Save Wigtown Bay, the action group formed to oppose plans for the ‘California’ windfarm near Carsluith, claim renewable energy company Ecotricity, the proposers, are misleading its customers on its website, something they strongly deny.
According to Ecotricity’s website, they provide the greenest energy in Britain based on the life-cycle emissions of their supply - 100% Green Electricity and the only energy company in Britain to supply green gas.
Save Wigtown Bay Chairman Martin Green commented: “This statement is wildly inaccurate and disingenuous. Ecotricity cannot control the source of the power their customers pay for. They have not got independent grid connections from their turbines direct to its customers’ homes. The power Ecotricity’s customers pay for is supplied from the National Grid, which is generated by a mix of gas, coal, nuclear and renewable. We also know that if the wind isn’t blowing, there could be no power available from its or any other wind operator’s turbines. The entire statement is farcical and Dale Vince should not be allowed to publish such careless spin.
“Ecotricity would not be in business without grants and subsidies, which we, the end consumer, are actually paying for. It is time people woke up to this fact. We call on Dale Vince to visit the people of The Machars and tell them exactly why his ‘California’ industrial turbine site is needed in the area. So far, he has declined our invitations. Maybe, by highlighting these more wide reaching errors, we might pique his interest to set the record straight - in person. We welcome a man who is purporting a ‘cow tax’ to leave his Cotswold fortress and visit our agricultural area which is highly dependent on cattle.”
An Ecotricity spokesperson said: “The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), who are responsible for vetting what companies say about their products and services, have approved the fact that Ecotricity have ‘Britain’s greenest energy’.
“Green electricity is always going to be better for the environment than conventional electricity, from fossil fuels and nuclear sources - which the Big Six and most independent companies supply. But not all green electricity is equal – some sources of it have a lower impact than others.
“The right way to measure this is through lifecycle carbon emissions, it’s a cradle to grave approach, taking into account the impacts of the manufacture and operation of the equipment in question – on a per unit of energy generated basis.
“Ecotricity provided this evidence to CAP and also describes on our website the methodology used in preparing these figures along with a list of the credible sources referenced for the emission factors that we used in our calculations.
“Mr Green may prefer to power his home with fossil fuels, but as a country we currently spend £50 billion annually simply to burn coal, oil and gas – money that mostly flows out of the UK.
“It’s a figure that is half our trade deficit and about £1,800 per household. Onshore wind on the other hand costs about £8 per household annually and this actually builds badly needed infrastructure that will supply energy for decades to come – it’s not simply burnt to power our immediate needs.
“Most people also don’t know about the Capacity Mechanism was introduced in December in a bid the encourage the building of new fossil fuel power stations, this will start by adding £11 to every household bill, but only 54p will go towards building new infrastructure because the majority of the subsidy was snapped up by existing power stations.”