The Great Wind Turbine Con Trick
by Ian R Thorpe.
CREATIVE COMMONS: Attribute, non commercial, no derivs.
KEYWORDS: science, climate, climate change, electricity, energy, sustainable, renewable, wind, turbine, CO2, pollution, carbon, emissions, academic, mathematics, alarmism, green, environment, environmentalist, computer, mathematical, windmills
The real world evidence is stacking up to show that whatever the pointy heads with their computer simulations and mathematical models say, the obsession of Government and the academics who advise them with wind turbines is one of the greatest political and economic balls ups of all time.
Under a target agreed with the EU, Britain is committed within ten years, at astronomic expense to us poor taxpayers, to generating nearly a third of its electricity from renewable sources, mainly through building thousands more wind turbines. As Mrs. Thatcher might have said, "Where there is light, let us bring darkness, where there is beauty, let us create ugliness.
But the penny is finally dropping for almost everyone apart from our politicians and the scientists from the academy of fuckwittery who advise them, that to rely on windmills to keep our lights on is a colossal and very dangerous act of self-deception.
Take, for example, the three 300ft turbine triffids that dominate what used to be one of the most spectacular views over the Ribble valley from the Bury to Burnley Road. These turbines perform so poorly (working at only 15 per cent of its capacity) that the £350,000 government subsidy given to the site operators was almost double the market value of electricity this little wind farm produced last year.
Meanwhile, official figures now released under freedom of information legislation have confirmed that during the record cold spell that kept us freezing from late November until after Christmas, a period when electricity demand was at record levels, a notable feature of the weather was the almost windless stillness. Thus the contribution to our electricity supply made by Britain’s 3,500 turbines was insignificant. It seems to have escaped the notice of the clever, clever, pointy - headed scientists, the short -termist bean counters of the civil service and the egomaniacal politicians that a regular winter weather pattern in Britain means we get way below freezing temperatures and very little wind for several weeks. Nobody can predict at what point in winter it will happen, if at. A couple of years ago the deep freeze did not occur until late February - early March. It is that unpredictability that causes scientists to tilt their noses in the air and sneer derisively, "well it's not scientific."
No it is not scientific. Few things in reality are scientific in the eyes of these tunnel visioned cupid stunts who believe anything that cannot be reduced to a mathematically elegant equation is just superstition and 'magical thinking and may safely be ignored. If we could create reality in the controlled conditions of the laboratory it wouldn't be effing reality would it. It would be a laboratory experiment in controlled conditions.
So thanks to the scientists, the bean counters and the fools who heed their advice, to heat our homes and cook our food from late November to early January we were importing vast amounts of power from nuclear reactors in France. And still the lefties and weirdie beardies bleat about how dangerous nuclear power is.
Wind turbines are so inefficient and expensive in comparison to their output that Holland recently became the first European nation to abandon its EU renewable energy target. The cost benefit of this to taxpayers is it will enable the Dutch government to slash subsidies to wind farm operators by billions of euros. Under international treaties on renewables targets wind farm owners are paid whether or not they are feeding electricity into the grid. The scientists who did the mathematical modelling have for their whole lives been so absorbed in 'doing science' it appears none of them noticed that far from blowing at a consistent speed twenty four hours a day, 365 days a year the wind does not even blow all the time.
So unpopular with the public are wind turbines that our Government in the UK has offered 'bribes' to local communities, in the form of lower taxes and subsidised electricity bills if they accept installation of turbines in their area.
In Scotland, the 800 residents of the beautiful island of Tiree are desperately trying to resist the Oligarchic Collectivist left wing government of the Scottish National Party as it tries to railroad through the legislation that will permit what will be the biggest offshore windfarm in the world, covering 139 square miles off the island's coast. Residents say it will disrupt fishing grounds and destroy their only other economic resource by driving away the tourists who provide much of the revenue for local businesses.
As the weirdie - beardies and tree huggers cream themselves about all the carbon emissions that will be saved (or to be honest shifted elsewhere) they seem to find it easy to overlook the fact that offshore turbines need to be anchored to the sea bed. This is done by scraping the seabed level and planting a huge block of concrete. To plant a wind farm destroys feeding and spawning grounds and drives away sea birds. All these things have their place in the delicate ecological balance.
So riddled with hypocrisy is the green lobbying for wind energy that a recent report which exposed the immense human and ecological catastrophe being inflicted on northern China by the extraction of the rare earth minerals needed to make the giant magnets that every turbine in the West uses to generate its power went unreported by mainstream media.
The case for wind power rests on three great lies.
First is the pretence that turbines are anything other than ludicrously inefficient.
The most glaring misrepresentation employed by the wind industry and by unscrupulous politicans who hope to use fear and panic generated by the anti -carbon Warmageddonists to extort carbon taxes from us is vastly to exaggerate the output of turbines. This is done by deliberately talking only in terms of their 'capacity', as if this was what they actually produce rather than it's being the total amount of power they have the capability of producing if operated constantly in optimum conditions.
The point about wind, of course, is that it is constantly varying in speed (sic), so that the output of turbines averages out at barely a quarter of their optimal capacity. This means that the estimated 1,000 megawatts (1 gigawatt) all those 3,500 turbines currently operating in Britain feed on average into the grid is derisory: no more than the output of a single, medium-sized conventional power station. Take the total energy needs of Britain and were we to try to meet it all from wind power as the sandal wearers suggest we would need about 175,000 turbines and a much more reliable source of wind than we have now. Perhaps this is why the government is frantically trying to persuade us to eat more beans and cabbage.
Also, as wind turbines increase in number (the Government wants to see 10,000 more in the next few years) it will, quite farcically, become necessary to build a dozen or more nuclear, gas, oil or coal fired power stations, running all the time and emitting CO2, nuclear waste and lots of other environmental nasties, simply to provide instant back-up for when the wind drops.
The second great lie about wind power is the pretence that it is a cheap and efficient way of getting free energy from nature and not a ludicrously expensive way to produce electricity. No one would dream of generating electricity from wind turbines unless they were guaranteed a huge government subsidy.This is why the contemptible Labour government created the Renewables Obligation Certificate subsidy scheme, paid for through consumers electricity bills, whereby owners of wind turbines earn, over and above the price of electricity they feed in to the grid, an additional £49 for every 'megawatt hour' they produce, and twice that sum for offshore turbines.
The Renewables Obligation Certificate subsidy is why the wind bonanza, almost entirely dominated in Britain by French, German, Spanish and other foreign-owned firms, is set to become one of the greatest scandals of our age.
The third great lie is that this industry is somehow making a vital contribution to 'saving the planet' by cutting our emissions of CO2 - this is simply untrue. What other industry gets a public subsidy equivalent to 100 or even 200 per cent of the value of what it produces? We may not be aware of just how much we are pouring into the pockets of the wind developers, because our bills hide this from us — but as ever more turbines are built, this could soon be adding hundreds of pounds a year to our bills. And the electricity we burn in our homes will continue to be generated in reliable, controllable fossil fuel and nuclear power stations that keep running if they are supplied with fuel no matter what the weather is doing outside.
A recently opened wind farm in the River Thames estuary was hailed by Warmageddonists and politicians as the world's largest offshore windfarm. It cost £800million to construct and make operational. We were told that its 'capacity' was 300 megawatts and when working at optimum efficiency it would provide 'green' power for tens of thousands of homes. What we were not told was that 300 megawatts it is 'optimal' output were the wind to blow unvaryingly at a constant, perfect speed for twenty four hours a day; The actual output in real world conditions will average only a mere 80 megawatts, a tenth of that supplied by a gas-fired power station. For this overpriced, underperforming
pile of White Elephant shit white elephant, we poor punters will be paying a subsidy of £60million a year, or £1.5billion over the 'optimal' 25-year lifespan of the turbines.
The third great lie of the wind propagandists is that this industry is somehow making a vital contribution to 'saving the planet' by cutting our emissions of CO2. Even if we accept that curtailing use of fossil fuels could change the Earth's climate, the CO2 reduction achieved by wind turbines is so insignificant that one large, offshore windfarm saves considerably less in a year than is given off over the same period by a single jumbo jet flying daily between Britain and America. At the same time the windfarm operators will have done irreparable damage to fish and sea food breeding grounds thus disrupting a vital 'renewable' food source.
The construction of the turbines generates enormous CO2 emissions; in the mining and smelting of the metals used, the carbon-intensive cement needed for their huge concrete foundations, the building of miles of road or construction of special barges and rafts often needed to move them to the site, the installation of miles of overhead or underwater cables to get the generated current from these remote locations to the grid and, in the case of the most viable sites for onshore wind generation the releasing of immense quantities of CO2 and Methane locked up in the peat bogs.
We must take into account too the output from Gas and coal fired power stations that must be kept running 24 hours a day just to provide back-up for the unpredictability of the wind. So savings in CO2 emissions from wind power are illusory, mere scientific (a.k.a. statistical sleight of hand and mathematical jiggery pokery. Once implemented in real world conditions rather than in the mathematically modelled environment where most 'scientific testing is carried out nowadays, they vanish completely.
In spite of all this easily observable real - world evidence Governments have charged ahead with idiotic wind power schemes on the strength of these massive self-deceptions and the dodgy advice of academics and 'scientists' who have never actually worked in the power generation industry and in many cases have seldom left the University campus or the laboratory except to travel to taxpayer funded jollies in exotic locations where they discuss with others of this self styled international elite how the rest of us should live our lives.
According to the electricity industry, the people who actually do the job, we will then need to spend another £100billion on building those conventional power stations to provide back-up — all of which adds up to £240billion by 2020, or just over £1,000 a year for every household in the land. For this our politicians are quite happy to see our countryside and the seas around our coasts smothered in vast arrays of giant industrial machines, all to produce an amount of electricity that could be provided by conventional power stations at a tenth of the cost.
The flight from reality triggered by fear and panic mongering climate scientists is truly one of the greatest human follies of the post industrial age.
But what turns it from a crazed fantasy to a potential catastrophe is that we know Britain will face a huge shortfall in its electricity supplies in the next few years, when we see the shutdown of conventional power stations, which currently meet nearly 40 per cent of our electricity needs and the older Nuclear power sites some of which are nearing fifty years old having only been designed for an operational life of half that. All but two of our ageing nuclear power stations are nearing the end of their useful life, with little chance of them being replaced for many years.
Six of our large coal-fired stations will be forced to close under an EU anti-pollution directive, and yet our Government, paying far to much attention to the whining of Warmageddonists and ignoring the voice of common sense is doing its best to ensure that we build no more. We cannot realistically hope to make up more than a fraction of the resulting energy gap solely with wind turbines, for blatantly obvious reason that wind is an intermittent and unreliable energy source.
One likely result of the governmental paralysis in the face of green whining and bureaucratic meddling from the New World Order representatives in Brussels is we will end up relying on politically unreliable countries such as Russia, Libya and Algeria for oil and gas supplies.
What we are seeing, in short, is the price we are beginning to pay for the past two decades, during which our energy policy has become hopelessly skewed by the hysterical fear and panic mongering of tree hugging weirdie beardies and politicised by the academic tax eaters lobby; first in persuading our politicians to switch from coal and not to build any more nuclear power stations, and then to fall for the quixotic dream that we could gamble our country’s future on 'free' and 'clean' power provided by nature. Tilting at Windmills seldom results in a good outcome as Miguel de Cervantes hero showed us three hundred years ago.
All over the EU political parties are waking up to the catastrophe towards which this insane denial of reality is leading us. The Danes, who have built more wind turbines per head than anyone, have realised the idiocy of a policy that has given them the highest electricity prices in Europe, while they have to import much of their power from abroad, notably sensible Germany's coal fired and nuclear generators.
In Spain, their rush for wind and solar power has proved a national disaster. So enthusiastic for 'green' power were Spain's political leaders they signed into law a green subsidy system that pays solar operators for the electricity they feed into the grid AT NIGHT. In Germany, having built more turbines than any other country in the world, they are now facing a similar shortfall to Britain and are in a frenzy of building new coal-fired stations .
In Holland, meanwhile, they have now put up two fingers to the EU by slashing all their renewables subsidies. The Dutch are canny people, they know there is little to be gained from paying offshore companies for not generating electricity. It's interesting to not how in places where the government has said, "You generate the electricity, we'll meter it and pay you for what we get," there has been little interest in setting up wind and solar power operations. Operators are only interested in working in business environments where they are paid for notional amounts of electricity that might be generated under optimal conditions.
Only in Britain is our political class still so imprisoned in its infatuation with wind that it is prepared to pursue this acidhead dream of a green utopia.
Our Governments, the United Nations and the academic community have embarked on one of the most reckless gambles in the history of western civilisation. First they gambled the family silver on the idea that we can look to the unpredicatable wind to provide nearly a third of the electricity we need to keep our economy running. Now having lost heavily on their first series of bets they are plunging us into debt in order to throw more money at the bookies of China, India and the international financial community in the hope that in its next race the three legged horse they bet on will suddenly find a way to compete with tried and trusted champions in spite of its obvious handicap.
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