Just when you thought the UK’s renewable electricity market couldn’t get any more ridiculous, along comes news that some of the small diesel power generators that Matt Ridley said are offering reserve electricity are actually owned by wind and solar farms.
In a traditional electricity market, consumers demand electricity, then coal, gas, nuclear or oil fueled power stations bid to supply it, and adjust their machines up or down to deliver their product, with a price set based on the level of demand and cost of supply. Simple.
However in a renewables-rich market, because wind and solar farms have no control, grid operators are required to ensure that extra generation capacity is held in reserve, paying generously for this back-up. With many traditional power sources banned, discouraged or run down, diesel is emerging to fill the gap.
It is the height of hypocrisy for wind and solar farms to take taxpayer-funded subsidies to generate so-called ‘clean’ wind and solar power with one hand, while accepting subsidies to generate diesel power with the other. Especially if this is a way to subvert proposed new rules to make wind and solar farms pay for intermittency costs.
If you are in business and you can’t deliver a product then you should close, and let someone else take your place. But if your customer is the government, they will probably pay regardless.