Published On: Fri, May 18th, 2018

Archive: All in it together? Prince Philip denounces competitors’ wind farms, then MPs act to increase the Royal bonanza derived from Charles’ much-loved EU Green Energy diktats

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First published at Luikkerland, February 2012

Last week, MPs from all parts of the Westminster Triumvirate, with the bulk consisting of 101 Tory backbenchers, wrote to David Cameron to urge the cutting of “subsidies” for onshore wind farms. In their letter they called for measures that could potentially increase the income of offshore wind farm owners and operators by directing a larger proportion of Renewables Obligation Certificate trading revenue to them.  Consequently, the Crown Estate stands to benefit because of the turning over of coastal Britain to offshore wind farms. In turn the Queen would benefit because of how the incoming Sovereign Grant, which replaces the Civil List and Grants-in Aid in 2013, is an arrangement whereby the Queen receives 15% of Crown Estate surplus as earnings.  The move by MPs comes after an outburst by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip, at the tail end of 2011, in which he bemoaned the existence of onshore wind farms. After what could be considered an unofficial declaration of the Royal position regarding what is effectively competition, the MPs’ letter fuels suspicion of a joined-up effort for the financial betterment of the Royal Family.

In a letter dated 30th January, and signed by Tory MP Chris Heaton-Harris “and 105 other MPs”, David Cameron was effectively made aware of the signatories’ election-prospect fears fuelled by the sky-rocketing energy bills now being faced by large swathes of voters in their constituencies. Sometimes known erroneously as “subsidies”, these extortionate price increases are due to attempts by the national energy supplying companies to claw back fines incurred for not earning enough Renewables Obligation Certificates (ROCs). ROCs are awarded by Ofgem to any energy generating company for supplying a certain amount of electricity from green energy sources, and can be sold to the big energy companies looking to meet their quotas. On the face of it, the protesting MPs were desirous to see “subsidies” – or the punitive energy price increases – cut, and, uncontroversially, they scapegoated onshore wind farms , which are perceived as being inefficient by an easily pleased electorate, as an area to recoup losses. In their letter they seemed to demand that onshore wind energy was made to rely less on the pockets of private individuals:

In the on-going review of renewable energy subsidies, we ask the Government to dramatically cut the subsidy for on-shore wind and spread the savings made between other types of reliable renewable energy production and energy efficiency measures.

The review mentioned in the MPs’ letter possibly refers to a process that first impacted on renewable energy subsidies in October 2011 when Chris Huhne, the then so-called Energy and Climate Change Minister, presented reform which was described as the “slashing” of renewable energy subsidies. The results of the changes clearly demonstrated that when there is talk of cutting subsidies for renewables, what is actually meant is that the value of the ROC is reduced.

It is a feature of the ROCs trading system that producers of different forms of renewable energy receive different numbers of ROCs for supplying 1 MWh of energy. For instance, on the outset of the scheme, onshore wind farms would receive 1 ROC for every 1MWh, whereas offshore wind farms would receive 2 ROCs.

As it stands, after the “2011 subsidy slash”, onshore wind power is worth 0.9 ROCs for every 1MWh of energy. On the other hand, the value of 1MWh of offshore wind-generated energy was not reduced, and remains at 2 ROCs. This means in straight competition, the producers of offshore wind power have to produce less energy to achieve a required number of ROCs. In turn, because they will inevitably have more ROCs to trade and therefore can sell them at cheaper rates, this means that off shore wind power producers will be more likely to sell ROCs to the national energy supplying companies when these organisations are trying to avoid paying a fine to Ofgem for not meeting their ROC quotas.

It could be argued, then, that if MPs are calling for onshore wind energy to be penalised further, they are, in reality, calling for a situation whereby wealth is more readily transferred from the public’s energy bills to offshore energy suppliers. Indeed, so that onshore wind farms could be competitive with lower ROC earning capability, more of them would have to be built – which is a development that the MPs seem to be against because they are also calling for more powers to allow the public to prevent the building of onshore wind farms.

A primary net-beneficiary of the overall scenario that the MPs have outlined as being desirous to them, and which they have mis-sold as being beneficial to the public, is the Monarch. Her household is about to start to receive income from the Crown Estates, and the Telegraph  recently described the earnings that could be expected from offshore wind farms after 2013.

The Royal family stands to earn millions of pounds… Last year, the Crown Estate, the £7billion land and property portfolio, approved an increase in the number of sites around the coast of England. The Crown Estate owns almost all of the seabed off Britain’s 7,700-mile coastline.

Experts predict that the growth in offshore wind farms could be worth £250million a year. Britain has 436 offshore turbines, but within a decade that number will reach nearly 7,000.

In October 2011, a Daily Mail article estimated that the actual earnings that the Queen could expect to see were in the region of £37.5 million per year as opposed to what they claimed was £30 million from the Civil List and (other grants). In actual fact, it is quite possible that the Mail was trying to underplay the impact of Royal wind farm income because the activist group Republic put the actual Civil List annual payment in the region of £14 million. This is the fixed figure of £7.9 million plus a single-digit millions figure drawn down from a reserve accrued from previous Civil List income.

The aforementioned Daily Mail article also quoted a source that claimed that “Charles has always believed the money from the Crown Estate was taken away from the family” which betrays how Charles harbours a notion of entitlement to the swathes of Britain as if it belonged personally to him. Indeed, the general impression inferred by the coverage of the Sovereign Grant is that vampirically reattaching to the Crown Estate was something that the current incumbents at Buckingham Palace have been extremely desirous of. Given this power-lust, It should perhaps then come as no surprise to learn that both Prince Philip and Prince Charles have a great dislike of the sort of onshore wind farms that represent competition to them, and a challenge to their absolutist fantasies. Both have refused to have them built on their land. In November 2011, Philip famously denounced onshore wind farms as “a disgrace”, and many a beguiled anti-wind power campaigner thought that he might be expressing displeasure about renewable energy in general. However, this is unlikely to be the case as Prince Philip has made previous remarks that could be interpreted as being about human population culling that mark him out to be a standard eugenicist disguised as a conservationist.

Prince Charles is an out-in-the-open supporter of EU green energy measures – of which the ROCs trading system is a derivative. In February 2011, a[n]… article [in these pages] described the return of Crown Estate revenue to the Royal Family as a possible reward for consistent Royal support of the EU project. The same article went on to discuss Charles’ very specific support for EU Green Energy diktats:

Furthermore, Charles has been more political in this area than is expected of him. He has made two controversial trips to Brussels to publically back our EU dictators. In 2008 in a speech to the European Parliament, Charles praised it and the European Commission for their work in the area of “climate change”. He told them that “determined and principled leadership has never been more needed. Surely, this is just the moment in history for which the European Union was created”.

In a very political speech to a “climate change” conference attended by EU President Van Rompuy in February 2011, he asked the EU to act to change attitudes in Europeans so that it was “cool to have less stuff”; a reference to making people go without property in a futile attempt to control the planetary atmosphere, and potentially explosive given his own enormous personal wealth. He also made oblique references to “climate change deniers” being “held accountable” in future – meaning that he would like to see opponents of his opinion punished like criminals – and he complained – perhaps to set up a straw argument, and perhaps also in a process of projection – about conspiracy theories regarding his apparent intention to “undermine and deliberately destroy the entire market-based capitalist system”.

Daily Mail: Queen’s wind farm windfall
Philip: 95% depopulation
Republic: Civil List figure
MPs’ letter
Philip: wind farms are useless
Explaining ROCs (1)
Explaining ROCs (2)
2011 renewables slashed

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