When dams were being built in mid-Wales, Liverpool’s deputy town clerk once said: “Whose water is it? After all, God provided it.”
This is a useful analogy as it is so much easier for entrepreneurial windpower developers to give away a locally resourced commodity. The moment it is fed to the distribution network in which it is embedded, wind-electricity is no longer identifiable from any other sourced power (no little green electrons).
Because the high voltage grid is contiguous throughout England, Wales and Scotland, a big windfarm just reduces the drain on it, irrespective of “whose” wind it is.
If we truly needed windpower the only fair apportionment would be an equal per capita amount of generation close to “home”. Why should urban residents freely exploit the countryside?
If I pump water from the nearest stream I have to pay a water rate because abstraction causes a knock-on problem for the community. So does wind – ranging from spoiling the view, through devaluing our homes and tourist industry to causing health and power engineering problems.
Windpower should pay the analogy of a water rate and it should be per unit of production, not just a flat-rate political sop. Instead we give it a 100 per cent subsidy.
Dr John Etherington,
28 August 2007
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