Energy Bill

Written evidence submitted by Dr Alan Lennon (EB 01)

Submission on the Energy Bill

I live in rural N Ireland. Although not directly affected by the provisions of the Energy Bill to end on-shore wind subsidies in April 2016 in England, it is likely that the N Ireland Assembly will have to follow suit for cost reasons.

I strongly support the ending of the ROC subsidies, at the earliest possible date.

The N Ireland countryside is blighted by wind farms and (worse) large numbers of single turbines, often no more than 250 metres from residential dwellings.

 

Planners and local politicians are blind and deaf to some basic economic facts and the destruction of beautiful landscapes, and seem messianic in pursuit of more and more on-shore turbines. One MP explained to me that it is, in truth, a subsidy for an under pressure farming community

In N Ireland the government target for 2020 is for 1200 MW of wind energy, representing the bulk of a target of 40% of consumption by renewables. Most other renewables have been squeezed out by laissez faire planning approvals and subsidies for on shore wind.  

In fact, according to SONI the system operator, more capacity than is needed to meet the 2020 target of 1200 MW has already been planning approved and is either in operation, built or formally contracted to be built. Furthermore, a paper to government by consultants Ricardo exposes the massive marginal costs to N Ireland in achieving penetration of more than 25% of demand from wind because of grid strengthening costs. This 25% penetration was passed long ago, in planning approval terms. 

N Ireland bill payers with the highest level of fuel poverty in the UK continue to subsidize the achievement of an expensive wind capacity target, already met, in planning approval terms. The N Ireland government cannot see what is plain to the UK Government: that the targets are going to be met through an already contractually committed planning and construction pipeline. 

The provisions of the Energy Bill for England represent a chance of relief for N Ireland bill payers as the ending of the UK subsidy in England will expose N Ireland to the full cost of maintaining NIROC, and thus bring it to an immediate end.

January 2016

 

Prepared 21st January 2016