The seatbelt silliness comes from Ed Millibrand, former energy and climate change secretary, now Labour leadership contender.
And then there’s this gem from the same UK Telegraph article which suggests that, to accommodate industrial wind’s shortcomings, you only need to “build far more wind turbines, in far more places, than you theoretically need” and, oh yes … “build more conventional, carbon-emitting power stations.”
All this and more is found in Andrew Gilligan’s excellent article titled “Does money grow in wind farms?” Mr. Gilligan answers his own question with this lead, “Wind turbines are a poor way to harness energy – but a very good way to generate public subsidies.”
Noting industrial wind’s dismal performance, Prof David MacKay (chief scientific adviser at the Department of Energy and Climate Change), is the gentleman who suggests that “to cope with what’s called “intermittency”, you must do two things:”
First, you have to build far more wind turbines, in far more places, than you theoretically need. “We need to be imagining industrialising really large tranches of the countryside.” Every view, from every summit in Britain – apart, perhaps, from a handful of specially preserved recreational mountains – will be like the view from Plynlimon.
The second thing you have to do is build more conventional, carbon-emitting power stations. Unlike wind farms, these can provide electricity predictably and more or less on demand.
Amazing, isn’t it? Build three times the number of wind turbines that should be necessary and then provide additional back up generation from fossil fueled power plants. Hmmm … where have I heard that before?
But, as Mr. Gilligan provides in his piece, Campbell Dunford, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), says that Germany – which has the largest number of wind turbines in Europe – “is building five new coal power stations, which it does not otherwise need, purely to provide covering power for the fluctuations from their wind farms. I am not sure [wind] has been a great success for them.” Mr Dunford claims that Germany’s CO2 emissions have actually risen since it increased its use of wind power. Though the wind itself might, in RUK’s words, be “free,” the cost of backup capacity is likely to be astronomical.
All this would be funny if it wasn’t so destructive to the environment and costly to taxpayers and ratepayers. You can and should read Mr. Gilligan’s full article here. Take note of the comments.