massive financial burden on consumers should be regarded as “malfeasance in public office” ? Call in the NAO to investigate.

  18. Brenda says:

    Our esteemed Energy Minister in Scotland, as on previous occasions, was quoted in the Press the other day following consent of yet another windfarm as stating “Once it is up and running the wind farm will save thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide each year and will produce enough electricity to power more than 30,000 homes.” No point people like me writing to our Govt. as they have a set of stock irrelevant replies. How do they get away with repeating this nonsense?

  19. Neil Craig says:

    Windmillery produces power about 10 times the cost of nuclear.

    But it is worse than that. Most of the cost of nuclear is regulatory. During the 1970s the cost of nuclear plants went up 10 times in America as prices went up 2.2 times & regulatory ratcheting continues. Thus it looks, counting conservatively, as if nuclear power cost coulf be reduced by a further 75%. Because of the close correlation between electricity production and GNP growth I know of nobody who actually disputes that a free market in energy, including nuclear, would get us out of recession and into fast growth very quickly.

    • Lt. Columbo says:

      And you can’t make building blocks, and roof tiles, for houses and office blocks and factories etc. from the “waste” fly-ash produced by a windmill, erm because there isn’t any. There aren’t any windmill powered steel mills or aluminium smelters either. Nor is there any limestone quarrying powered by wind explosives, or crushed for cement making by wind powered crushers, or indeed any large scale industrial processes. So then a windfarm isn’t even capable of generating enough power to “reproduce itself”. So in that respect a “100MW” wind turbine isn’t even as powerful as a blackfaced hill sheep !

  20. Money is a representation of effort. Effort is energy expended. Therefore, something which costs more i.e. very expensive electricity generation also pollutes more. More energy is required to power the effort to produce the money to finance the building of these windmills. So before they even generate any electricity they have already polluted more than they could ever hope to recover from during the short lifecycle of each unit. If the cost to the consumer is higher then they have to make more effort, use more energy to have the money to pay the higher bills.

  21. Nial says:

    One other point.
    If the proportion of our power contributed by wind increases much, additional gas fuelled power stations to provide the back up will have to be built.

    It would be much cheaper/sensible just to build the gas fuelled power stations.

  22. Lt. Columbo says:

    Again Mr. Charles Hendry MP needs to be aware of the Law. The UK Fraud Act 2006 makes his position crystal clear, and should he make statements that are not true, or even if they might not be true, and as a result if any person were caused a loss, or subjected to the risk of a loss, or if as a result a gain was made for himself or another, then a breach or breaches of the Act have taken place.

    videlicet :

    Fraud Act 2006 (c. 35)
    2 Fraud by false representation
    3 Fraud by failing to disclose information
    4 Fraud by abuse of position

    2 Fraud by false representation
    (1) A person is in breach of this section if he—
    (a) dishonestly makes a false representation, and
    (b) intends, by making the representation—
    (i) to make a gain for himself or another, or
    (ii) to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.
    (2) A representation is false if—
    (a) it is untrue or misleading, and
    (b) the person making it knows that it is, or might be, untrue or misleading.
    (3) “Representation” means any representation as to fact or law, including a
    representation as to the state of mind of—
    (a) the person making the representation, or
    (b) any other person.
    (4) A representation may be express or implied.
    (5) For the purposes of this section a representation may be regarded as made if it
    (or anything implying it) is submitted in any form to any system or device
    designed to receive, convey or respond to communications (with or without
    human intervention).

    3 Fraud by failing to disclose information
    A person is in breach of this section if he—
    (a) dishonestly fails to disclose to another person information which he is
    under a legal duty to disclose, and
    (b) intends, by failing to disclose the information—
    (i) to make a gain for himself or another, or
    (ii) to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.

    4 Fraud by abuse of position
    (1) A person is in breach of this section if he—
    (a) occupies a position in which he is expected to safeguard, or not to act
    against, the financial interests of another person,
    (b) dishonestly abuses that position, and
    (c) intends, by means of the abuse of that position—
    (i) to make a gain for himself or another, or
    (ii) to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.
    (2) A person may be regarded as having abused his position even though his
    conduct consisted of an omission rather than an act.


    The olde “Nuremburg Defence” will prove insufficient in the
    face of the above, and “Parliamentary privilege” will not extend
    to bogus statements about phoney schemes, should that then
    prove to be the case. All MPs are compelled to exercise due
    diligence, and of course to exercise caution with regard to
    the provisions of at least Section 4 of the above Act.

    Should Government Ministers “Abuse their Position” by failing to
    exercise due diligence wioth regard to grants and subsidies given
    to wind farm operators and owners, for instance. Then they would
    be culpable, and in legal peril of a breach of Section 4 (2) of
    the Fraud Act 2006 (c. 35). A gain having been made by another,
    Conservative Tim Yeo MP, for instance, who rakes in almost
    £140,000 a year from the “renewables industry” while juggling
    his role as chairman of the select committee. Tim Yeo MP is in
    imminent legal peril also, and under other Sections, as well.
    The former environment minister, who is also president of the
    Renewable Energy Association, has criticised cuts in taxpayer
    funded subsidies to the green energy industry. Colleague,
    Charles Hendry, it would appear is only too happy to oblige.

    Am I wrong? I don’t think so…..

    ….. Oh and just one more thing 😉
    Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards?
    Shouldn’t he have noticed this?
    What is He doing about this?

  23. Phillip Bratby says:

    Lt Columbo:
    Are you aware of anybody associated with the wind scam being accused of fraud? We know that wind farm and wind turbine planning applications and associated documentation contain untrue and deliberately misleading information which is for the purpose of financial gain of the applicant at the expense of a loss of money by electricity consumers.

  24. Joe Public says:

    Thanks for your efforts of trying to reduce the electricity costs of all UK consumers.

  25. Another fine letter Mr Helmer. It can’t be too long before this scam is exposed for what it is – a total rip off of electricity consumers. It’s about time that governments were challenged based on the Aurhus Convention which requires all signatory countries (such as the UK) to demonstrate to the public that the claims they make for their environmental policies can be proven rather than assumed. This would stop all this nonsense of developers of wind turbines claiming CO2 reductions based on no evidence or facts whatsoever – they use a formula developed by BWEA/RenewblesUK which has no relationship to reality.

  26. tomgowans says:

    Do you think if I wrote to the DECC they would fund my Perpetual Motion Machine?

  27. Pingback: Infowars Wexford | Why is The Department of Energy and Climate Change clinging to wind?

  28. ogga1 says:

    Good blog Roger,
    The rake off from windfarms will back up a E.U pension in some cases very nicely,vested interest.

  29. Chris White says:

    when will they ever learn that these things are a waste of time. Those put out in the sea are just far too expensive to maintain, particularly if the weather is bad, there is no way an engineer could get out there to fix it. Those that are being put all over our lovely downs should never have been allowed. As usual this country lags behind everyone else. We should have learnt the lesson and gone nuclear. Why on earth can’t we have a new nuclear power station at Dungeness, which the majority of the residents want to provide work, and there is already a precedent set in that area. For God’s sake wake up you politicians

  30. Pingback: The Guardian defends wind farms. Badly. | Roger Helmer MEP

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