American Elephants

The Winds of Change by The Elephant's Child

Matt Ridley, author of many books, especially The Rational Optimist,in a new article in The Spectator, points out that the British government has finally seen through the wind-farm scam, but getting rid of it is something else. Now he is confronted with a personal problem. A family trust has signed a deal to receive £8,500 from a wind company, which is building a turbine on land that once belonged to his grandfather. He is not a beneficiary. But he finds the idea that any part of his family is receiving ‘wind-gelt’ so abhorrent that he has decided to act.

He is offering a checque for £8,500 as a prize for the best article devoted to rational, fact-based environmental journalism. It will be called the Matt Ridley prize for environmental heresy, and he hopes that it will somehow bring David Cameron to his senses.

To the nearest whole number, the percentage of the world’s energy that comes from wind turbines today is: zero. Despite the regressive subsidy (pushing pensioners into fuel poverty while improving the wine cellars of grand estates), despite tearing rural communities apart, killing jobs, despoiling views, erecting pylons, felling forests, killing bats and eagles, causing industrial accidents, clogging motorways, polluting lakes in Inner Mongolia with the toxic and radioactive tailings from refining neodymium, a ton of which is in the average turbine — despite all this, the total energy generated each day by wind has yet to reach half a per cent worldwide.

If wind power was going to work, it would have done so by now. The people of Britain see this quite clearly, though politicians are often willfully deaf. …The biggest investors in offshore wind — Mitsubishi, Gamesa and Siemens — are starting to worry that the government’s heart is not in wind energy any more. …

So even if you accept the most alarming predictions of climate change, those turbines that have ruined your favourite view are doing nothing to help. The shale gas revolution has not only shamed the wind industry by showing how to decarbonise for real, but has blown away its last feeble argument — that diminishing supplies of fossil fuels will cause their prices to rise so high that wind eventually becomes competitive even without a subsidy. Even if oil stays dear, cheap gas is now likely to last many decades.

Great fun. If you have not read The Rational Optimist, you are missing something splendid. Or go to TED, and watch his lecture on “When Ideas Have Sex.”

1 Comment so far
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I can hear the Global warming crowd crying foul already. It will be very interesting to see what comes of this.


Comment by hey_sherm

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