Monday, January 26, 2015

It's time to invest in something useful

I have long since been irritated by the continuing proliferation of wind turbines that keep appearing across the country, many in some of the most naturally beautiful areas of the countryside.
My irritation is compounded by the fact that they rarely seem to be turning.  Sometimes this is due to a lack of wind, at others it is due to the wind being too strong, and at other times it is because the grid is at full capacity and the turbine owners are paid to switch them off.  Industry figures reveal that in 2014 £53.1 million was paid to green energy companies for shutting down turbines.
The reality is that wind-generated electricity is ludicrously inefficient.  It has received billions of pounds in subsidies from UK taxpayers as a result of ill-conceived and misguided Government policy, yet it still only manages to contribute a pitifully small amount of electricity to the national grid. 
Between 5 pm and 5:50 pm on Monday 19th January 2015 UK electricity demand hit its highest level this winter – 52.54 gigawatts, yet despite the fact that the UK now has more than 30,000 onshore turbines, wind contributed less than 1% of the total (Gas 42%, coal 29%, nuclear 16%, hydro 5% with the remainder being imported). 
If you are interested, you can view a summary of recent consumption by clicking here.
I am not averse to either energy levies or taxation money being used to develop and subsidies green energy technologies, but I do object when Government spends our money in idiotic ways.  The UK once led the world in power generation; be it coal, hydro, gas or nuclear, but now we lag behind other nations in all forms of power generation including solar and, most importantly of all, nuclear fusion.

We should therefore stop the stupidity of subsidising ineffectual and unwanted wind projects and divert resources into the types of projects that have the potential to provide for our energy needs well into the next century. 


  1. Looking at the live data today (5th Feb @ 9am), the proportion of wind power generated is 3.15% and is greater than the proportion of hyrdo. To put that into context, it's only 1/6 the amount generated by nuclear power, and an even smaller percentage than that generated by gas or by coal..... but we're trending in the right direction and surely we should applaud this as a move away from the non-sustainable carbon fuels? I'm not saying that I disagree with you, but there are lies, damned lies and statistics....
    I also find wind farms oddly beautiful on the landscape, but perhaps that's just me!

    Tim (I attended a course you ran years and years ago, but I do enjoy your newsletter, albeit this is the first time I've felt moved to comment!)

  2. Thanks for your comments Tim. I agree that we need to move away from carbon fuels, but I feel that Government policy is being driven by short-term thinking. Wind generation is the easiest and quickest to develop, but almost all other green technologies offer greater potential e.g. tidal, nuclear, thermoelectric, solar, biomass etc.

  3. It's encouraging to see that, as well as all those windfarms, there are increasing numbers of solar farms (and not just the panels springing up on every roof). It seems as though, on a practical level, we are starting to take positive action about harnessing renewable energy sources (not sure I'd call nuclear a green energy, mind. Look at Fukishima....)

    Mind you, I interviewed someone last year who spent a period of time selling those turbines to farmers. Starting price was something appalling like £500,000 !