Thursday, 16 July 2015

Gas Vs Wind - more inaccuracies

Joanne Daly, senior energy analyst at Vayu, said the continuing integration of wind energy onto the grid is assisting in reducing the amount of gas-fired generators used to produce electricity, which is typically more expensive than that generated from renewable sources.
The above was published in the Irish Times recently. It is a claim that has been stated so many times in Irish media outlets that people are actually believing it is true. Gas does not receive a fixed subsidy, renewable energy does. Gas receives on average €50 - €55 MWh, wind receives about € 80 MWh.

The Irish market works in such a way that all generators receive the same wholesale price. Then on top of this wind now receives about € 180 million from the PSO while gas receives about € 30 million :

So where is the evidence for Ms Daly's claim above ? 


  1. Unsurprising that Vayu's senior energy analyst claims that the continuing integration of wind energy onto the grid is assisting in reducing the amount of gas-fired generators used to produce electricity; it takes a certain type of "analytical" newspeak to go on to say that gas is typically more expensive than that generated from renewable sources.
    However, just look at whence this comes. Vayu is in the vanguard of the "Licensed Suppliers" administered by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) under Section 14 of the Electricity Regulation Act, 1999.
    Currently, there are 6 active electricity suppliers in the retail business market: Electric Ireland, Bord Gais Energy, Airtricity, Vayu, Energia and Endesa. There are 5 active electricity suppliers in the retail domestic market: Electric Ireland, Bord Gais Energy, Airtricity, Prepay Power and Pinergy.
    Any renewable generator who wants to benefit from the government REFIT subsidy scheme needs to have a Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) with a licensed supplier.
    And guess what? Vayu would be happy to sign up the operator of your local wind farm with a PPA.
    That is the outcome of their energy analysis.
    Bean counters rule OK.
    You and I have appointed them.

  2. You can't talk about fossil fuels and just brush under the carpet their impact and cost to the environment and human health. I had a skim over a recent IMF document (link below) and the subsidies in real terms are enormous. While the country level is not yet broken down, rest assured Ireland is paying a helluva lot.

    There is however an IMF report which does contain figures for Ireland for 2011 and there the figures speak for themselves:

    1. Of course there is pollution from fossil fuels but nobody complains that Germany sells Ireland lots of big cars.

      The NERA report gets it right - fossil fuels, particularly oil, contributes more to government coffers in taxes than it receives in subsidies. 50-60% of the price of petrol is tax in Ireland. As for wind, it receives much more subsidies than it contributes in taxes.

  3. We're talking about subsidies, not cars - keep on point.

    As I already stated above - wind does not receive much more subsidies than fossil fuels. When everything is considered, FF receive multiple of the subisides compared with wind.

    1. 1) It was yourself that brought up the off topic remark about the impact of FF on human health. I let you away with it that time, so please do not talk about keeping on point.

      2) A recent NERA report comparing the taxation and subsidy regimes applying to oil, gas, coal, wind, and solar power in the EU28 and Norway during the period 2007-2011 has found that EU28 (+Norway) governments receive far greater revenues from oil, gas and coal than these energy sources receive in the form of direct subsidies or other transfers. Oil is by far the largest
      contributor to government revenues. In contrast, wind and solar power are net recipients of support. Most people in Ireland who drive cars will recognise this fact - as I said the majority of petrol / diesel price is tax. This tax goes to the government. The tax on wind energy goes to the wind company.

      The NERA report can be accessed here:

  4. I brought up the comment about FF impact on human health because you seem so preoccupied with the fact that renewables hog an unfair share of support while on the other hand completely ignoring the massive cost to the environment and health, as well as economic competition that FFs create. It's a completely unfair playing field and for FFs to be playing the poor mouth in relation to support is quite the comedy. As I already wrote; the recent IMF report on subsidies shows the extent of these 'real' supports - they're absolutely staggering.

    You are putting a reference to a report which has been commissioned by the International Association of Oil and Gas Producer to support your argument on FFs!!!

    I've just had a quick look at that report; "On the order of €480 billion in revenues were collected by EU28+Norway governments in 2011 from the five energy sources". This sounds like a pretty big and impressive number until you see how much Europe paid for FF imports that year; €406 billion.
    Again, I have to say that if you want to find the true cost of subsidies then read the IMF report. Heck, even read the IEA's report on subsidies (which doesn't even include externalities) - the figures are still huge.

    I'm not going to at the moment argue the taxation items as I'm not up-to-speed on all the payments. I'm going to look at it though and I'll hopefully get a clear picture and post it then.