Wind power has failed to deliver what it promised

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Wind power has failed to deliver what it promised

Post by TexasBlue on Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:00 am

Wind power has failed to deliver what it promised

Telegraph View
Telegraph.co.uk
15 Jun 2013


Today, The Sunday Telegraph reveals how many ''green jobs’’ the wind-power industry really generates in exchange for its generous subsidies. The figures show that for 12 months until February 2013, a little over £1.2  billion was paid out to wind farms through a consumer subsidy financed by a supplement on electricity bills. During that period, the industry employed just 12,000 people, which means that each wind-farm job cost consumers £100,000 – an astonishing figure.

Of course, we all want to preserve the environment and, in an ideal world, we would invest in energy production that is as clean as possible. But before pouring money into any potential power source we need to discuss honestly its costs, its potential to create jobs and its efficiency. Our story shows that the claims of the green lobby that wind farms will generate abundant energy and economic growth are not consistent with the facts.

Regarding costs, the £1.2 billion figure is merely a starting point. According to the Renewable Energy Foundation, the subsidy is likely to rise to £6  billion by 2020 if the Government is to meet its target of providing for 15 per cent of the country’s needs with renewable energy. Finding space to build the wind farms has created a veritable racket – landowners can expect to receive payments worth an average £40,000 a year for each large, three-megawatt turbine built on their land.

And what is the benefit of all this expense? In terms of jobs, disappointingly little. Greater Gabbard, an offshore wind farm, employs 100 people at its headquarters in Lowestoft, Suffolk. Divide Greater Gabbard’s subsidy of £129  million by 100, and each job is worth an incredible £1.29 million. The spend might be more justifiable if wind were an efficient and abundant energy source – but it simply is not. Its output fluctuates wildly depending on the amount of wind available. This week, our thousands of wind turbines managed to generate an impressive 12 per cent of our total energy production. But during our last cold, windless winter – when electricity demand was at its greatest – that fell to lows of 0.1 per cent.

Wind farms can end up being surprisingly environmentally unfriendly, too. When the wind does not blow and the turbines fail to do their job, consumers have to fall back on the very fossil fuels that they were designed to replace. The result is that we come to rely on foreign imports of oil and gas that hit the household budget hard (domestic coal stations that ought to supply more of the demand have been closed in order to meet carbon-emission reduction targets). Moreover, wind farms can be a blot on the landscape: the dormant turbines take up large tracts of land and kill wildlife; it is the visual pollution of our beautiful countryside that has led some communities to protest against their presence.

The Government has shown recognition of public concern by announcing that residents will be able to stop the construction of wind farms. It is welcome news that when planning applications are submitted, officials will have to take into account both the views of those living nearby and the impact upon the landscape – a proposal that is being sold as giving locals the power of veto over wind turbines.

But things may not work out that way. Under the plans, energy firms will be able to offer ''incentives’’ to residents – such as reductions in energy bills – in order to encourage them to say ''yes’’ to a new wind farm. This amounts to a bribe, and a very tempting bribe, too, given that we live in an age of austerity when many home owners are looking for ways to cut costs and save money. The Liberal Democrats, including Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, believe that the planning-rule changes could actually result in more wind farms being built rather than less.

Therefore, there is a troubling risk that the Government’s plans might prove to be a golden opportunity for wind-power providers to buy their way to installing yet more turbines. That is worrying because – aside from concerns about the damage to our countryside – our report shows that this industry is expensive, passes costs on to the consumer and does not create many jobs in return. Wind power is far from the panacea that its supporters claim it to be.


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“I’m not in favor of fairness. I’m in favor of freedom, and freedom is not fairness. Fairness means somebody has to decide what’s fair.” - Milton Friedman
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Re: Wind power has failed to deliver what it promised

Post by TexasBlue on Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:01 am

It takes a British paper to tell us this.

There are quite a few of these windmills here in Minnesota. Every time I drive by them, they're still.


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“I’m not in favor of fairness. I’m in favor of freedom, and freedom is not fairness. Fairness means somebody has to decide what’s fair.” - Milton Friedman
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Re: Wind power has failed to deliver what it promised

Post by dblboggie on Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:00 pm

*sigh...*
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Re: Wind power has failed to deliver what it promised

Post by TexasBlue on Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:24 pm

ROFL


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“I’m not in favor of fairness. I’m in favor of freedom, and freedom is not fairness. Fairness means somebody has to decide what’s fair.” - Milton Friedman
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Re: Wind power has failed to deliver what it promised

Post by bigger_guns_nearby on Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:54 pm

The economics of the big wind farms don't look pretty, as good as the intentions were.

The UK needs to stop hesitating over nuclear and start throwing more money at it as soon as possible.
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Re: Wind power has failed to deliver what it promised

Post by bigger_guns_nearby on Sat Jun 22, 2013 12:57 pm

TexasBlue wrote:It takes a British paper to tell us this.

There are quite a few of these windmills here in Minnesota. Every time I drive by them, they're still.

Same thing happens here. If I drive by a windfarm with say, 10 turbines, on a relatively breezy day, I'd guarantee at least a quarter of them wouldn't be turning for some reason. They're never all turning.
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Re: Wind power has failed to deliver what it promised

Post by TexasBlue on Sat Jun 22, 2013 1:58 pm

bigger_guns_nearby wrote:The economics of the big wind farms don't look pretty, as good as the intentions were.

The UK needs to stop hesitating over nuclear and start throwing more money at it as soon as possible.

Germany, if I recall off hand, has went with nuke energy. Or maybe it's France I'm thinking of. People need to stop looking at Japan here and in the UK. Two totally different situations.

bigger_guns_nearby wrote:
TexasBlue wrote:It takes a British paper to tell us this.

There are quite a few of these windmills here in Minnesota. Every time I drive by them, they're still.

Same thing happens here. If I drive by a windfarm with say, 10 turbines, on a relatively breezy day, I'd guarantee at least a quarter of them wouldn't be turning for some reason. They're never all turning.

A waste of money in more ways than one.


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“I’m not in favor of fairness. I’m in favor of freedom, and freedom is not fairness. Fairness means somebody has to decide what’s fair.” - Milton Friedman
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Re: Wind power has failed to deliver what it promised

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Thu Jul 25, 2013 7:21 am

Nobody is saying that wind is the only answer - that's another straw man of the anti green lobby. Most sensible people want to use wind where it is most convenient and best to do so - out at sea.

We need a combination of wind, hydro, solar and nuclear to make this work. And I wouldn't put much stock in The Telegraph's news reporting, it employs paranoid delusional James Delingpole who famously said that he had never read a single paper on climate science because "he didn't have the time". Why he writes so extensively about an issue he admits to knowing nothing about is beyond me. I just stick him in the same crackpot box as Jenny McCarthy.


Last edited by The_Amber_Spyglass on Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Wind power has failed to deliver what it promised

Post by TexasBlue on Thu Jul 25, 2013 3:37 pm

The problem we have here in the USA is that the envirto-nutz want to expand wind farms.... to an extreme degree. Well, the ones here in Minn don't run very often that I can see. Or maybe I'm driving by them on maintenance days. Big Grin 


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“I’m not in favor of fairness. I’m in favor of freedom, and freedom is not fairness. Fairness means somebody has to decide what’s fair.” - Milton Friedman
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Re: Wind power has failed to deliver what it promised

Post by The_Amber_Spyglass on Fri Jul 26, 2013 3:18 am

Whichever way you look at it, fossil fuels will run out. We need something to replace it. Wonder why prices are so high right now? They might point to political instability in the OPEC countries but the truth is that we've passed the point of peak oil; the pockets they're drilling into are deeper and smaller so it's costs more to get to it.

Personally, I am more a fan of solar power. Technology in that area has come on in leaps and bounds in the last five years and getting better all the time. But oil companies still sling mud at the technology because they know they can't restrict access to it and drive the prices up Slap Forehead 
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