Sunday 10 August 2008

Blowing in the Wind

The Government has just approved a wind farm at Middlemoor near Alnwick. (Subject to the MoD accepting that coastal radar defences are not affected).

This is a real shame. It will look horrible as people drive past on the A1 to one of England's most beautiful areas (North Northumberland); even worse it will be visible once they get there.

I don't think that's the worse problem, however. I even have a sneaky feeling that after a few years we may get used to the look of wind farms.

I think the real problem is the shocking waste of our money and the ineffectiveness of such wind farms in meeting targets for carbon reduction. The only reason the power companies are interested in wind farms is because the Government is over-subsidising them. In addition the infrastructure will have to be upgraded significantly around the country to collect and distribute what little power the wind farms produce, and because the power is unreliable we will still need substantial extra capacity.

And at the same time, while we fiddle with wind we face a real problem with our power capacity. We are decommissioning nuclear and coal power stations with little to replace them except imported gas. Events of the last few weeks show we should not rely on Russia as the prime source of our power generation.

Technology has permitted improved coal and nuclear power plants. We should be urgently investing in these to fill the gap in capacity and in the meantime use the money we are investing in current renewable energy projects:
a) to support householders in micro generation projects (there's certainly enough wind by my roof to reduce my power useage, but its not economic to instal something without help); and
b) invest in technology to seek alternative power sources. suspect in the long term the much maligned US will bring more solutions of this type.

It's frustrating to have seen so much money going into oil producing states indirectly financing terrorism, and to see so much money wasted on the "War on terror" in Iraq and Afghanistan. A proportion of those billions invested in alternative energy could have had much more effect. The same will apply with Russia and gas.

The answer, my friend, is not blowing in the wind.


Anonymous said...

Hope you are feeling better after your fall.

The Olympics has really angered me to be honest. All the natural disasters and the Chinese have spent billions on sport. Sorry, but it just doesn't seem to add up in my eyes.

And as for wind farms, they are an eyesore. Very noisy too. And the farmers whose land is being used are being compensated a massive amount of money, especially if more than one is erected.

CJ xx

Troy said...

I think windfarms can look quite dramatic from a distance but they are a COMPLETE WASTE OF MONEY. Much better to have a barrage across the Wash or the Severn for green energy. We need some new British engineered nuclear plants not ones owned by the French Government. There will be black-outs (or should that be better termed Brown-outs)within the next eight years.

occasional northerner said...

I agree - we should get on now and build some new nuclear power stations before its too late both (a) in terms of coninuous supply of power; and (b) there still being anone left in this country who is capable of doing so.