Europe Ditches Crazy Wind Power Targets


Eat up while you can big fella – the trough’s about to run out.


It seems the European member states are fast catching up with the insane costs of their efforts to cover every inch of their turf in giant fans. Now they want out.

As Oxford don, Dieter Helm pointed out (see this post) “wind power is staggeringly expensive” and “among the most expensive ways of marginally reducing carbon emissions known to man”. Europeans have had enough and their political betters are lining up to quell a brewing energy disaster.  Here’s The Telegraph on Europe’s moves to pull the plug on its subsidy fuelled-fiasco.

European Commission to ditch legally-binding renewable energy targets
The Telegraph
Bruno Waterfield
22 January 2014

Climbdown on setting mandatory national targets, enforced in the EU courts, will be welcomed by Britain

The European Commission is to ditch legally-binding renewable energy targets after 2020 in a major U-turn and admission that the policy has failed industry and consumers by driving up electricity bills.

A Brussels paper on the European Union’s “2030 framework for climate and energy” will instead propose binding targets to reduce carbon emissions without imposing requirements on how the reductions are made.

The climbdown on setting mandatory national targets, enforced in the EU courts, will be welcomed by Britain, which argued to allow countries to keep the choice of how best to reduce CO2 emissions as a matter of national sovereignty.

“It is good to see that the EU has learned the lessons of the current targets that imposed top-down renewable energy targets,” said a Government source.

“The UK’s priority has been to avoid measures that restrict choice in the energy mix for policies that allow countries to pick the most cost-effective route to cut carbon emissions.”

On Tuesday night, the commission remained divided between “those arguing for ambition” with a 40pc target for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and others “arguing for prudence” by setting a lower goal of 35pc.

Commission officials confirmed that the proposal would come “without binding national targets to avoid over-subsidies” of expensive renewable energies such as wind farms and solar panels.

Environmentalists have accused the commission of “dancing to the tune of the big polluters and energy guzzling firms” by dropping the target.

“The EU must set ambitious targets in line with the latest science for tackling climate change, as well as mandatory goals for renewable power,” said Asad Rehman, a spokesman for Friends of the Earth.

A 2009 EU directive set the objective of ensuring that 20pc of the energy used by 2020 should come from renewable sources.

Quotas sharing out the obligations across the EU meant that Britain was set the binding target of ensuring that 15pc of its energy demand must be met from renewable sources before the end of the decade.

The binding target for renewable energy has probably had more impact on how power is generated and the bills paid by households in Britain than any other single piece of EU legislation.

The cost of subsidising new renewable energy technologies, such as onshore and offshore wind farms, has been blamed for soaring energy costs for industry and consumers across the EU.

One recent study estimated that every British household faced an average of a £400 increase in energy bills over the next six years to pay for subsidies under controversial Government plans to hit the EU’s renewable targets.

Douglas Carswell, the Conservative MP for Clacton, praised the commission’s recognition that setting targets had failed but criticised the EU for reaching the conclusion “a decade too late”.

“This illustrates a more fundamental problem with decisions taken by remote EU officials who take years to realise how wrong they were,” he said.

In a report to be published on Wednesday, alongside the climate change strategy, the commission admits that European energy prices are much higher than in the US, India and Russia, the EU’s main economic competitors.

The report finds that retail power prices have risen 65pc between 2004 and 2011, more than double the inflation rate of 18pc during the same period.

One draft version of the report, seen by The Telegraph, forecast that prices would continue to steeply rise by 20pc for electricity and 30pc for gas until 2030 with the cost of energy, only falling back to the current levels by 2050.

“It is a real concern that Europe is becoming progressively out of step with the countries with which it trades. This makes our industries less competitive and the costs for households greater,” said Energy UK.
The Telegraph

STT doesn’t blink when people talk about wind power being a source of “renewable” energy.  If you’re happy to have power delivered at crazy, random intervals – then knock yourselves out.

But “renewable” has got nothing to do with reducing CO2 emissions. Those concepts don’t belong in the same paddock.

Wind power’s sole purported environmental “benefit” is the reduction of CO2 emissions – which is the ONLY justification proffered by wind weasels and their parasites for the enormous subsidies and spiralling power costs suffered by power punters – wherever giant fans have gone up.

Wind power can not – and will never – result in any significant reduction in CO2 emissions – simply because its notional “nameplate” capacity has to be backed up 100% of the time with the same amount of capacity from power generation sources, available on demand.

In practice – in Australia – that means there has to be capacity (equal to the Eastern Grid’s wind power capacity of 2,660 MW) kept as “spinning reserve” by thermal gas and coal-fired power plants – and highly inefficient fast start up Open Cycle Gas Turbines and diesel generators.


Thermal generator (coal-fired). Gas is used to fire boilers, too.


“Spinning reserve” involves thermal generators continuing to burn gas or coal to keep boilers producing steam, but disengaging the turbine, which lies idle.  The steam produced is literally vented to the atmosphere and wasted.

When wind power drops out without any sensible warning (as it does every day of the year) the grid manager directs the thermal generators to engage their idle turbines and throw their spinning reserve power into the grid.

For short bursts – of around 5 or 6 hours – when there is a significant contribution from wind power to the grid – although, usually at night – thermal generators are forced out of the market – wind power gets absolute grid priority over all other sources due to the mandatory Renewable Energy Target (see our post here).  But, as soon as the wind stops blowing – and wind power output collapses – thermal generators with spinning reserve are called on to take up the slack in a heartbeat.

For thermal power generators, ramping output up and down to compensate for the wild fluctuations in wind power output means their plants operate much less efficiently (see our post here).  Holding sufficient spinning reserve to compensate for the inevitable moment when wind power output drops each day and – on plenty of occasions – for days on end – means that millions of tons of coal are being burned in Victoria each year without producing a single spark (see our post here).

“Renewable” energy wind power might be, but it will never deliver on its central promise – and that’s reducing CO2 emissions.  And that’s a FACT.


Not to be confused with wild and extravagant promises.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. cornwallwindwatch says:

    Reblogged this on Cornwall Wind Watch.

  2. Jackie Rovenksy says:

    Europe’s slow realisation of the uselessness of IWT’s and the consequential cost to users upholds the fact – when these stupid targets were being discussed in meetings, such as Kyoto, no one sat back and asked the questions – what is the best way to achieve these targets that does not destroy our economy and lives of our citizens?

    You would have thought these questions should have been the first and foremost ones they would have asked, as those who are responsible for the nation’s welfare.

    Basic questions never asked – following along like puppy dogs behind ideologically demonstrably stupid people, who have no understanding of how their ‘vision’ for saving the world could destroy it.

    STT keep up the great work of informing us of what is going on, and how the stupid acts of a few have created so much damage for so many.

  3. Another excellent article STT! Thank you for explaining so plainly the concept of back up power generation. We just need to keep getting the message out there & eventually people will come to understand more fully the complete waste of money & blatant lies that the wind industry have been feeding the general public for far too long!


  1. […] that wind power cannot and will never reduce CO2 emissions in the electricity sector (see our posts here and […]

  2. […] In a widely dispersed, distributed power generation network – like Australia’s Eastern Grid – this means having sufficient reserve capacity to increase generation output (and, therefore, input to the grid) on a second by second (or minute by minute) basis to maintain “frequency”. This is done largely with “spinning reserve” held by base-load gas and coal thermal plants – which can be added to the grid in seconds – and hydro generation, which can be called upon to start generating within minutes (see our post here). […]

  3. […] claims about reducing CO2 emissions are patent nonsense. We sent these notes home last month about spinning reserve and […]

  4. […] Because wind power can only be ever delivered at crazy, random intervals – 100% of its capacity has to backed up 100% of the time with spinning reserve and inefficient OCGTs – which can be deployed in a heartbeat to keep the grid balanced — and the lights on – whenever wind power output varies or disappears altogether (see our post here). […]

  5. […] Because wind power can only be ever delivered at crazy, random intervals – 100% of its capacity has to backed up 100% of the time with spinning reserve and inefficient OCGTs – which can be deployed in a heartbeat to keep the grid balanced — and the lights on – whenever wind power output varies or disappears altogether (see our post here). […]

  6. […] gas without generating a single spark just to hold sufficient “spinning reserve” (see our post here) to cover wind-watts when they disappear every day and, frequently, for days on end (see our posts […]

  7. […] STT followers are acutely aware of the FACT that close to an equal amount of wind power capacity has to kept as “spinning reserve” – which means coal or gas is being burned to keep boilers boiling without adding a single spark to the grid. This means millions of tonnes of coal and gas are being wasted (at enormous COST) – not to mention all that “dreadful” CO2 being pumped out for no benefit other than to allow wind power to (spuriously) claim it’s able to play with the big kids in the schoolyard (see our post here). […]

  8. […] with spinning reserve (chewing up millions of tonnes of coal without generating a single spark – see our post here) and high cost, inefficient fast start-up OCGTs which can be cranked into gear at a minute’s […]

  9. […] stuff. Of course, while SA’s fans are having a holiday, the shortfall is being made up by spinning reserve called in from gas or coal thermal plants; highly inefficient and insanely expensive OCGTs and […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: