Here is the text of the letter by Wind Aware Ireland in today’s Sunday Business Post:
Wind Aware Ireland welcomes the examination by the Oireachtas Committee on Communications and Transport of the rise in electricity prices for Irish consumers and businesses (“Oireachtas Probe to ask why lower oil prices not reflected in electric bills” SBP January 11th 2015). The increase in PSO levies on electricity bills highlights one of the many incongruities of the wind energy/pylon debacle. Wind energy makes no sense environmentally, economically and socially and Wind Aware Ireland has consistently called for a full cost benefit analysis of the project.
Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland estimates that Ireland has saved €177 million in fuel imports due to wind energy. However, in order to prop up this uneconomical and unsustainable form of power and peat the consumer is now to pay €328 million through subsidisation. It doesn’t take a maths genius to work out that this is a net loss to Irish society of €151 million.
Wind energy, as shown from SEAI’s own figures, is incapable of either reducing CO2 or fuel imports in any meaningful way – saving 2.6% and 2.3% of overall emissions and imports respectively.
Ironically, some of the levies imposed are to go to the maintenance of two gas fired plants which are needed to ensure ‘security of supply’. In other words, because wind is intermittent and inefficient, we need a permanent backup source of power ready to be ramped up when the wind fails. CER explains that one of the gas plants, Tynagh, needed €69 million for 2014/15 to keep going. When the wind is blowing (at the right speed), wind energy pushes electricity from Tynagh off the grid as wind energy has priority onto the grid. The Commission for Energy Regulation state that ‘most of Tynagh’s allowed PSO costs are fixed rather than related to its output, so the less the plant runs and receives correspondingly lower revenue, the higher the PSO subsidy needed to cover its allowed fixed costs.’
We also have the ridiculous situation whereby the PSO, which supposedly supports ‘green’ wind energy, also props up electricity provided by peat generation which, supplying only 8% of our electricity, produces a disproportional 19% of CO2 emissions!
The Commission for Energy Regulation point out that although electricity wholesale prices are set to fall consumers cannot avail of this drop because: ‘A lower wholesale price ……results in the PSO plant needing more PSO money to cover their allowed costs, to offset the lower money they are predicted to receive from the market’. This policy will make Ireland uncompetitive as a country, closing down businesses, and with no demonstrable benefits to show.
We need a complete overhaul of the wind energy agenda, to which politicians, with a few notable exceptions, seem to be ideologically wedded. In addition, we need a separation of big business lobbying from the decision makers who have led us down this path of pure folly.
Wind Aware Ireland