Wind Farms: What’s the alternative?

Bill Cash’s home at Upton Cressett

When you’ve been setting out, for many months, a clear and comprehensible case for a rational energy policy, a policy based on achieving reliable supplies of affordable electricity, it comes almost as a surprise to find that some people out there still seem to be in blissful ignorance of the basics.  Yet they are.

In Sunday’s papers I saw reports of the battle by Bill Cash MP (sound fellow) to oppose two massive turbines next to his historic and listed home, Upton Cressett.  I Tweeted: “Good Luck to Bill Cash MP in his battle against wind turbines at Upton Cressett. It’s time to slay the monsters”.  But the PeterM, a.k.a. @pooky2483, replied: “Why are you against them? What alternative would you choose?”.

Basic false assumption.  He simply assumes that wind turbines make a positive contribution to our electricity supplies, so that if we shut down wind farms, we’d have to replace them with something else.

But they don’t make any significant net contribution to energy supplies.  Recent work by Professor Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University, and others shows that intermittent wind requires conventional back-up; that the back-up also has to be run intermittently to complement the wind; that it is therefore run very inefficiently (and for the accountants out there, it represents a very inefficient use of capital); so it uses more fossil fuel, and creates more emissions, than if it were run properly.  Indeed the system of wind plus back-up uses about as much gas, and creates about as much CO2, as if you’d forgotten about the wind and just built the gas.

So there’s your short answer, Pooky2483.

But as you can see, it won’t really go into 140 characters for a Tweet.  So I replied “See UKIP energy policy at www.ukip.org/media/policies/energy.pdf.”  Thanks, Pooky2483, for an excuse to Tweet, yet again, the link to my UKIP energy policy booklet.

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11 Responses to Wind Farms: What’s the alternative?

  1. Dear mr Helmer
    I am aware that your open letter to the government on this issue of Industrial wind folly arrays has not yet been answered, and I realise that your present position leads you to be concerned about their usefulness and effectiveness for energy production, emission reductions and security of supply. But you have clearly missed the point, and badly so, as to their function and purpose. Please stop wasting the governments time with this trivia, and answer the real issue. …What alternative is there? From the Henge builders of the Britons, to the pyramid builders of the Egyptians, and the totem pole and menhir builders of just about everyone, no one has produced such magnificent solutions to the problems we ‘currently’ face. Their sheer size and scale dwarfs all else, and surely you can see the political advantages of that! Admittedly there are some concerns about the sustainability of intermittent, low density energy systems fuelled by subsidies, at a time of record fuel poverty and associated deaths in the UK, as Identified by the government sponsored John Hills report. And of course the effect they are having on industry closures and businesses at a time of record recession. But let us not dwell too long on the negative impacts these magnificent structures are having. And recognise instead the jobs they have provided for workers in Denmark, Germany, and China, our competitors.

    ..Do you honestly think you could do any better yourself?

  2. Geoff Woodfield says:

    I couldn’t agree more. The wind has to be at the correct speed to generate power, resulting in always needing back up power. I support renewable energy, but we have good reliable tidal rise and fall every 12 hours without fail – we need to use this energy in many places including the River Severn.

    • rfhmep says:

      I hate to disagree, Geoff. But I assume you’re referring to the Severn Barrage. For far less money, on a far smaller foot-print, and with far less environmental impact, we could build a nuclear power plant which would produce more electricity on a continuous, base-load basis. Both economics and environmentalism (properly understood) argue against a Severn Barrage.

  3. Industrial Wind Turbine generation is a SCAM!…………………….what else is there to say?

  4. christensen411 says:

    Mr. Helmer:
    Yesterday, I read a Reuter’s article: “Starbucks, Amazon and Google to face UK lawmakers over tax” http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/12/us-britiain-tax-idUSBRE8AB00E20121112

    “UK lawmakers will quiz executives of Starbucks (SBUX.O), Google (GOOG.O) and Amazon (AMZN.O) on Monday about how they have managed to pay only small amounts of tax in Britain while racking up billions of dollars worth of sales here…”

    This caught my attention!! In June 2012, the American Wind Energy Association posted a blog entitled “Microsoft, Sprint join growing list of major companies calling on [our US] Congress to extend PTC.” http://www.awea.org/newsroom/pressreleases/120613Microsoft_Sprint.cfm
    Starbucks was specifically mentioned as one of the major companies calling for the extension of the wind Production Tax Credit.

    Furthermore the AWEA blog also stated:

    “Nearly half of the world’s largest corporations plan to moderately or significantly increase investment in renewable energy over the next five years, according to research by Ernst & Young released last week.”

    All of this reminded me of a comment that one of my associates, Dr. Jon Boone, once made (which I’m confident you understand the first part):

    “Renewable ‘investment’ has never been about energy. Solar and wind energies are so dilute that any machinery designed to convert them to modern power will ALWAYS fail: they will require continuous and substantial supplementation, primarily by the kind of fuels the solar and wind machines are expected, by the gullible, to replace. And everyone in the know gets this.

    “Until people understand that renewables, certainly those in most state mandated ‘portfolios,’ are fundamentally income producing tax shelter mechanisms for large corporations with a desire to shelter income via tax avoidance, rate and taxpayers will continue to be conned by sundry spurious arguments that assume wind can be an effective player in the power marketplace. For this is what all the rent seeking is about.”

    I’m not sure what this would like in the UK, but I can give you an example of what this looks like in the US. In April 2009, BusinessWeek reported that the FPL Group (now NextEra) had dropped their corporate tax rate of 35% down to 1.3% — made possible by their investment in alternative energy. (http://www.readperiodicals.com/201011/2187787201.html – scroll down to “The Driving Force”) 35% down to 1.3% — THAT IS SIGNIFICANT.

    Even the IRS just recently pegged “tax avoidance” as “the heart of the Solyndra bankruptcy plan” http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/oct/10/irs-says-tax-avoidance-heart-solyndra-bankruptcy-p/ It is the money to be made via equity wind partnerships through tax avoidance that captures the hearts of wind investors.

    That’s what all of this is about.

  5. Hi christensen411

    As you suggest, this renewables nonsense has nothing whatsoever to do with taking over Nature’s job of controlling the different global climates. It has nothing to do with a shortage of fossil fuel reserves. It has nothing to do with security of supply.

    It’s all about power, money and attracting the votes of environmental activists. The sad thing is that the majority of our “Right Honourable” and “Honourable” elected representatives have no interest in representing us. All that they want is to keep their political jobs because they are no use anywhere else. That’s why all but three of our MPs voted against that ridiculous Climate Change Act.

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

  6. christensen411 says:

    Thank you Mr. Ridley for your comments. I agree, the majority of the elected representatives wide of the politically correct coattails of this nonsense. But there are a few who do not. Here is an excerpt from one of our US Senators, Senator Alexander:

    “Wind developers often sell their tax credits to Wall Street banks or big corporations or other investors who have large incomes. They create what is called a ‘tax equity’ deal in order to lower or eliminate taxes. This is the scheme that our president, who is championing ‘economic fairness,’ would like to make permanent.”

    http://www.alexander.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=c4f65c30-b918-40a6-8eee-d5a4ee8d81af&ContentType_id=778be7e0-0d5a-42b2-9352-09ed63cc4d66&Group_id=80d87631-7c25-4340-a97a-72cccdd8a658&MonthDisplay=3&YearDisplay=2012

    This tax avoidance scheme is why we have companies such as “Microsoft, Sprint” (and Starbucks) joining the growing list of major companies calling on the US Congress to extend wind Production Tax Credit http://www.awea.org/newsroom/pressreleases/120613Microsoft_Sprint.cfm And why “nearly half of the world’s largest corporations plan to moderately or significantly increase investment in renewable energy over the next five years” as mentioned in this AWEA link.

    Wind energy is justified as a carbon reducer. But the wind enterprise refuses to provide the public with the data that shows, transparently, how wind volatility affects performance of thermal units.

    My associate once said:

    “Those who say that wind likely will reduce emissions should be obligated to document how wind is now causing reduced emissions, since the nation [US] now has nearly 50GW of installed wind. This is not a hypothetical situation, informed only by averages and projections. It should be an easily demonstrable conditional in a metrically significant way. I’d love to see someone show that measured wind output even correlates with overall measured fossil fuel generation reductions, let alone causes reductions in carbon emissions. Now this would be an ‘interesting’ document.”

    Where’s the REAL grid performance? It is CRITICAL to understand that NO regulatory or scientific agency in the world has provided unbiased, transparent analysis and measurement of the fuel consumption with and without wind — no place, not anywhere in the world.

    Going back to the words of my associate: “If wind, and all of its king’s horses and all of it’s king’s men, cannot objectively reduce a measured amount of carbon emissions–NO MATTER WHAT THE COST, then the whole enterprise is bogus.”

    Perhaps that’s the reason no one is looking at REAL grid performance and analyzing fossil fuel consumption with and without wind. Doing so could literally obliterate the entire sham (and the tax avoidance that comes with it) – for this is what their whole scheme is built upon.

  7. christensen411 says:

    Sorry typo! Correction —> I agree, the majority of the elected representatives ride on the politically correct coattails of this nonsense.

  8. christensen411 says:

    Look what I just ran across from 11/15/2012:

    “Google extends commitment to green energy with $75 million investment in Iowa wind farm”

    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/arts-and-life/life/greenpage/google-extends-commitment-to-green-energy-with-75-million-investment-in-iowa-wind-farm-179498111.html?story=Google%20extends%20commitment%20to%20green%20energy%20with%20$75%20million%20investment%20in%20Iowa%20wind%20farm

    It’s all about the tax credits and the tax avoidance they provide.

    So does the UK provide the same kind of tax scheme???? Obviously Google has something cooked over there too:

    “UK lawmakers will quiz executives of Starbucks (SBUX.O), Google (GOOG.O) and Amazon (AMZN.O) on Monday about how they have managed to pay only small amounts of tax in Britain while racking up billions of dollars worth of sales here…”

  9. Hi christensen411,

    I wise old Australian bird said to me several years ago “If you are puzzled about something – follow the money ”. It usually does the trick and certainly applies when puzzling over why our beloved “right honourable” and “honourable” leaders are so eager to waste billions of hard-earned taxpayers’ money on those useless wind-powered electricity generating installations (aka “wind farms”).

    Puzzling over Carbon Credits? – follow the money “ .. Carbon Credits have become the latest asset class to be targeted by fraudsters … Carbon assets are tradable certificates allowing companies to produce a specified amount of pollution without prosecution. It appears that the people running these scams are often the same people who previously were involved in ‘boiler rooms’ and land banking fraud where regulation caught up with them. This trade is not yet regulated by the FSA , but hopefully will be soon. The FSA can only act if the carbon credits are being traded as part of a collective investment scheme or a futures contract .. ” (investmentadviceeastsussex.co.uk/page/tax_avoidance_carbon_credits_permanent_interest_bearing_shares_housing_statistics *) – I know, it’s a little off-track but it is all a part of the same scam.

    Being a supreme optimist I believe that there is light at the end of this long long tunnel. “ .. Orders for offshore wind turbines have come to an abrupt halt in the UK, in what some industry figures say is the first clear sign of a long-feared slowdown in renewable energy investment .. ” (ft.com/cms/s/0/e8824b96-2676-11e2-9109-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2CTZymVxq *).

    I look forward to the day when “fracking in the shale” becomes as popular a slogan for us all in the UK (and that abomination the EU) as it is in the USA. It appears that the Russia giant Gazprom is less enthusiastic than I – see “EU-Russian Shale War Escalates” by the Global Warming Policy Foundations’s co-founder Dr. Benny Peiser (canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/49499 *).

    * In order to get past the “spam” detector I have removed http://www. from the three URLs

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

  10. Lt. Columbo says:

    Renewable and sustainable are two different things. I argue that the most sustainable energy is Nuclear, so far as we know with current science, though new energy sources may emerge in the future, due to Man’s incessant scientific enquiry. I say that it is the case that due to the very long decay time for U235 that it will not in practical terms ever run out.

    Other elements which are fissionable, also have very long decay times, and these elements are being produced all the time, from decay of U238 & U235 in natural processes. The most commonly used in modern Nuclear reactors is Uranium 235, but the Thorium decay cycle can also be harnessed to provide useful nuclear power.

    Uranium-235 has a half-life of 703.8 million years.The fission of one atom of U-235 generates 202.5 MeV = 3.244 × 10−11 J, which translates to 19.54 TJ/mol, or 83.14 TJ/kg. Or put it another way 1Kg of U235 can produce about 23 Gigawatt hours of energy. (1Kg of coal can produce about 6 Kilowatt hours of energy by comparison). Thorium has similar impressive figures.

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