NIMBYS and vocal minorities are the terms used by the wind power
industry to deride the people trying to save our heritage from the
ravages of giant wind turbines and associated electricity pylons. The
spin doctors are clearly beginning to panic as they see their huge
profits being eroded by an under-resourced but extremely determined
band of people.
I can assure the wind industry that the vocal minority that they refer
to is in fact a huge groundswell of opposition.
Over the past two or three years the British Wind Energy Association
has spent more than £30 million green-washing the public into
believing that renewable energy and in particular wind power will
somehow replace fossil-fuelled and nuclear power stations.
Wind power fails for four main reasons: it is unpredictably
intermittent; it will make little or no difference to global
emissions; it only exists because of the huge subsidies that it
receives and, finally, it has an unacceptably large spatial footprint.
Intermittency is the Achilles Heel of wind power. Despite having
almost 20,000 wind turbines, Germany has not been able to close a
single fossil- fuelled power station; in fact the Germans are building
26 new coal-fired power stations which will be able to “back-up” the
wind farms while substantially emitting .
The wind industry’s somewhat fatuous claim that wind farms produce
electricity for 85 per cent of the time deliberately conceals the fact
that during more than half that time electricity output is less than a
quarter of maximum.
How often do we hear the claim that the wind is a free and
inexhaustible source? If only that were the case. In reality, for
every megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity produced from wind, at
current prices, the industry receives a Renewable Obligation
Certificate marketing at £47.70. Add to this the climate change levy
of £4.40 and the public is funding what is effectively a subsidy of
£52 per MWh. This more than doubles the wholesale value of the
electricity produced. Under this scheme wind power in the UK, for
2006, received over £500 million.
To understand what is meant by spatial footprint, consider this. The
average output of the gas-fired power station at Peterhead is about
1,200 megawatts, double that of all the wind turbines in the UK, but
it sits in a 50 acre site, unlike the giant turbines which are spread
over hundreds of square miles.
One of the most disingenuous claims is that regarding the number of
houses that a wind farm will supply, when in reality existing wind
farms in the UK cannot supply any houses with electricity, the
exception being small communities that have their own miniature grid
How often are we being invited to sign up to green electricity? Yet
another scam, because electricity suppliers have no way of knowing
what type of electricity will reach our homes.
What you are actually doing is signing up to a carbon offsetting
scheme which results in children in Third World countries having to
work manual equipment for 12 hours a day.
By Bob Graham
12 October 2007
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