Wind power fraud “Voortrekker”: Niall Ferguson called it years ago

There were some amongst us who – right from the outset – recognised wind power as the greatest economic and environmental fraud of all time.  In Afrikaans they would be called the “Voortrekkers” – those that got out in front early and stayed there.

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Sure, I made some enemies, but that happens – leading from the front.

The followers of the Voortrekkers  – include people like Australia’s Dick Smith, whose recent documentary Ten Bucks a Litre screened on ABC this week and sent the greentard bloggers into – yet another – tailspin.

Dick wrote off wind power as being intermittent, unreliable and expensive – in Dick’s view it is simply NOT a solution to Australia’s energy needs.  But he waxed lyrical about nuclear power, noting that the left’s favourite nation, France, generates 80% of its sparks using CO2 free nuclear plants and has done for 60 years without incident.

Dick also spent time praising the greatest renewable project ever undertaken in Australia – the Snowy Hydro Scheme and lamented the fact that our current crop of politicians don’t seem to have the courage to set out on Nation building projects like that any more.

Here’s a clip from the doco with Dick heaping praise on a REAL renewable project of the kind STT has been championing for some time now.  And – cheap, clean, reliable sparks aside – the Snowy system allows for the capture and orderly release of water into the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers which – over 50 years – has built and maintained hundreds of thriving rural communities downstream. Agriculture and horticulture – which would have been otherwise impossible – fed by water sent West to the plains, not East to the sea – led to sustainable economic growth and wealth for thousands of migrant families that settled along these rivers in the Sunraysia and SA’s Riverland. The Snowy scheme kept Nick Xenophon’s home State, South Australia from dying of thirst a dozen times since it was built.  Adelaide survives – and only survives – thanks to the water fed to it down the Murray from the Snowy system.

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STT is happy to introduce Dick to Bruce Scott, Craig Kelly, Nick Xenophon, John Madigan and Angus Taylor who most certainly get the importance of base-load renewables –  which means hydro – and who clearly prefer it to the nonsense that is wind power.  Expect to hear more from these boys when they’re in Government – or in Nick and John’s case holding the balance of power – in a few short months time.

And expect to hear not only about further Snowy like schemes for the Great Dividing Range – expect to hear Origin Energy pushing its plans to build a couple of the biggest hydro systems ever in Papua New Guinea – with the sparks sent South to Australia and into the Eastern Grid via undersea cables. The same as Basslink is used to send Tasmanian hydro power to the mainland and into the same Eastern Grid – which means, Tasmania, Queensland, NSW, Victoria and SA.  The output from Origin’s 2 big PNG hydro systems would together generate more than 20% of Australia’s daily demand for sparks – all BASE-LOAD and without a puff of CO2.

If you’re quick you can catch Dick’s doco on ABC iview here.  Don’t dally as they remove the video within a few days.

Back to the Voortrekkers – one of them was Professor Niall Ferguson.

Niall has an academic pedigree of some eminence – in international and economic history – and has written a swag of books on the topic. Having written extensively on bubble markets, hyperinflation events, financial markets and their impact on civilization he can spot an economic fraud a mile off.

Here’s one from the archives where Niall lays out the impact of turbine terror on his beloved Wales – but read carefully as he points out the complete economic nonsense that is wind power.  The insight and analysis is first class.  Shamefully – mainstream media have (until very recently) ignored the facts as presented here.

One day soon – Niall will be awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for having pointed to the Emperor’s naked form – and, thereby, saving Western Civilization from the economic Dark Ages that the ecofascists and greentards are eager to foist upon us with their infantile quest for wind power “supremacy”.

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Wind power fraud “Voortrekker” – Professor Niall Ferguson.

How the pollution from this War of the Winds makes my blood boil
Wales Online
26 July 2004

Plans for a wind farm off the South Wales coast at Porthcawl, and visible across the entire Swansea Bay, have brought widespread criticism.

Plans for a wind farm off the South Wales coast at Porthcawl, and visible across the entire Swansea Bay, have brought widespread criticism. Writing here after the scheme was approved by the National Assembly, Professor Niall Ferguson outlines his opposition to the turbines.

IT IS A SCENE worthy of HG Wells.  Hideous, grey metallic monsters – some of them more than 400 feet high – are invading our green and pleasant land.  There are literally thousands of them, emitting a deafening hum as their huge heads revolve.  Some can scale our mountains.

Others stalk our shores. At night they can still be seen by their flashing red eyes.  Soon these hideous aliens will be everywhere.

And yet, in the best traditions of science-fiction, these are not, strictly speaking, aliens at all. Like Frankenstein’s monster, they are our own creation.  How could mankind have been so foolish?  What madman allowed Britain to be overrun by this monstrous new species?

The monsters in question are wind turbines.  The madmen responsible for them are our politicians.

And if the people of Britain do not act soon to halt this alien invasion, hundreds of miles of our ancient countryside and shoreline will be disfigured for a generation.  This is not the War of the Worlds.  It is the War of the Winds.

As I write this, looking out the window of our newly acquired house on the Glamorgan coast and trying to imagine how the 30 turbines due to be built directly opposite will look and sound, I am of course a sitting duck.  My opposition, someone is sure to say, is mere “nimbyism”.

Surely something has to be done to wean the world off fossil fuels – because if we don’t switch to “renewable” sources of energy such as wind, our planet will soon be engulfed by a climatic catastrophe.  I agree: Something does have to be done to slow down carbon dioxide emissions.  It’s just that the construction of 9,000 giant wind turbines is not that something.

The truth is that the Government’s commitment to wind power is a huge con being perpetrated in the name of environmentalism.  Not only will it do virtually nothing to halt global warming.  It will impose major economic burdens on ordinary Britons as tax payers, energy consumers and property owners.

The sole beneficiaries of this misconceived policy will be a few power companies and, no doubt, their friends in high places.

Let’s get this straight. I could just about live with Britain’s biggest wind farm – 30 giant wind turbines, each 443 feet tall, just three-and-a-half miles away – if I genuinely believed wind power was a viable solution to the problem of global climate change.  But the thought that their construction is no such thing – that it in fact represents a new and quite unnecessary form of pollution – makes my blood boil.

The view from Sker Point, west of the pretty seaside town of Porthcawl, is breathtakingly beautiful.  On a clear day, you can see across the Bristol Channel to Somerset and Devon. To the west, the Gower peninsula is clearly visible; and beyond it the open Atlantic. The long sandy beaches and rocky promontories here are a delight for walkers. And there few prettier spots in South Wales than the Kenfig and Margam Burrows, which have been designated a “Landscape of Outstanding Historic Interest”.

Even United Utilities admit that their wind farm will wreck – sorry, “significantly affect” – what they poetically call the “visual amenity”.

A beauty spot near you could be next.

There are already a thousand of the things, mainly at sites in the north of the country.  The bad news is that plans currently exist to build 8,000 more – 2,000 on land and a staggering 6,000 around the coast.

Nimbyism aside, my objection is not just that wind turbines are a much more expensive way of generating power than conventional power stations.  We could all put up with bigger bills if it meant, in the cant phrase, saving the planet.  The key problem is that wind power is so inefficient that it scarcely replaces conventional sources of energy at all.

United Utilities make the typical claim that their Scarweather wind farm will have a total capacity of “up to 108 megawatts” – “enough energy every year to power 82,000 homes, equivalent to a city the size of Swansea”.

What’s more, the company argues, their turbines “will save just under 6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide [from] being released into the atmosphere”.  The price tag?  A snip at £60m – even if it does last only 22 years.

Well, perhaps not quite such a snip. As the Royal Academy of Engineering has pointed out, coal, gas and nuclear plants produce power for between 2p and 3p per kilowatt hour, compared with 5.4p for land-based turbines.  What’s more, because of the technical difficulty of building, servicing and transmitting the power from them, offshore turbines are even more expensive, generating power at 7.2p per kilowatt hour.

But that’s not all.  Wind, in case you hadn’t noticed, varies.  Sometimes it howls. Sometimes there’s scarcely a breath.  Modern wind turbines start producing some electricity when the wind reaches a speed of about 8 miles per hour; they perform optimally when the wind hits 33mph, and they cut out altogether at around 56mph.  What that means is that any energy supplier wanting to buy power from wind farms must also line up substitutes for those days when the wind is either too weak or too strong.

But hang on: I thought wind farms were supposed to be a substitute for coal, gas and nuclear power stations.  Wrong.  They can stand in for them only when the wind is not too weak and not too strong but just right.  The rest of the time, the more reliable power stations have to step in.  This means that the true cost of wind power includes the cost of providing back-up power to compensate for the wind turbines’ intermittent output.  And guess who picks up these extra costs?  Step forward the consumer – not to mention the taxpayer.

This is not a theoretical debate.  Other countries are already far further down the eco-friendly path to wind power than we are.  In the United States, there are already more than 20,000 wind turbines scattered across thousands of acres of land in no fewer than 30 states, not least progressive California.

Closer to home, the German government says it aims to be the “Wind Power World Power”. They already have more than 15,000 wind turbines.  If you want to walk through a veritable wind turbine forest, visit the Uckermark region north of Berlin.

But in a devastating report published in March, the news magazine Der Spiegel exposed what it called “The Windmill Madness”.  What had begun as “the dream of environmentally friendly energy” had turned out to mean the ‘highly subsidised destruction of the landscape’.

The figures are hair-raising.  The German wind power industry has already received tax breaks worth an estimated 1.1 billion euros just to erect their turbines.  On top of that, the “windustry” is guaranteed a price of 8.8 cents per kilowatt hour, compared with the average market price of 3.5 cents.  Yet the German grid is now plagued by the unpredictability of wind power generation.  In one region, the wind was strong enough to utilise more than half the available capacity on only 36 days of the year – less than one day in 10.  On 150 days, less than 10% of capacity was being used.  It has turned out that for every megawatt of wind power, the system needs 800-900 kilowatts in reserve from other sources.

Not only are all these costs now being passed on to ordinary Germans in the form of rising electricity and tax bills.  An even bigger price is also being paid by home owners next to wind farm sites, where property values have collapsed.  The only beneficiaries have been the super-rich Germans who have invested in wind farms because of the huge tax breaks – not to mention the politicians in the industry’s pocket.

Are we in the process of making the same mistakes in Britain?

The answer is yes.

Not a single wind farm would be built here were it not for the Government’s starry-eyed commitment to increase the share of energy we produce from “renewable” sources from 3.9% to 20% by 2020, with a long-term goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 60% over the next five decades.

The Department of Trade and Industry has decided that nearly three-quarters of the additional “renewable” energy should come from wind turbines.

To ensure that this happens, electricity suppliers are being forced by law to buy a rising proportion of their power from wind farms.

What this represents is a return to the planned economy in the name of environmentalism – a kind of Green Stalinism.

The consequences are the familiar Soviet ones: centralised decision-making and localised devastation.  In our case, the inspector’s report, drawn up after a public inquiry, clearly recommended against United Utilities’ proposal.  It was simply ignored by the four-member subcommittee of the Welsh Assembly, who gave the green light.

What is so absurd is that no matter how many wind turbines we build, global dependence on fossil fuels will scarcely be diminished at all.

Indeed, if we are not careful, we ourselves could end up relying even more on precisely the sources of power the Government claims it is against.

Why? Because even as it has pumped money into the white elephants known as wind farms, the Government has been unthinkingly running down the one reliable source of CO2-free power.

Over the next 20 years, all but one of the UK’s 16 nuclear power stations will close.

And it will take a lot more than an invasion of 400 foot turbines to compensate for that.

Niall Ferguson is Professor of History at Harvard University, a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford, and a Senior Research Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford. His two books Colossus, and Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World, have been made into television programmes which he has presented.
Wales Online

Seems ironic that a man who spends his days as an historian – looking in the rear-view mirror – could absolutely nail a forecast of our economic future – the “future” planned for us by the ecofascist – that is.  His prescience just could be the product of being hip to that old chestnut about “those who don’t know history being destined to repeat it.” Clearly Niall has a pretty solid grasp on past events and – from that little piece – shows he’s one smart cookie who won’t let us repeat it without a fight.

STT says: “hats off Niall”!

Josef Stalin

Dear Niall, I have a “cunning plan” whereby stable, reliable & cheap electricity will be replaced by intermittent, unreliable & insanely expensive wind power. I direct you to ignore all lessons from history and support my agents, the wind weasels, ecofascists & greentards as they implement it. Yours, Joe.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. It would be good if our Government took up the challenge that Dick Smith laid down about building renewable, sustainable electric power sources that will supply our needs into the future, not something like wind power that is here now and not there the next, let alone the health problems that wind turbines cause.

  2. Jackie Rovensky says:

    2004 – well people were listening weren’t they!!! At least those who are capable of seeing beyond the chinking rattle of coin in the pocket were and still are.

    So many mistakes being repeated throughout the so called intelligent forward thinking and economically savvy countries of this world.
    The problem is too many politicians know the electorate is asleep and too lazy to speak out, so they continue on doing their own thing to further their own careers and bank accounts instead of keeping watch over the countries essential services ensuring they will always be available when needed.

    It’s good to hear that people like Dick Smith are now speaking out -perhaps high profile personalities will wake the sleeping giant – the population – to what is happening to their future.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Wind power fraud “Voortrekker”: Niall Ferguson called it years ago […]

  2. […] STT is a huge fan of hydro power – as we have made plain on a number of occasions (see our posts here and here). […]

  3. […] STT is a huge fan of renewable energy – provided it can be delivered on demand (see our posts here and here). […]

  4. […] with leading Australian businessmen, Dick Smith dumping a bucket on wind power as pointless, infantile […]

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