SAS comment on news that Lords Stephen and Teverson have lodged an amendment to the UK Energy Bill to nullify Lady Clark’s ruling on licences;
We’re not surprised to see the amendments introduced to the Energy Bill because the wind industry has turbo-charged its lobbying to get round the Lady Clark ruling. However, as the Energy Bill is not expected to enter the statute books before July 2014, this is not (yet) the magic bullet nervous investors are looking for.
The Scottish Government has talked about the UK Government agreeing to “emergency legislation” to deal with Lady Clark. We believe the wind industry is still pushing hard for special legislation which will cancel Lady Clark’s ruling much more swiftly and decisively than proposed amendments to the Energy Act.
The Scottish Government is not only appealing Lady Clark’s ruling but has declared that it will ignore it until its appeal is upheld because it is so confident her interpretation is wrong. Why then does it need to get Westminster to change the law? The truth is Lady Clark’s interpretation of the Electricity Act’s requirement for Section 36 applicants to be licensed is very strong – the Act on this point is very clear – and no one really expects the Scottish Government to win its appeal next March.
By sponsoring a legislative change in parliament, the Scottish Government is implicitly admitting that Lady Clark is right, and of course that her ruling should stand now.
This contradiction shows how the Scottish Government is simply being bullied by the cowboys of the wind industry. If you don’t like the law, ignore it and hope no one tries to enforce it. If a judge does try to enforce it, get the government to ignore it. If the government can’t ignore it indefinitely, get the government to change the law. A responsible government would be much more respectful of the rule of law, and much more circumspect about changing it.
A major reason why OFGEM requires larger electricity generators to be licensed at the time of application is to ensure that only bona fide companies with proven financial track records are allowed to proceed. It is customary for wind farm companies to be shell companies with no past and few assets as this ensures minimum exposure to liabilities should the wind farm go wrong in some way or cease to operate.
Compared to other industries, wind farm companies have got used to operating with little effective regulation, both at the planning application stage and when operational, and have been able to ride rough-shod over local communities and councils.
The Scottish Government should be asking why the wind industry has in the past dodged being licenced and scrutinised, and why it is agitating for a change in the law now that it has been caught.
Lord Stephen’s chutzpah in bringing forward this amendment is chilling. His naked self-interest is self-evident. He is himself a wind developer who has taken full advantage of lax enforcement about OFGEM licensing and scrutiny of energy companies to a make a slew of speculative wind farm applications across Scotland.
As law is sacrificed to politics, which in turn is sacrificed to the greed of a few, it has never been clearer how much of our government is in cahoots with a wind industry whose only aim is to mop up billions in public subsidy as efficiently as possible.