UK must not be at ‘mercy’ of international gas market

Energy watchdog Ofgem has revealed that despite opposition to onshore wind power it added less to energy bills than imported gas last year - which critics argue "dominates" the UK energy market.

Ofgem’s Renewables Obligation (RO) annual report for 2010/11, published today (March 14) shows that onshore wind added just £4.68 to the annual UK energy bill – an increase of 0.5%. In contrast, imported gas added about £120 to energy bills – an increase of more than 10%. In total Renewables Obligation (RO) was shown to increase a UK household annual bill by £15.15.

As a result, green energy supplier Ecotricity is urging the Government to take action to ensure the UK will not be at the “mercy” of the international gas market, saying that reducing the UK’s reliance on imported gas would boost energy security, as well as generating environmental benefits.

Ecotricity founder Dale Vince argues that supporting onshore turbines makes use of the UK’s “indigenous energy supplies”, adding that “this is an investment, not just in clean energy, but in energy security – reducing our reliance on imported gas”.

He adds: “Britain should not be left at the mercy of the international gas market. We have 40% of Europe’s wind resource. Let’s use it, to create jobs, industries, clean energy and independence from global energy markets.”

The total capacity of UK onshore wind stations accredited during the period was 1,112.5MW, with Scotland receiving the highest volume of accreditation, with 2,578 gaining approval – compared to 1,168 in England. Landfill gas generation accreditation was however lower in Scotland, with just 147 recognised, compared to 372 in England.

The report follows a letter by a group of more than 100 Conservative MPs to the prime minister David Cameron petitioning against onshore wind turbines and demanding cuts of £500m.

The letter states: “In these financially straightened times, we think it is unwise to make consumers pay, through taxpayer subsidy, for inefficient and intermittent energy production that typifies on-shore wind turbines.

“In the on-going review of subsidy for renewable energy subsidies, we ask the Government to dramatically cut the subsidy for on-shore wind and spread the savings made between other types of reliable renewable energy production and energy efficiency measures.”

Carys Matthews

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