Subsidies estimate wide of the mark

I WOULD just like to point out that Mr Farrar is somewhat wide of the mark in his albeit authentic-looking equations regarding the true subsidies paid to windfarm developers.

Unfortunately for him and the rest of us paying these subsidies, by claiming a figure of £25,000 per year he shows a complete lack of knowledge regarding the subsidy structure fueling the industrialization of our rural spaces.

The main subsidy paid to developers of wind energy in the form of the Renewable Energy Certificates (ROCs) is currently £45.67 per MWh (December 2011), which equates to 4.57p per KWh. Mr Farrar’s quote of 0.48p per KWh is almost 10 times less than the rate actually received. This brings the annual rate in subsidy alone for a single 3MW turbine operating at Mr Farrar’s quoted 19 per cent efficiency to around £250,000 per year.

My own estimation of the subsidy being in excess of £300,000 was based upon a slightly higher load efficiency than the 19 per cent Mr Farrar quotes.

Admittedly, this may have been rather optimistic when you consider that the turbines at Blyth achieved a pathetic 7.9 per cent.

While avoiding everyday consumables produced by companies experiencing financial difficulties may not be practical nor even appropriate, I would suggest that the implications of dealing with such fragile businesses involved in the construction of an industrial power station, which will have massive impact upon the asset of our region, certainly should be considered.

Indeed, I would have suggested that financial stability, including the deposit of a bond to de-commission the turbines once their agreed working life has expired (or more likely, when they break down), should be a major factor to be considered by Northumberland County Council at the first stage of any approved development.

If current government policy does not change, we all may need to get used to looking at these things.

But unlike Mr Farrar, I and many others are simply not prepared to sit back and accept it without a good fight.

John Tait, By email