Reality Returning to the Energy Debate

The following remarks are summarised from recent events in energy policy, including my interpretation of James Delingpole's article in the Daily Telegraph, 1 Nov 2012, and information from George Wood, ex-Grid Controller.

It is good to hear that John Hayes is now the Coalition's new minister at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. He has recently said that wind turbines can no longer be imposed on communities regardless of local feeling.

He has also pointed out that wind energy is nothing like as cheap, as reliable or as effective as its proponents claim.

Hayes has commissioned two reports into wind energy. One is to look at the health effects of low frequency noise. The other is a broader survey on the way wind farms affect the rural economy, tourism and property values.

The mainstream media have not been presenting wind energy objectively over the recent past, especially the BBC. Most people still don't know enough about wind power to be able to weigh it up objectively.

In a recent poll, the majority of those surveyed said that they wanted more wind power, not less. Among the reasons they gave were that wind power gives us energy security, that it creates jobs, and that it reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

None of these alleged benefits stands up to scrutiny, but for years, these misleading claims have been promoted by the BBC, DECC, energy ministers, and most of the mainstream media.

For example, DECC's website hardly mentions the effect of wind farms on property values. There is plenty of evidence that a nearby windfarm removes about 10% to 25% of a house's value; some homes actually become unsaleable. This has been confirmed by the Valuation Office Agency, which has moved a number of affected homes into lower Council Tax brackets.

In Denmark, the government compensates home owners affected in this way. There is no compensation in the UK.

Wind turbines create a small number of green jobs, mainly for foreign workers involved in wind farm construction. The heavily subsidised green jobs created are a sham, because wind energy on the Grid artificially inflates the price of energy without contributing anything to the economy. The Prime Minister's father in law, Sir Reginald Sheffield, is reported as receiving 1000 a day from the 8 turbines on his Lincolnshire estate, whilst those who live near to wind farms pay by seeing their property values decrease.

One way of ending the wind energy fiasco would be to end the subsidies which support it. The last time this was attempted, the renewables industry threatened to pull its business from Britain. However it was an empty threat, because the business makes no real contribution to the economy; it is parasitic and would not exist without subsidy.

To summarize: wind energy inflates energy prices, drives the vulnerable into fuel poverty, slows down our economic recovery, and produces low frequency noise which can cause serious health problems for those living in the vicinity of a turbine.

It doesn't even reduce carbon dioxide emissions because wind energy, being intermittent and unreliable, requires nearly 100% back-up from fossil fuel - the so-called 'spinning reserve', and we have now gone past the point where further deployment of wind-turbines in the UK can offer any carbon emission savings at all.

Above this break-even threshold, every 1MW generated by a wind turbine de-loads a conventional power plant or gas turbine by 1MW. Because conventional generators are already de-loaded for a significant proportion of time, through each day and each year, their efficiency is lowered further and causes more CO2 to be generated than saved.

Once these truths become widely known, the wind industry will become unsustainable.

Then perhaps we will get a policy capable of delivering the energy we need at an affordable price.

habitat21, with acknowledgements to James Delingpole and George Wood.

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