‘Did nobody tell the energy secretary that on many of the coldest days the wind does not blow? That the wind is not a reliable source of power?
[Image courtesy of Davie Dunn via Flickr.com ©©]
With apologies to John Masefield, “I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky and all I ask is a tall ship a 1,000 foot giant wind turbine to steer her by.” Doesn’t sound quite right somehow, does it? And, if plans go ahead to build a new generation of so called “superturbines” off Britain’s coastline, you can bet your life things won’t look right either.
We’ve got over 400 of these admittedly smaller machines dotted along our shores already but local people from Whitehaven to Whitley Bay from St Andrews to St Ives may soon have to brace themselves for many more - the only difference being they’ll be over 5 times the height of Nelson’s Column and will blend in with their surroundings with difficulty. IE not at all.
It never used to be like this when wind energy was harnessed for the purely local needs of farmers milling corn and producing flour. Even then windmills were hopelessly inefficient but at least had the advantage of being handsome.
Not so these new-fangled eyesores which are - and here’s the real scandal of the whole lunatic enterprise - just as inefficient as those cute little contraptions so beloved of Dutch landscape painters.
If all our modern wind turbines were expected to do was part-power a few houses or businesses they’d be fine. But no, they’re being called on to provide the National Grid no less with cheap, green, and reliable power to help light and heat every home in the British Isles. And they’re simply not up to it.
Generous subsidies mean the derisory amount of power they do produce isn’t cheap. And guess who's paying for it. The metal and cement needed for their construction cancel out any green credentials. And their output is so reliable they have to be backed up by conventional gas-fired power stations which kick in on those days when the wind stubbornly refuses to blow.
Of course the turbine companies will tell you otherwise. They’ll cite misleadingly the “capacity” of these machines rather than their actual output which on average is about a quarter of that officially boasted of.
Did nobody tell the energy secretary that on some of the bitterest, boneachingly cold days of the year the wind does not blow at all? That the wind, to repeat, is not a reliable source of power?
Perhaps they did and he chose not to listen. Either way, prepare yourself for ever bigger super-follies which could shortly be coming to a beauty spot near you - and in the process ruining it for generations if not for good.