Wind Industry propaganda meeting

We managed to slip a mole, UKIP staffer Michael Jose, into a Wind Industry meeting in London last week, where they discussed ways to counter the anti-wind movement.  Fascinating stuff.

Wind farm espionage – by Michael Jose

Well, not quite me playing spy, or actually on the wind farm – more of a nameless super-sleuth mole, sent for a day with camera and notebook to the conference recently held in London among the top marketing and PR people for Europe’s leading wind power companies. Some big names were there, including Siemens, Vattenfall, and SSE, and various less well known. Two senior journalists, one from The Times and one from The Guardian, gave feedback to the assembled ‘public face’ of the wind power industry to comment on their media-handling and interfacing performance with the established broadsheets.

High on the list of concerns for the wind farm PR person is the anti-wind farm lobby. The good news is that we are having a big effect, we are slowing their time to onshore planning consent down from 24 months to 33 months, and 2011 planning consents were at an all time low, down 11% on 2010. There was a specific session in the afternoon on how to handle us antis at the pre-consent stage, when the battle is fought for the hearts and minds of the locals who will have to look at the electricity windmills for the next 25 years.

Probably the most heartening and surprising thing of all was the comment from the first presenter who reminded the assembly that they were all ‘fighting for their jobs’. Two other presenters repeated this in the morning: the bottom line is, they are feeling the effects of our efforts. It is often hard to gauge the feelings behind the super-positive smiles and professional go-getting zealotry they all display when they bounce up against us at public enquiries – but every negative newspaper article hits them where they are vulnerable – and they can quote the lines that get under their skin. Every argument we mount requires a response (but sometimes they get the NGOs to give it to spread the pain), and they know they have to try to look good, sound good, and feel good, even if their arguments are weak or just plain spurious.

Of course they are winning enough battles to be able to afford to host expensive conferences in Hammersmith, London. We need to be able to know our enemy and take even their strongholds. So, where are they strong? Well I believe the thing we need to closely emulate about them, to be even more effective in stopping them, is their stratified approach to the public. They go to schools to take primary children out on nature trails; they create Facebook pages for teenagers; and they write printed materials for the pension club and Neighbourhood Watch, who are not to be assumed to know how to handle email or Twitter. All these sources of propaganda are co-ordinated and checked for consistency.

Overall, we should take heart and press on with exactly what we are doing, but just get better. And if you are wondering what the two professional big-hitter journalists said to the assembled PR wind professionals, well, I can’t really repeat it to be fair, but none of it was complementary. The Times guy was very neutral and objective in attitude, but the Guardian woman was very onside with wind. But they were both quite cutting. The truth is, we are punching way above our weight, and they are punching below theirs.

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24 Responses to Wind Industry propaganda meeting

  1. Ilma630 says:

    “MPs concerned to back projects”! It strikes me that the MPs should be a major focus of our efforts, to demonstrate that they are resting their reputation, credibility and re-electability on the failed and provenly disingenuous AGW hypothesis, and the demonstrable effects the resulting renewables policies are having on the voters’ pocket. Without MP support, the whole edifice falls.

  2. Linda Holt says:

    Thank you so much for this report. I’ve also been to some wind developer conferences where they worry about PR and everything you say gels with what I have also heard and seen. Given that the UK anti-wind movement receives no corporate funding at all and has no over-arching structure, it is truly incredible we have made such an impact. And that impact is growing all the time. Of course the wind lot have underestimated us and don’t understand what we’re doing because our motivation isn’t pecuniary. Because we’re not doing it for the money, it makes us all the stronger and more determined.

  3. rogerhelmer says:

    And there are some MPs who are fighting the wind farm nonsense!

  4. Alan Love says:

    Good to see the wind industry taking a knock. Linda Holt is correct in her comment that the wind industry and all industries relying on AGW fail to understand non-pecuniary motives and that is to our advantage.

  5. I am reminded by something someone once told me about a meeting that they attended arranged by the BWEA, one of many around the country, in which the head of BWEA Onshore wind Jan Matthiesen is credited with claiming that the only opposition to wind farms is from individuals within communities that ‘complain about everything’. And who are (strangely, then, if that’s the case)….’Well funded’.

  6. Mary Young says:

    Well done that mole. It has confirmed that which we suspected to be the case. Linda Holt is absolutely correct; the wind industry has underestimated, and continues to display scant regard for, communities. It has also underestimated the ability of the man in the street to become aware of such things as average output, subsidies and constraints. One can see by the boards shown in the pictures that they’re still not getting it – ordinary people are now looking for campaign groups to sign up to, even if their immediate area isn’t threatened. Those MPs who have their finger on the pulse of their communities know this.

  7. Ivor Ward says:

    When all you have is PR and the facts do not support your case, eventually the truth begins to leak out. As it has with CAGW.

  8. Laser Shark says:

    Windmills of the Mind, Madness Undeclined.

  9. Aileen Jackson says:

    They will never understand our passion and commitment to stopping them in their tracks! I’m being polite!! Seriously, good to know and gives us a boost.

  10. Ammonite says:

    I am surprised this has not been done before. When I was fighting a Public Enquiry, my thoughts were always with the subcontractors who employ briefly a few local people then have feedback about the objectors. In this instance the local postman, the hotel owner, the builder’s suppliers.
    The soft stuff of things like Facebook and offering a chance for a local child to go to University….
    If it was such an efficient and highly though of industry it would have no need to do any of these things.
    A meeting swamped with the sub contactor’s employees and their anxious wives is a good example.

  11. jen harrison says:

    Well done. You are right,all they care about is money. I am a stupid farmer who allowed a wind farm entry onto my land and have regretted it ever since.Because we have stood up for ourselves and our property they have victimised us.They are total bullies,don’t honour their contract,they are not human and have driven me and my husband to a physical and mental breakdown.

  12. David Ramsbotham says:

    As applicants can appeal to the Government to reverse local decisions we need to get it onside, as well as councils and others, if we are going to stop these wind turbines being built.

    Are you disillusioned by rising electricity prices, over dependence on the “green” dream [especially uneconomical and inefficient wind farms] and the destruction of our countryside then please object to the Government at

    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/22958

    or by GOOGLING “E-PETITION 22958″ and following the link.

    Please pass this message on to Councillors, members of your community and anyone else you know to persuade them to sign up too. If you are really concerned about wind turbines please write a letter promoting this petition to your local Newsletter and to the Editors of your local newspapers.

  13. Linda Holt says:

    Jen – I am very keen to hear your story. Could you possibly get in touch? My email is lindaholt@supanet.com Hope to hear from you!

  14. Bill says:

    A major scandal is the fact that the wind industry trade body runs indoctrination seminars for planning officers and councillors all over the country. These have been happening for years.

    They are, invariably, totally unbalanced – presenting nothing but wind industry propaganda, yet planning authorities regularly send their staff to these events and it can be assumed that they provide the main source of information for many planning officers who lack the time or inclination to do any further background reading.

    I attended one of these sessions recently in Co. Durham. If you want to see the sort of stuff they present, the papers are archived here : http://www.bwea.com/planningconferences/2012/North_East.html (the BWEA/RenewableUK website is currently down, so you may have difficulty seeing this material).

    I talked to various planners attending this event who, after hearing us disputing the accuracy of information presented by speakers, said they would be interested in hearing the other side of the issues.

    In the North East we are discussing whether it would be possible to organise serious, well-oganised seminars with acousticians, imaging experts, landscape architects and planners to present the other side of the coin. This would be a very effective counter-balance to the industry’s propaganda effort and would have considerable effect for a fairly small outlay in reaching key decision makers at local/regional level.

  15. Tony says:

    Very heartening to hear this. The sooner this scam is exposed for the fraud on the public it is, the sooner the UK can have a fit-for-purpose energy strategy.

    If not, by the time the lights go out, it will be too late.

  16. M. Crawford says:

    I believe it may be against the law to take propaganda to children in schools. Can the wind-energy firms legally say, in primary or in any other schools, that theirs is the Best or Green method of providing energy? This is after all strongly contested by reputable scientists,
    Should not we antis insist on both sides being heard equally, if they are to be heard at all, in schools .

    • Ammonite says:

      Please do not forget please, public and school libraries where much grossly simplistic and fearful propaganda circulates on the shelves concerning this issue. A quick glance on the shelves by asking the librarian where say a book on wind turbines, ‘alternative’ energy, global warming etc will usually provide much on the soft green dire predictions and very little on say solar cycles affecting the planet, natural rythmns in geologic time, The Institute of Mechanical Engineers, NASA opposing views etc. This constant fear mongering to the young is having an effect, I do not doubt it. However, i take great delight in asking, requesting new titles that may not fit the status quo regardless of the fact that the aquisition librarian may not feel inclined to purchase it and that I am denied inter library loan. On occasion even this shows that title that expound another viewpoint are not available. They cannot explain easily why, but I keep on trying…

    • David Ramsbotham says:

      Most schools are guilty of biased teaching – mainly by LibDem teachers. Ask any child about WIND ENERGY or the EU. I also believe that the EU is proposing that lessons promoting the EU are to become mandatory. Is this true?

      http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/22958

    • Your observation questions appear to reflect some of my disquiet about our joining the EEC and my own children telling me that it was their future I was voting for. How misguided I was to litsten to them, who had been advised by the Tutors of their Colleges, so shame on you Exeter Technic and St. Thomas High School for misleading me and my two children. They have to live with that decision longer than I!

  17. Elliot says:

    Bill@7.23

    I went to one of these a couple of weeks ago. WHAT A FARCE. I managed to hog the microphone for about 10mins tho and apparently (I’d left by then) my “spies” we’re convinced that between us we managed to put off a lot of local councillors and pretty much won the debate. A BBC guy came up and interviewed me afterwards

    The drivel these tobacco lobbyists of the 21st century spout is quite hilarious if it wasn’t so pathetic and ridiculous in its lies and half truths. At one point they actually claimed that all anti wind reports are biased and have an agenda hahahahahahahahahahha. U have to laugh eh?

    What a bunch of sad pathetic lying cheating chronic health inducing reprobates that are

  18. Russellw says:

    What is meant by “… co-ordinated and checked for consistency”?

    • ‘Co-ordinated’ means that they need to get the teachers onside first before they go into the schools, they talk to local landowners about subsidies and payments before the local leaflets go out to the householders, etc.

      ‘Consistency’ means that the primary school children, the teenagers, all the way up to the pensioners, must get the same ‘save the planet’ message but delivered at an appropriate level, in the right vocabulary, in the best medium, talk, leaftlet, website, etc.

  19. Bernard Hough says:

    I was taught at school many years ago that clouds carrying rain were caused to drop it when
    meeting high ground ie hills and relatively small mountains ( as in the UK )
    The higher ground creating turbulance within the clouds.
    Considering that we in the UK do not have any really high ground then the effect must be able
    to occur at reasonably low altitudes.
    I would like some knowledgeable and HONEST person to tell me if the proliferation of windfarms
    around the UK can have the same effect due to the turbulence they create, even when they are out at sea, hence causing the heavy rains, loss of life and causing millions of pounds damage to property .that we are experiencing.
    I would hope that insurance companies would be interested in any information.
    After all I have read of people being disturbed by the sound from them up to a mile away!
    And of course this can only happen if the surrounding air is carrying the sound.
    I am not talking about `climate change` or `global warming` I am talking about this islands
    localised weather conditions.
    Has our weather got worse since the introduction of these wind farms.
    The problem I have is that pro wind turbine people I speak to dismiss me out of hand.
    If it is correct then they don`t want to know.
    Could someone help?
    I believe research is being carried out in the U.S. into turbulence created by wind farms.

  20. I doubt that the electricity windmills do much in the way of increasing rainfall or any other precipitation – the weather winds and clouds in general are much higher than even the tallest windmill blades.

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