Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally


EU imposed wind farms need to stop

Wind farms: Next stop, Ipswich

Mixed in with the furore over the Ipswich Tory Group trying to ban Twitter, there were several wind farm questions at the Town Hall Council meeting on Wednesday.

This was the reason for the public gallery overflowing into the main chamber, with additional seating needing to be brought out to cope with the demand. There were lots of irate South West Ipswich residents.
The irritation was because it is possible in the coming months planning permission will be granted for two 130 metres tall wind turbines on land owned by Ipswich Borough Council between Belstead and Pinewood, known as Thorington Hall. The planning authority is actually Babergh District Council but I believe Ipswich Borough Council has a democratic duty to listen and support residents in the Borough who will be affected by these pointless monstrosities. The residents who turned out last night are not very happy at all with the prospect of noise and shadow flicker impacting on their quality of life.
You see wind turbines have very little impact on the electricity grid. For large parts of the day they either don’t turn at all or need to be switched off if the wind is too fast. They are merely the playthings of watermelon politicians (green on the outside, red on the inside) to meet Co2 targets imposed by Brussels to meet non-existent anthropogenic global warming. Wind turbines are great at putting energy prices up rather than increasing the amount of energy available in the national grid. A socialist’s dream: more money for less benefit!
A watermelon spoke last night in the form of Labour’s Cllr Sandy Martin – the Fairer and Greener Ipswich Portfolio Holder (now there’s a USSR title if there ever was one!) – who discourteously answered the questions and concerns from residents by saying the potential erection of the wind turbines had nothing to do with him or Ipswich Borough Council as Babergh District Council was the planning authority. I suppose as the land owner the Council has no say at all in how their land is used?  Of course they do, and that is why ‘green’ energy firm ‘Partnerships for Renewables’ has been given permission by the Borough Council to site the wind turbines on their land!
Cllr Martin even had the audacity to say it would be improper for the Borough Council to put its views and that of its residents to the planning committee at Babergh. Why? I thought we lived in a representative democracy? Basically the socialists in Ipswich love anything to connected to make-believe global warming and Co2 emission targets and if it causes grief to the masses then so much the better.
This is what living by a wind turbine is really like:

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Time to bust open the Energy Cartel

Profiteering: Electricity and gas prices are going up

Just as the Arctic blast arrives and we find ourselves reaching for the thermostat, the ominous white envelope  lands on the doormat. I wonder what that could be.

Ah, yes, it’s your “friendly” energy company. With all six energy firms trying to scrape every bit of profit off the bottom of the barrel, they ONLY ever spend money on writing to you when they are telling you your bills are going UP. Anything else: go online or wait three hours for a call centre agent to pick up the phone.

And so it happened this weekend when I received said letter from nPower telling me my electricity was going up by 18% and my gas was going up by 16%. But it’s not their fault you see. nPower even had three stock excuses for ramming my energy bill up by NINE TIMES inflation. The first one is the real killer:

“It’s costing us more in taxes and obligations to carry out government environmental and social schemes”

Pointless: the reason your energy bills are going up

What “government environmental” means is wind farms. The energy companies are being forced by law to invest in “renewable” energy, i.e. wind turbines that don’t turn because of a lack of wind or they turn too fast because it is too windy and therefore have to be switched off unless they break.

So instead of adding more energy to the network, wind farms add next to nothing and instead cost you and I more in additional electricity charges. This is all to meet EU-imposed Co2 emissions targets for non-existent anthropogenic global warming. This may be the wet dream of politicians like Tim Yeo and John Selwyn Gummer who are raking in cash from their various directorships of “green economy” companies but for us mere mortals all it means is a higher energy bill each month so our political elite can keep dining in Brussels. In fact, temperatures haven’t risen since 1997 and the last few winters have been perishing with the Met Office predicting another particular cold one this year.

On top of pointless green policies, which reek of a money-making exercise for the enlightened elite bordering on corruption, it is becoming clearer the big six UK energy firms may be in cahoots with each other. In other words, they may be operating a cartel. No real competition exists. Each firm puts up their charges by the same amount. If you switch, you might get an introductory bonus in the form of “cashback” but you will soon be dragged back into a punishing rate with the only option being to go through another painful switching process if you want to save a few pounds. Not worth the effort and the big six know this.

Of course, if any energy firm talks to another about their prices, they would be committing an offence under the Competition Act 1998. People can go to jail for breaking this law. My question is why are we seeing so little enforcement from the government regulator, Ofgem? Surely there is enough anecdotal evidence of wrongdoing. Ofgem did in fact start an enquiry into profiteering two years ago but since then they have gone very quiet.

Well the tipping point is coming as David Cameron saw when he quipped in the House of Commons energy firms will be compelled to give customers “the lowest tariff”. The PM then quickly backtracked when he realised the government hadn’t actually worked up a policy yet. But in any case, does he really think bills will come down if the big six are forced to offer the lowest tariff. All these profiteering firms will do is dump the majority of their price plans and offer one tariff at the highest charge they can with all six energy firms conveniently offering the same price: a big fat high price!

What we need is real competition. The market needs to be opened up to tens of more firms to dilute the influence the big six have. Currently, no free market exists and it is just another case of capitalism only working for the few, not the many.


Household energy costs set to rocket

As if our electricity and gas bills weren’t high enough already, the Coalition Government – who you have probably guessed by now I am not particularly happy with – have carried on as if Chris Huhne was still the Energy Secretary and decided to press on with an Energy Bill to encourage more “investment in low carbon generation and clean energy”. In other words, wind farms. But where will the money come from for this “investment”. Do you think the nice people at npower or E.ON are going to cough up themselves? No, of course not. They are going to put up your energy bill to pay for those turbine monstrosities.

So, for the Coaltion Government to be able to meet EU carbon emission targets for non-existent anthropogenic global warming, they are going to force the energy cartel that provides our electricity and gas to whack our bills up to the tune of an extra £200 a year according to the independent Committee on Climate Change.

I was having a chat with my MP, Ben Gummer, last weekend and I politely advised him that talking of climate change in his weekly missive in the Morning Ipswich Star (not online) was not such a great idea. Most people in urban centres in the provinces don’t care for climate change when we are experiencing the coldest May for a century and they especially don’t like paying ever higher energy bills to ward off non-existent global warming. Mr Gummer listened carefully and told me that the Queen’s speech was going to have a Bill in it to “reform the energy market” and I thought at the time that is not the same as saying there would be a Bill to tackle the exorbitant energy bills his constituents have to pay. I know Ben Gummer’s views well as I selected him to be the Conservative Party Ipswich parliamentary candidate in 2007 so I took his reassurances with a large pinch of salt. My doubts were well placed when the Queen spoke a few days later.

The Government did indeed, through Her Majesty, say the Energy Bill will “reform” the electricity market but it won’t be the type of reform that will have a positive disruption. It won’t break up the energy cartel and force down prices – quite the opposite.

This is another example of the Coalition’s priorities and leadership being woefully lacking. The economy is in a complete mess – the BBC Question Time panellists last night, including the hapless Caroline Spelman, the repulsive Chris Bryant and the arrogant Lord Oakeshott didn’t have a clue on how to bring back growth to our industries. Only The Daily Telegraph columnist Peter Oborne had a partial solution – the orderly break up of the Eurozone.

So whilst our economy flat lines, the Government still has time to put in a Bill on House of Lords Reform and, as if people weren’t suffering enough, an Energy Bill which will increase our electricity charges once again in the service of our EU masters.

It would seem our Prime Minister, David Cameron, has learnt nothing over the last week.