Spinning idly in the wind
Christopher Booker's latest piece in the Telegraph should have every person in Britain gnashing their teeth at the rampant stupidity of this Coalition's energy policy—specifically the utter lunacy that is embodied in off-shore wind farms.
Last week, the BBC ran a series of reports by its science correspondent, David Shukman, on the Government’s plan to ring our coasts with vast offshore wind farms.
The nearest thing allowed to criticism of this policy came in an interview with the Oxford academic Dieter Helm, who we were told had “done the sums”. What, Shukman asked, had he come up with? The only figures Helm gave were that the Government’s offshore wind farm plans would, by 2020, cost £100 billion—scarcely a state secret, since the Government itself announced this three years ago—plus £40 billion more to connect these windmills to the grid, a figure given us by the National Grid last year.
Helm did not tell us that this £140 billion equates to £5,600 for every household in the country. But he did admit that the plan was “staggeringly expensive”, and that, given the current extent of “fuel poverty” and the state of our economy, he doubted “if it can in fact be afforded”.
Even shorter on hard facts, however, was Shukman’s report on a monster new wind farm off the coast of Cumbria, where a Swedish firm, Vattenfall, has spent £500 million on building 30 five‑megawatt turbines with a total “capacity” of 150MW. What Shukman did not tell us, because the BBC never does, is that, thanks to the vagaries of the wind, these machines will only produce a fraction of their capacity (30 per cent was the offshore average in the past two years). So their actual output is only likely to average 45MW, or £11 million per MW.
Compare this with the figures for Britain’s newest gas-fired power station, recently opened in Plymouth. This is capable of generating 882MW at a capital cost of £400 million—just £500,000 for each megawatt. Thus the wind farm is 22 times more expensive, and could only be built because its owners will receive a 200 per cent subsidy: £40 million a year, on top of the £20 million they will get for the electricity itself. This we will all have to pay for through our electricity bills, whereas the unsubsidised cost of power from the gas plant, even including the price of the gas, will be a third as much.
Booker also points out—reinforcing what your humble Devil has been saying for years—that wind power is inherently unreliable and, as such, we would need to build a MW of conventional power for every MW of installed wind power.
Or, of course, the lights go out.
This would be stupid enough were we forced to duplicate our power capacity at gas- or coal-fired prices; that we must build wind farms at 22 times the cost of conventional power plus the gas- or coal-fired power stations is nothing short of insane.
And, ultimately, we are going to have to pay for all of this. And we are going to pay through the fucking nose.
The trouble is that the government knows damn well that people will not stand for massive rises on energy taxes; as such, the government and the EU have forced the power companies to carry much of the cost—thus making the energy companies out to be total fucking demons*.
As Matthew Sinclair points out in this superb rant to the Freedom Society (whilst promoting his book, Let Them Eat Carbon), most people are simply not aware of the vast costs being imposed on the power companies by our Lords and Masters in the name of the discredited Climate Change scam.
It does appear that the energy companies are, however, protesting somewhat. Bishop Hill recently submitted a Freedom of Information request on a meeting between the government and the Electricity Retailers Association (ERA).
Here's an odd thing. Some weeks back I noticed that Gregory Barker, the Climate Change minister, had met with representatives of the Electricity Retailers Association to discuss "information on consumers' bills".
To me this seemed rather odd - why would electricity retailers need to discuss the information on bills with ministers? Perhaps Mr Barker wanted to insist that some information was passed on to consumers?
An FOI request later, I discover that the meeting was at the request of ERA itself—it appears that they asked to speak to ministers about a number of issues—Fuel Poverty, the Green Deal, the Community Energy Saving Programme and the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target. Putting this together with DECC's record that "information on consumers' bills" was discussed, I conclude that ERA wanted to make the costs of these government programmes transparent.
Unfortunately, I can only infer this because according to DECC, no record was kept of the meeting.
The Grauniad recently ran a fucking ludicrous story about how climate change might lead aliens to eliminate us because our carbon emissions would lead them to assume that the human race was "out of control".
Personally, I think that these self-same aliens might well kill us all.
But only because they would look at the fucking colossal idiocy enacted by our governments (and the rampant apathy of their citizens) and decide that the human race is too fucking stupid to be allowed to live.
* Alright—worse demons than they actually are.