This post was inspired by a couple of comment posters who got in a discussion about Good Energy. Andre – in my opinion the claims (you refer to) of Good Energy don’t stack up. The idea that by selling existing green electricity to someone you can encourage someone else to build a wind farm is tenuous at best – though possible in theory. The biggest problem this theory faces in practice is that people thinking about building wind farms have no shortage of opportunities to sell their power – the market in the UK is very competitive for generators. And power companies are queuing up to buy green (and brown) energy.
On its very best case the Good Energy approach is indirect; it’s the second best way to go about bringing change – encourage someone else to do it. The first best way is to take responsibility yourself and build, that’s what all power suppliers should be doing. I believe these are just marketing claims to green up the product.
Tom mentioned the Westmills project. I know the Westmills project well, it started sometime around 1993, when I persuaded the farmer (Adam Twine) that he had a good site for a wind project. It’s taken an awful long time to get it off the ground, and I’m glad it’s finally up and running. But it hasn’t been held up though by an inability to get a power purchase agreement with somebody – far from it. In fact Westmills had a power purchase agreement many years ago with the government (under its NFFO scheme) and it spent some time getting out of that so that it could be more profitable now that ROCs exist in the world. The recent Good Energy purchase agreement did not make this wind farm happen – in any way. Anybody that tells you that is not being completely honest.
I’m not slagging Good Energy off, they work hard at what they do and they contribute, we’ve more in common than we don’t – they just don’t bring generation into being, they buy it once it is existing, or about to exist. I think it’s good to be clear on that.