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« Today does climate sensitivity | Main | Hefce misuses public funds »

What goes around...

It has long been noted that country landowners are using wind farms to make small (and large) fortunes at the expense of the poor. The big political parties are relaxed about this of course, and no doubt the landowners are pretty pleased about it too. However, things may be changing:

THE leader of the Scottish ­Government review of landownership yesterday pledged to examine ways of redistributing the cash wealthy lairds make from wind farms to benefit the less-advantaged.

Alison Elliot, chair of the Land Reform Review Group (LRRG), said the issue would be investigated amid concerns that aristo­crats are benefiting from the renewables revolution while the poor grapple with fuel ­poverty.

This will be interesting. The poor will still be fleeced for the fuel bills, and then the money will be clawed back in some way and handed out, no doubt to "community groups" or other politically connected bodies.

The winners will be the bureaucrats, as ever.

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Reader Comments (23)

If the land owners didn't make loads of money from the wind farms, then what would be their incentive for building them?

May 16, 2013 at 5:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

The only solution would be to remove the subsidies all together. Then not a single wind turbine or solar panel would be erected. An alternative solution would be to make the owners of intermittent generators build an equal capacity of despatchable generators and provide firming generation. This would have the same good result.

May 16, 2013 at 5:32 PM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

They're aware wind is suffering terrible PR. This is just 'feel-good' spin, designed to divert attention from the fact the damn things fleece everyone else and are bloody useless.

May 16, 2013 at 5:38 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

Remove the subsidies. Problem solved.

May 16, 2013 at 5:40 PM | Unregistered Commenterfenbeagle

How about bringing in a windfall tax?

May 16, 2013 at 6:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterTimozweb

To those rent seeking insiders who have been sopping up the public's money for their landscape destroying monuments to hype:

May 16, 2013 at 7:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

What I don't understand is, if you or I had a house on land that was needed for development, we would be the subject of a compulsary purchase order.

Why are land owners not subject to the same process?

May 16, 2013 at 7:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterMr Bliss

Either stop the subsidies or require renewable energy to behave exactly like conventional sources - prevent them from dumping energy into the grid. There already is a way wealthy people have some of their income redistributed and that is through income tax and national insurance.

Politicians decided to throw our money at this problem and it was always going to benefit those who have land on which to construct the windmills at the expense of everybody else.

May 16, 2013 at 7:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

The way to solve the problem with windmills is to demand that energy supplied to the grid has a maximum peak to mean ratio. Mathematically, this is a low pass filter so that wind energy doesn't destabilise the grid.

We should do this by retrospective legislation whilst mediating the pump storage or other means of absorbing peaks of energy output. It can be financed by a levy on the earnings so the investment can be done over the next decade.

The civil engineering is enormous, involving flooding much of the Lake District and the Scottish sea lochs with 700 feet deep dams. But it's the only way the windmills can save any fossil fuel use.

The Germans are doing the same. Spain has already done it and Denmark uses Nordic hydro to dump the peaks and has done so since 2005 whilst pretending it hasn't.

May 16, 2013 at 8:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

The thread running through many of the topics that we discuss here is that the Government uses taxpayers' money to bribe people to implement policy. The policy is normally so terminally stupid that it would stand no chance on its own merits.

The people who are bribed are normally those who can provide money, land or influence. The payback is usually huge at enormous cost to the taxpayer.

In order to grease the wheels of this corruption, an endless number of organisations are subsidised, again at the expense of the taxpayer. These bodies pretend to be independent experts and their role is to promote the political objectives and intensely stupid policies. The MSM is happy to perpetuate the nonsense because as we see, the same people are involved throughout.

The taxpayers have no voice since all of the political elite are busy fleecing them.

May 16, 2013 at 9:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat


Spot on. How do we stop it?

The thing that really annoys me is that they (the political elite) are so damn thick...well and smug.

Did their mothers not bring them up to have any humility?

May 16, 2013 at 11:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterSimonW

"It's all rich people's fault! Pay no attention to those men behind the curtain!"

May 17, 2013 at 1:40 AM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

Dunno how accurate the following figures are but they are probably not too far from a reasonable ballpark estimate of just how some despicable and economy-damaging individuals could be rewarded for their efforts (if they existed)
Hypothetically speaking , an elected representative of our democratic system earning £60k+ pa for their day-job may be in receipt of additional remuneration from non-government sources.
Plucking a number from outer space; say £135K pa.
I have no issue with any talented individual spreading their expertise widely and reaping the rewards as long as there is no conflict of interest.
If, for example, an MP who chairs the HOC Vegetarian council receives a stipend from UK shipbuilders and carpentry PLC Ltd then I will be profoundly disinterested.
Chairing the HOC Vegetarian council while raking in lodsa money from the 'Meat is Murder' lobby is a total different kettle of Brussels!
Ignoring the 60K+ from the taxpayer to 'sustain' democracy, £135K pa is circa the total income for 15-20 unemployed individuals.
If, and again hypothetically, an MP who is chairman of government "Energy and Climate Change" also happens to be in the pay of organisations with a dog in the E&CC fight would clearly be overemployed and, subsequently, rendered unemployed!
I am pleased that this situation could never arise in this wonderful democracy of ours, irrespective of which party, Conservative, Labour or Liberal, was in power.
Gawd bless you messrs Cameron, Milliband and Clegg

May 17, 2013 at 3:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

Greenfleecing, extorting sport of the royals and gentry class.

May 17, 2013 at 5:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterRob

BBc aregoing on about Puffins getting wiped out by Climate Change.Oh yeah right.But they do mention over fishing eventually.

May 17, 2013 at 8:26 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

I saw the puffin piece. Some poor presenter shivering on a dismal geordie shore telling us about how the fish are moving north because of the heat. Far from convincing.

May 17, 2013 at 8:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterRhoda

May 16, 2013 at 9:46 PM | Schrodinger's Cat

The most eloquent, succinct and damning summary of the whole renewable energy scam I have ever read.

Thank you.

May 17, 2013 at 8:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

If Scotland votes for independence, will there be a clause in the "Act of Unsettlement" requiring England to buy Scottish wind power? Or would Scottish generators find themselves competing directly with, say, French nuclear power?

May 17, 2013 at 8:36 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Great point, Michael H.
On independence their government should take on all the subsidy payments and we should just buy the power when we need it and/or it is price-competitive. Scotland would then serve as a pilot study for the consequences of trying to live with a high level of renewables.
MikeH (no relation)

May 17, 2013 at 9:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikeH

The thing which has always puzzled me is this: if politicians of all colours think wind turbines are so bloody wonderful, how come there isn't a 300ft jobbie on College Green..? Just think how low the distribution costs would be...!
Furthermore - even when the wind isn't blowing, it could be kept turning by all the hot air coming out of the Palace of Westminster...
I think I'll suggest it to Ed Davey...

May 17, 2013 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

I saw the puffin feature too - they just HAD to mention 'Climate change' - it just wouldn't have been the BBC otherwise, would it..?
Anyway - not sure the little blighters would know if it was forty degrees or minus twenty, three feet down a burrow..!

May 17, 2013 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

'...aristocrats are benefitting from the renewables revolution while the poor grapple with fuel poverty..'
Well - that does just about sum it up, Alison...!

May 17, 2013 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered Commentersherlock1

Two point struck me about this:
(a) Dr Elliot is an ex moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Nice to see the Church of Scotland getting exercised about subsidies being used to help the poor when down south we're rapidly covering our church roofs with solar panels (i.e. robbing Peter to pay Paul - in the biblical sense!)
(b) if the subsidies can stand conversion into charitable donations for the poor, then where do we stop with this? Are we going to add a levy for the poor to all electricity generation?

May 17, 2013 at 2:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

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