Utter Madness: Trivial Energy Return For $Billions Squandered On Unreliable Wind Power

Despite the countless $billions in subsidies thrown at wind power, its contribution to world energy demand remains an accounting rounding error. Talk about wind power making a meaningful contribution to electricity supplies is pure delusion.

And yet, those that pretend to govern us openly conspire with the rent-seekers stealing from us in their joint efforts to maintain the greatest economic and environmental fraud, of all time. As brazen as the public are gullible.

Built on myth and fuelled by subsidies, the wind industry is the beneficiary of an endless stream of deceitful propaganda peddled by their buddies in the mainstream press.

Over the last decade, Matt Ridley has been one of the few ready to openly attack the great renewable energy scam. Here he is, on the warpath, once again.

Madness of our worship of wind
Daily Mail
Matt Ridley
28 March 2022

Take a wild guess at how much of the UK’s total primary demand for energy was supplied by wind power in 2020.

Half? 30 per cent? No, in fact, it was less than 4 per cent.

That’s right, all those vast wind farms in the North Sea, or disfiguring the hills of Wales and Scotland, give us little more than one-thirtieth of the energy we need to light and heat our homes, power our businesses or move our cars and trains.

Just think what this country and its seas would look like if we relied on wind for one-third or half of our energy needs.

Last week, Government ministers were considering lowering people’s energy bills if they live close to onshore wind turbines.

They’re also considering relaxing the rules so that onshore wind farms no longer need the backing of local communities and councils in order to get planning permission.

This will give wind farms an easier ride through the planning process than new housing — or shale gas drilling sites.

More importantly, it means further privileging an industry that has cost a fortune, wrecked green and pleasant landscapes and made us dependent on the weather for our energy needs — and thus more wedded to natural gas as a back-up.

The wind industry has already been fattened on subsidies of more than £6billion a year (paid for out of green levies on your electricity bills), it has privileged access to the grid and is paid extra compensation when the wind blows too strongly and the grid cannot cope with the energy output.

Indeed, the way wind power has managed to get politicians and others to think it is uniquely virtuous will deserve close study by future theologians.

Its symbols, akin to a post-modern Easter crucifix, now adorn almost any document that purports to be about British energy needs, signalling ‘goodness’.

Tousle-headed eco-protesters go weak at the knees when they see an industrial wind farm on wild land, while angry anti-capitalists won’t hear a word against the financial firms that back wind companies, somehow convincing themselves that this is all about re-empowering the common man.

When faced with a looming energy crisis, it’s obvious that the Government needs to act fast to secure energy selfsufficiency.

But what is so special about wind?

Why, to the exclusion of all else — in particular, fracking and nuclear energy — has arguably the most inefficient solution been privileged?

I was once a fan of wind power, because it seemed to be free. But it’s not.

It takes a lot of expensive machinery to extract useful power from the wind.

And once turbines are up and running, they’re not reliable.

Because you cannot store electricity for any length of time without huge cost, wind farms need backing up by fossil-fuel power stations.

This makes wind even more expensive.

As I write this article in still, fine spring weather, millions of tonnes of turbines stand largely idle, generating just 3 per cent of our electricity.

Coal contributes 5 per cent.

As a source of energy, wind is so weak that to generate any meaningful electricity output you need three 20-tonne carbon-fibre blades — each nearly the length of a football pitch — turning a 300-tonne generator atop a gigantic steel tower set in reinforced concrete.

Hundreds of these monsters are required to produce as much electricity as one small gas-powered plant. In terms of land covered, wind takes 700 times as much space to generate the same energy that one low-rise shale gas pad can.

It is not as if wind turbines are good for the environment. They kill thousands of birds and bats every year, often rare eagles on land and soaring gannets at sea.

If you were even to disturb a bat when adding a conservatory, you could end up in jail.

The wind turbines are also near impossible to recycle, with the rare earth metals such as neodymium that are vital for the magnets inside most of their generators coming from polluted mines in China.

Wind turbines are often built on hills to catch the breeze, meaning they inevitably intrude into natural beauty.

My favourite Northumbrian view, of Bamburgh Castle and Cheviot from the Farne Islands, is now visually polluted by a giant wind farm.

But for those who live closer to them, life can be intolerable.

The unresolved problem of wind turbine noise can make sleep difficult.

On sunny days, the shadows of the blades create an unnerving flicker as they pass your windows.

Being next to a wind farm won’t enhance your house’s value — and I doubt any reduction in your energy bill would help.

Nor is it clear that wind farms reduce emissions significantly.

If the meagre 4 per cent of our energy that came from wind in 2020 had entirely displaced coal, we would have seen at least a modest cut in our emissions.

But there are three reasons why that is not what happens.

First, we need other power stations to back up the wind farms when the wind does not blow, and these plants — mostly burning gas — are inevitably less efficient when being ramped up and down to support wind’s erratic output.

The wind industry promises that the more wind farms we build, the more likely we are to find there will always be a breeze somewhere.

But experience shows the opposite. Last week, for instance, was virtually still everywhere; the week before was windy everywhere.

A recent study published in the International Journal for Nuclear Power, looking at Germany and 17 neighbouring countries, confirmed this erratic output.

Its author, physicist Thomas Linnemann, wrote: ‘Wind power from a European perspective always will require practically 100 per cent back-up systems.’

Second, wind turbines themselves are built and maintained using fossil fuels.

Analysis of audited accounts suggests that many wind farms will not work for much more than 15 years before the cost of maintaining the machine eats into income and it has to be scrapped and replaced.

The capital refreshment cycle for these machines is very short.

A gas turbine on the other hand can easily last 30 or 40 years.

Third, the one source of energy whose economic rationale has been most damaged by wind power is zero-carbon nuclear.

Nuclear plants all over the world are closing down early, or being cancelled, because they cannot pay their way in a world where bursts of almost valueless wind energy keep being dumped into the grid.

Nuclear plants cannot ‘fill a gap’ when the wind drops — they’re efficient only when generating constantly.

A wind-powered grid can be backed up with gas, or a nuclear grid topped up with gas, but a grid powered by wind and nuclear will not work.

Wind’s champions insist its costs are coming down and that its electricity is now cheaper than from gas or even coal.

But there is a great deal of data, all pointing to industry costs (per megawatthour) not falling but rising, as economics Professor Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University has found.

Building and maintaining wind farms is about to get even more costly because of the rocketing costs of fuel and raw materials.

As for the competition, gas is currently very expensive in Britain, but it used to be cheap and it could be once more — particularly if we open up the North Sea and get fracking.

Then there’s the cost of ‘constraint payments’, which means extra compensation paid (by you, the electricity consumer) to wind farms when the grid cannot cope with their output.

Some wind farms in Scotland have been paid to throw away large fractions of their energy.

Since the introduction of the payments in 2010, the cost to consumers has topped a staggering £1.1bn.

That’s before you consider the subsidies, which data shows have been rising for offshore wind for two decades.

When the wind industry boasts of being cheap and you challenge them to forgo subsidies, they mutter and look down at their feet.

This happened at a parliamentary select committee this month: boasts of cheapness followed by protestations that subsidies must be maintained.

Something doesn’t add up.

Even these costs understate the problem because they do not include the huge ‘system costs’ in reconfiguring and operating the national grid to cope with more unreliable energy if we continue our mad dash to wind power. These costs would be shared by all power sources, so wind’s competitors would pay for wind’s privileges.

Here is what Professor Hughes and Dr John Constable of the Renewable Energy Foundation said recently: ‘The assumptions which underpin the BEIS [Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy] estimates of the cost of generation for wind and solar power are fanciful, and do not withstand even cursory scrutiny; under close analysis they disintegrate and are a disgrace to the civil service and an embarrassment to ministers.

‘They are so far from the actual costs incurred … and recorded in audited accounts that they are not worth further consideration, except as evidence for fundamental civil service reform.’

Why is this so important? Professor Hughes explains: ‘The Government is creating a situation in which it will have no option other than to bail out failed and failing projects to ensure continuity of electricity supply.

‘Ultimately [the losses] will fall largely on taxpayers and customers.’

For too long, wind power has been championed to the exclusion of virtually all other energy alternatives. That must end.

Thousands of words, mine included, have been written, demonstrating the deluded obsession with wind — and the huge benefits of untapped alternatives, particularly shale gas (accessed through fracking) and nuclear power.

These arguments are based on reason and data.

Yet the Government dismisses them with bluster and deflection, standing up instead for the wind industry.

Someone needs to start standing up for the rest of us.
Daily Mail

About stopthesethings

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

Comments

  1. In light of recent world events what are the current prospects for nuclear energy (NE)?
    1. Has the politics of NE changed? Politics has always been the key to unlock NE and more so today with multiple stakeholders wielding power of veto. Something has changed on the ground but what does that mean for politicians? “Front Page” reality of the Texas Blackout, World Energy Crisis and Ukraine war has pushed electricity reliability & cost and the big sleeper: energy independence (E/I) to the forefront in the minds of top politicians on par with decarbonization & environmental concerns. So what is new?

    Social media is now playing a key role in combatting dis-information before it can run rampant. It is true that NE is more popular with the people than with politicians. Expediency rules and we can at least, trust politicians to follow the wind. There is safety in numbers and if the recent stream of phase-outs of nuclear phase-outs (and phase-downs) continues, politicians now have the political will and “cover” from the mainstream i.e., polls. Support in the West, continues to grow with the majority of Americans and Europeans (including Germans!) strongly or generally supporting NE. The gauge of NE support will be the increase in Plants under Construction. As of March 2022, there were 440 NPPs operating with 55 under construction in 19 countries. De-growth of NE is over and a ramp-up can be expected. France’s recent presidential polling indicates that pro-nuclear expansion candidates received 72% of the popular vote. In addition to the numerous cancellations of Phase-outs (Belgium, S. Korea, Japan, etc.), the UK and Holland just announced major NE build programs.

    Energy Independence has burst back onto the geo-political scene with a vengeance. Momentum will continue to build as even the globalists admit that Ukraine would not have been invaded by Putin’s war machine without Europe’s 1B euros/day FF purchases, and moreover, Germany would not also still be sending Putin 0.5 B euros/day, 2 months into the war. People now see the ramifications of the current crisis: 1. Net Zero can never be achieved without a practical transition plan. 2. A leap of faith on 100% RE won’t cut it. 3. Resorting to “Hijacking” of Natural Gas supplies on the open ocean for emergency electricity is not energy policy. 4. Even worse, burning Natural Gas for electricity generation to the detriment of other civilizational priorities such as fertilizers and industrial staples, is a recipe for global disaster that is now unfolding.

    Investment cycles must play out. Global energy markets will remain roiled and suffer from high prices & volatility until at least 2025. In the interim high electricity prices, food scarcities and critical supply chains squeezes will foment unrest and keep the focus on energy. It appears that each generation must re-learn the true cost of sacrificing Energy Independence & diversity of supply. Germany sank to 30% E/I over the last decade in pursuit of Energiewende. By contrast, Japan and France took different paths but respected E/I’s key principles. Japan also sacrificed NE but deployed a successful FF diversification strategy until recent world events forced a NE reset. France with its 70% electricity supply from its nuclear fleet, has achieved an E/I about twice as high as Germany and avoided outright Nat Gas dependence on Putin. It is ironic that Mr Renewables himself, Elon Musk publicly called Germany out to take immediate action to re-start NE and take back its independence from Putin. His words are prescient: “A Renewables system cannot be ramped up fast”.

    NIMBY? An impressive and growing list of Environmentalists are now advocating for NE as the necessary solution and complementary partner to RE. They see NIMBY working to NE’s advantage given its small footprint i.e., much less of a land grab & existing infrastructure, compared to Renewables. Germany ‘s Energiewende plan to scale-up RE is now stalled by the growing NIMBY backlash from rural voters. Global Installation of wind turbines has plateaued in recent years. Whereas surveys around the West’s NPPs (and coal plants) repeatedly show high support for NE and a strong desire for new build.

    2. Is Nuclear a green solution in practicality? N¬¬ot so long ago, over 75% of Europeans believed that NE generated GHGs. The recent EU Green Taxonomy battle reached a favourable conclusion for NE with the EU Commission declaring support for NE on the basis that it is essential for the Net-Zero goal AND it does no more harm to the environment than Renewables. The disinformation battle is being won and this speaks to NE burnishing its green credentials in the eyes of the public.

    The nuclear waste issue has long been a favourite and effective cudgel of detractors. Yet after a short discussion with most people, invariably a certain re-balancing occurs. They are surprised to learn that hospitals generate comparable quantities of medium & low-level radioactive waste. I did not know 40% of hospital ER procedures are dependent on radiation and nuclear plants. They are even more surprised when they learn modern countries produce 200Kg of Toxic waste (chemicals, etc.) per capita per year. By comparison, France (70% reliant on NE) generates only 1 gram p.c./yr. of spent fuel waste. Nuclear waste is managed to high standards, unlike other industries such as RE. While some will complain it is preposterous to compare waste from wind and solar infrastructure to coal and nuclear waste as far as toxicity goes the reality is otherwise when spent fuel has aged 400 years. There is no reason to disparage solar and wind, but people are recognizing the relatively more voluminous turbine blades and PV panels will exact a toll on people and the environment as the heavy metals inevitably leach out from landfills.

    A nuclear waste plant is not for every neighbourhood, but it is safe to say that the tide has been turned with the successful siting and placing into service of nuclear waste facilities in Finland & Sweden. Ontalo, Finland is on the map with the support of the Finnish Greens and has demonstrated the power of the consent-based process. Innovation is gearing up to play a major role as numerous waste management solutions have been demonstrated such as Transmutation, Waste Burning reactors, Engineered Lateral wellbores, etc. They will arrive over the next decade as SMRs and advanced reactors come online.
    In the final analysis, Nuclear Energy is just one more tool in the toolbox that will only be ignored at our collective peril.

  2. ‘Ultimately [the losses] will fall largely on taxpayers and customers.’
    In Canada the Canadian Pension Plan investors have invested billions in wind turbine projects. So, who will be left ‘holding the bag’ for this failed experiment and these stranded assets?

  3. ronaldsteinptsadvancecom says:

    Using nameplate capacity to compare technologies is misleading people into believing that weather dependent electricity can “replace” technologies that can manage their fuels when they cannot. This kind of reporting and public relations is, intentionally or not, biased toward intermittent generation. It’s sad when done by the media and public relations, and worse when done by a government agency.

  4. Rafe Champion says:

    Have a look at the progress that has occurred with 5 trillion invested to increase RE compared with hydrocarbon power sources – the hydrocarbon contribution to total energy consumption shifted from 86% to 84%. Two percentage points!

    Mark Mills explains

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