Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Concise and to the point. Kudos.

I would like to bring up a point sure to spark debate at New Scientist.  You say here at ET:

"going on to suggest that established producers are hostile to further penetration of wind in electricity generation because it deprives them of windfall gains on high spot prices."

So the MOE is good for consumers - but what about the big picture? We believe that, paradoxically, it spurs opposition to renewables among energy companies, and discourages investment in them.

Imagine you run a utility company with coal-fired or nuclear plants. From your perspective, wind power is causing you to lose out on the windfall cash previously provided by high spot prices at times of peak demand. Will you be inclined to look favourably on plans to increase the share of wind power in total electricity generation?

Many of the prime investors and project developers in offshore wind are indeed the very utility companies, with coal and other fossil fuels as well as substantial nuclear facilities, who take on the higher costs and risks.  RWE, E.On, Vattenfall, SSE (Scottish & Southern), Stadtoil, Dong, and onward... it seems you're inviting some backlash.

Figuring out the relative benefits and negatives regarding wind for a coal-heavy utility like RWE is complex.  I don't disagree that these utilities may at the top be somewhat hostile (or worse) to wind in general.  At the same time, they are often our current employers.

I'm meeting with one in less than an hour.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Thu Jul 29th, 2010 at 09:42:56 AM EST
This is a case of editorial simplification. Yes, major utilities invest in wind, partly as a result of public policy pressure, and perhaps because once the merit order effect of renewables gets rolling, better to be in on it. But happy about losing traditional sources of cash, surely not. And in some cases, possibly, willing to support attempts to talk wind (and other renewables) down?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jul 29th, 2010 at 10:45:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Precisely, and for that reason, i'm not going to comment further.

Except, if i was an international utility, i'd be pretty cool enjoying the fruits of a cake and eat it too scenario.

For us, continually, just one step after the other, we'll get it done.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Thu Jul 29th, 2010 at 07:22:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The big utilities had to be dragged into the sector, and they initially invested for PR/regulatory reasons rather than for industrial ones.

Now that the sector is reaching the size it has (ie bigger than anything else in terms of new build), that large numbers of utility engineers and managers are invested in the sector, and that utilities no longer have to deal with the grid stuff (having sold or split the grid from pruduction assets), they are much more actively supporting the sector.

The reality is that 50-80% of their investment budget in the next 10-15 years will go to wind, offshore in particular, a sector which has the kind of scale they like.

Wind power

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jul 30th, 2010 at 05:48:43 AM EST
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