Here we have the latest in the long tradition of cock-ups by those who are paid to know better than ‘we the people’, you know, Government Ministers …sigh
The ‘Feed in Tariff’ green initiative started by the last unspeakable Labour government (don’t get me wrong, this one is dreadful too – I’m not being partisan!) and continued by the coalition (subject to a current legal challenge).
What is so infuriating to me is that most people think that the ‘excess’ energy created under this scheme is ‘somehow’ fed back into the grid.
IT IS NOT!
The marketing leads us to believe but just that, but it is simply not true.
Power stations produce electricity at 25,000V. Electricity is sent through the National Grid cables at 400,000V, 275,000V and 132,000V. These high voltages are too dangerous to use in the home, so step-down transformers are used locally to reduce the voltage to safe levels. The voltage of household electricity is about 230V and any excess micro-generated electricity cannot be re-converted back up to a higher voltage because there simply are no step-up transformers to do the job.
Here’s what actually happens:-
- Rich landowners install loads of Solar panels in a field that used to grow food.
- They use some power themselves (if they can be bothered).
- Claim the 43p rate on all units generated – as shown by their new shiny meter.
- Claim an extra 3p for each unit they “don’t use”
- Any excess is NOT FED BACK TO THE GRID because nobody has installed the hardware to do it!
- This payment to the landowners is paid for by you and me and the truly “fuel poor”!
Q) Why this is? How could anyone, supposed to be in charge, be so very stupid?
A) The “Grid” is currently worth about £22 billion but is not owned by “we the people” (as it should be) because it was sold off by that dreadful Thatcher woman in 1990.
This very system has been used by Sam Cameron’s dad (for useless wind turbines), Sir Reginald the 8th Baronet Sheffield and a direct descendant of Charles II. Thousands of rich people earn cash from you and me because of the financially incompetent mistake. I have made the point, over and over again, in meBook, that our governments routinely make crass decisions over the use of our resources.
This so-called green enterprise is nothing of the sort. It simply raises electricity costs for all consumers cannot afford a micro generation capability (solar panels, wind turbines, heat pumps etc.)
Time after time clueless politicians have been screwed rigid whenever they try to do a deal with the private sector.
Thatcher selling our electricity grid in 1989
Thatcher selling our nuclear power stations in 1989
Blair / Brown selling our gold at an historic all-time low in 2002
So many more that it makes my teeth hurt!
Secondly, the FITs system is another example of the poor subsidising the wealthy. Those who have installed PV panels have done so because they can afford to and are claiming payments from all electricity users including the less-well-off in society. The fuel-poor will never be able to afford to install PVs but will continue to subsidise those who can.
Thirdly, the tariffs were set too high in the first instance, the 21p tariff is at a similar level to that paid in Germany.
I don’t always agree with George Monbiot but in this case I do:-
“We have plenty of ambient energy, but it’s not to be found on people’s roofs. The only renewables policy that makes sense is to build big installations where the energy is – which means high ground, estuaries or the open sea – and deliver it by wire to where people live. But the government’s scheme sloshes money into places where resources are poor and economies of scale impossible.
Though there’s a system to ensure functioning devices are installed, it can’t be long before thousands of petty criminals discover the perfect carousel fraud, bypassing their solar panels by connecting the incoming wire to the outgoing wire. By buying electricity for 7p and selling it for 44p (if you sell power to the grid rather than using it yourself, you get an extra 3p), they’ll make a 600% profit. Amazingly the government has decided not to measure how much electricity people are selling, but “to pay export tariffs on the basis of estimated (deemed) exports”. Elsewhere in its report it boasts of “encouraging a risk-based approach to audit and assurance”. Come on in, you crims, the door is wide open.”