UK Energy Policy: Complete Bedlam as the Lunatics take over the Asylum


Britain’s new Energy Department at work.


Since the 14th Century, the term “Bedlam” has been a well-worn figure of speech used to signify a state of madness, chaos, and the often irrational nature of the world.

As any good Brit knows, Bedlam was a notorious mental institution – dating back to the reign of Henry III. In modern times, the phrase “complete Bedlam” is employed to cover situations of absolute uproar and confusion – for example, the moment when the lunatics take over the asylum.

Let there be no doubt about it – Britain’s energy policy has been designed – and is being run – by complete lunatics hell-bent on destroying Britain’s economic and environmental future.

The Tories – faced with seething outrage from voters about plans to spear thousands of giant fans all over England’s fair counties – have relented in their planned onshore roll-out; and have, instead, vowed to spend hundreds of £billions of taxpayer and power consumer money sending fans offshore.

The cost of delivering offshore wind power is INSANE – with generators guaranteed obscene returns – being able to charge “three times the current wholesale price of electricity and about 60% more than is promised to onshore turbines.”

In January, the Economist reported that “offshore wind power is staggeringly expensive” and “among the most expensive ways of marginally reducing carbon emissions known to man”. But that is merely to compare the insane costs of onshore wind power in the completely insane costs of offshore wind power (see our post here).

Comparisons are being made between the insane costs and mythical benefits of offshore wind power and the government’s proposed multi-billion pound High Speed 2 (HS2) rail project; which would run between London, the Midlands, Manchester and Yorkshire.

The HS2 has already been derided as an enormous “White Elephant” by Andrea Leadsom, the new Treasury minister, who has urged David Cameron to rethink the HS2 rail project, saying £50 billion investment is poor value for money.

But £50 billion for a speedy Railtrack seems a mere pittance, compared to what the Tories have committed British taxpayers and power consumers to pay in order to subsidise the offshore wind capacity that would be required to meet EU targets.

Here’s The Telegraph’s Christopher Booker on the latest from Bedlam.

The cost of wind-farms will dwarf that of HS2
The Telegraph
Christopher Booker
3 May 2014

We’ll need four times the number of planned offshore wind farms to meet EU energy targets.

Much attention was paid to the vote by a huge majority of MPs for the HS2 project, the main objections to which are that it will cost a staggering £50 billion and cause immense environmental damage, to much less useful purpose than is claimed for it.

But no one seems to have noticed that the same is true for another of the Government’s projects: its bid to meet our agreed EU target that, within six years, we must treble the amount of our electricity derived from “renewables”. Ed Davey, our energy and climate change minister, claims that his £12 billion plan, centred on six giant offshore wind farms, will add “4.5 gigawatts” to our generating capacity.

What Davey concealed, as I wrote last week, is that, thanks to the unreliability of the wind, the actual output of his project will be half that, 2.2 gigawatts, a mere 4 per cent of the electricity we use.

So, to meet our EU target by 2020, we would need four more projects of similar size, at a total cost of £60 billion, paid for through subsidies hidden in our electricity bills equating to £3,000 a year for every home in the land. We would need to spend billions more on connecting these wind farms to the grid, plus further billions on gas-fired power stations to provide back-up for the times when the wind isn’t blowing at the right speed.

When people finally wake up to what we are being let in for, their anger will make the row over HS2 look like chicken feed. But fortunately for Mr Davey, none of our MPs have yet done enough homework to grasp that what he is proposing is utterly insane.
The Telegraph

As STT followers know the myth that wind power is a substitute for on-demand generation sources (such as nuclear, coal, gas and hydro) has been well and truly busted.

There are plenty of occasions when Australian wind farms (those connected to the Eastern Grid and situated in South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales) – spread over an area larger than Great Britain – collectively produce less than 5% of their total installed capacity for hours – and even days – at a stretch (see our post here).

Britain’s planned offshore wind farm onslaught would see turbines concentrated in the English Channel or North Sea and within 20km of the Coast. So it’s hard to see how they would do any better than the pitiful production efforts of Australia’s fleet of slackers.

The point Chris Booker makes about needing 4 more projects of the same (enormous) size as that proposed by Ed Davey to meet the target, is based on the fact that actual wind farm output is rarely more than 30% of installed capacity – as an average over time (but, of course, delivered in random, chaotic spurts).

Remember that Soviet inspired renewable energy targets are set in stone – retailers are hit with financial penalties for falling short – and are fixed as annual amounts of renewable energy dispatched to the grid – as a percentage of total demand (or supply, depending on the policy).

If the target is 20% of demand (or, in Australia, a fixed figure of 41,000 GWh) then meeting the target requires the total generated annually to equal or exceed the figure set.

Because the collective output from Eastern Australia’s wind farms is often less than 5% of their installed capacity of 2,660 MW for long periods (hours and often days) the shortfall on such days (ie amounts produced below target) has to be made up when the wind starts blowing again.

That is, wind power output on “good days” has to be more than double that of the “bad days” to produce an aggregate level of output sufficient to meet the mandated target.

This means that total installed wind power capacity has to be much greater than an amount that assumes actual output equals notional capacity and, therefore, represents 20% of demand on a day-by-day basis (or that needed to satisfy a fixed target).

In other words, meeting a renewable target using intermittent wind power requires more than twice the number of fans that would – on a “good day” – satisfy the daily target, in order to make up for “bad days” – and end up satisfying an annual 20% (or fixed) target.

It’s for this reason that Ray Evans and Tom Quirke estimated that – in order to meet the mandated target – Australia would need to install a total of 27,000 MW of wind power capacity – at a cost of $52 billion. That’s 10 times the number of giant fans currently installed; and would require a duplicated transmission network to accommodate it – adding a further $30 billion to the cost. All of which would be ultimately sheeted home to power consumers.

Australians can count their lucky stars that our giant-fan-fiasco is in its death throes.

Brits, however, can look forward to more complete Bedlam.


Britain’s New Bedlam.


About stopthesethings

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


  1. […] Britain’s energy policy is clearly “other worldly” (see our post here) and/or the product of a “finer” kind of thinking (see our post here). […]

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