PM tries to halt onshore wind

Today the Guardian newspaper reports that Nick Clegg has vetoed plans by David Cameron to put a cap on the number of wind turbines allowed on-shore. A Lib-Dem spokesperson said Tory claims to be green were now dead in the water.

It is unbelievable that in the same week as the latest IPCC report (which says impacts from global warming will be “severe, pervasive and irreversible“) is published, the Tories are trying to kill off yet another renewable industry. You may remember that 50% cuts in the Feed-in-Tariff during 2012 saw thousands of workers in the solar industry loose their jobs.

This is yet further evidence, if any was needed, that should the Conservatives win a majority general election next year we will likely see a wholesale dismantling of the UKs renewable industries to be replaced with fracking or worse.

Let’s leave the last words to climate-stupid climate-sceptic MP and Environment Secretary Owen Patterson who appears to sum up Government thinking on the subject saying “we should just accept that the climate has been changing for centuries” and “the temperature has not changed in the last seventeen years” and better still that global warming could actually be really quite nice adding that it “would also lead to longer growing seasons and you could extend growing a little further north into some of the colder areas“.

Sadly this is no April fools-day joke.

 

Bang goes the power

For anyone wanting a primer on the energy crisis facing the UK over the next couple of decades, the BBC Bang goes the theory broadcast on Monday 10th March paints a sobering picture.

The decommissioning of old coal and nuclear power stations could leave an energy gap of 20 to 30 gigawatts by the year 2020.

 

UK facing black-outs?

The BBC seems to think so. We’d tend to agree given the schizophrenic planning system in this country.

Energy Price History

Media bullsh**t on green energy deal

The Telegraph today boldly proclaims:

“WIND FARMS TO INCREASE ENERGY BILLS BY £178 A YEAR”

Err, hang on a minute….

The Government has agreed to invest £7.6 billion pounds a year towards meeting our 2020 targets.. by investing in new nuclear, renewables and carbon capture and storage. The Telegraph article goes on to say:

Bills will go up over the next two decades by an estimated £178 a year under all the Government’s green and fuel poverty policies, with the contribution to nuclear and renewables making up £95 by 2020.

So of the £178 headline figure claimed to be solely because of wind farms…actually only £95 is from renewables at all – and even that figure includes expensive new nuclear power stations.

Many followers of the nuclear debate will already know that much of the UK’s ageing nuclear infrastructure is at or beyond its life expectancy and companies such as EDF have been asking for huge subsidies to roll out new stations.

In fact DECC (the Department of Energy & Climate Change) say that 20% of the UKs entire current generation capacity of 82 gigawatts requires replacement this decade. DECC also point out that 250,000 new jobs will be created and that an over-dependence on gas would lead to higher annual energy bills – perhaps as much as £250.

So really, just how much of the £95 figure will go to nuclear verses all other forms of renewables, of which wind is just a single component? In September the Telegraph reported that new nuclear would add £70 to annual energy bills.

Even a dumbed-down 16 year old with GCSE maths can calculate that 95 – 70 = 25.

So the likely increase in annual bills (by 2020) resulting from all forms of non-nuclear renewable energy is £25.

Is celebrity opinion worth a jot?

On a recent edition of the BBCs “The One Show” the veteran broadcaster and celebrity Janet Street Porter was given 5 minutes to voice her own very personal hatred for wind energy projects.

Of her three main objections: noise, cost/efficiency and visual impacts she had to concede defeat on all but one.

Visiting a large wind farm in Kent she admitted on camera they weren’t actually very noisy at all. Very disappointing!

Next she said they are so costly and inefficient at over £1M each and only generating at a capacity of 25% – 30% and then was immediately shown to be wrong again. No machines are designed to run at 100% for prolonged periods and the “spare” capacity is also a function of life expectancy. The £400M given in subsidy to renewables also pales when compared to the vast amounts given to run the nuclear program and to clean up after it. Reluctantly Ms Porter conceded defeat yet again.

Which left her only one argument – they are ugly. That’s a very subjective and personal opinion which she has every right to. There are however plenty who think the exact opposite.

So, how much should we care that “celebrities” use (or abuse) their position within society to push their own personal and sometimes prejudiced views upon the rest of us? In a balanced television debate should 5 whole minutes of prime time be given to such a personalised and non-informed view?

Of course it’s ok to criticise renewable energy, but please let’s have some well informed balance.