ROC and Roll Rip-offs

The ROC is the veiled subsidy paid to wind turbine operators. Every MW/hr generated by a turbine operator gains the turbine operator a ROC certificate. This certificate is then sold to fossil fuel generators. These fossil fuel generators are forced to buy these certificates or they have to pay a fine.

At the end of the day, due to the ROC, an on-shore turbine operator gets paid about double for the electricity produced. An off-shore operator gets paid triple.

If we ever managed to produce 20% of our power by wind it would account for at least 50% of the wholesale cost.

The naive political theory behind these massive subsidies is that they were supposed to kick start a whole new industry. This industry would then magically develop ever more effective and reliable wind turbines. (Oh Boy - do they need to be more effective and reliable!)

Unfortunately the truth is very far from the hype.

As the fairy-land theory goes, in the scenario of 100% "renewable" supply the ROC would become redundant, and we would have a vibrant industry developing and producing competitive alternative energy for us and the rest of the world.

Dream on.

Unfortunately this attempt at forced development neglects several very important aspects which are more related to physics and basic economics than political wishful thinking.

First, virtually all of the turbines purchased come from a group of foreign companies. These companies occasionally toss the odd manufacturing bone across the channel when is suites them. But as we saw in the Isle of Wight with Vestas, they are just as keen to maximise their profits at the expense of the workforce as any other ruthless faceless and foreign corporation.

Secondly no turbine in the current turbine fleet could possibly be economically viable without the ROC. The government has recently suggested a measly 10% reduction. This has flown into a hail of objection from the wind turbine lobby.

So if these things become unviable at a mere 10% reduction in the ROC how the hell are you ever going to get to a zero cost ROC? Remember these things are supposed to have a life of 25 years! They are still going to be at least as inefficient and ineffective in 10 -20 years time as they are now.

Of course we must also remember that wind turbines can never replace all fossil fuel generation. Many would say they cannot replace any.

Because wind can never replace much fossil plant there will always be a demand for the ROCs. So our wind turbine carpet bagger friends can always get a good return on their pieces of paper.

They simply have to ensure that their turbines don't actually do what they are hyped up to do. Bearing in mind the physics of the situation (aka Betts Law) this is the defacto situation anyway.

So get used to being ripped off. Until we get a government that is willing to stand up to this ugly wind energy cartel  the robbery will continue.

Bearing in mind how financially involved many senior politicians are with this outrage, change threatens to be a long time coming.

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