Friday, 10 August 2012

An Economic Analysis Politicians As Sure To Ignore

Wind turbines in Stirlingshire

My opinion of wind power is well known so there is no point in repeating it.

However I would like to draw attention to this article by Watts Up With That.

Dr Gordon Hughes is a Professor of Economics at the University of Edinburgh where he teaches courses in the Economics of Natural Resources ad Public Economics.

His full report on 'Why Is Wind Power So Expensive' is here.


Weekend Yachtsman said...

I despair of the latest antics of the Scottish "government".

They seem determined to over-rule and over-ride any semblance of opposition or common sense, in their mad rush to cover the country with these largely-useless* machines.

We are destroying our most beautiful landscapes and saddling our children and their children with enormous costs, and all for an unproven chimera (AGW) which looks less and less convincing as the years go by. Posterity will not be kind. "What the hell were they thinking" will be the very least of it.

* Almost useless, that is, at generating useful electricity; totally useless if you want to reduce CO2 emissions; very useful if your objective is to transfer money from the poor to foreign corporations and rich landowners.

JimS said...

I've just sent a 2.5g packet of coal to my MP. That packet contains the same amount of energy as the air in the chamber of the HoC if it were moving at 12mph, something that only happens 30% of the time. Even then we would be lucky to extract 50% of that energy. There is just about enough energy to make a mug of instant coffee, (no boiling).

Our modern industrial progress has been based on exploiting ever-denser energy sources, storeable, portable, freeing us from the vagaries of animal, wind and water.

The use of wind is a two and a half million step backwards.

JRB said...

Whilst Prof Hughes’ academic input brings a degree intellect and status to the argument, it remains an argument of which the average man-in-the-street with a basic ‘O’ level in arithmetic has been able to grasp for quite some time. Namely - the government’s figures on wind energy simply don’t add up.

But will the politicians concede to their erroneous arithmetic and bow to the weight of public opinion – will they h**l.

Elby the Beserk said...

Wind's contribution to the grid today

Zero per cent.

microdave said...

"It remains an argument of which the average man-in-the-street with a basic ‘O’ level in arithmetic has been able to grasp for quite some time"

That may be so, however many still believe the claim "The wind is always blowing somewhere". Stuart Young has done the maths on this one, and shown how often, and for how long, there is little or no wind over the entire country - today being a case in point.

Download his report here:

subrosa said...

Excellent comment Weekend Yachtsman. We were told wind would make jobs for thousands. I understand there have only been a few hundred temporary jobs. The rest is staff brought in by the manufacturers.

subrosa said...

Thanks JimS. Puts it all in proportion doesn't it.

subrosa said...

I don't think it has sunk in with the man in the street JRB. Many still believe the AGW scam. Doubt if they'll waken up until the country's covered in wind turbines.

subrosa said...

I had a look early this morning at it for yesterday Elby. Was the same.

subrosa said...

Great link Dave. Many thanks.

Joe Public said...

It is time for our politicians to admit they were gullibly misled into accepting the Kyoto Protocol by some wilfully incompetent "climate scientists", and to withdraw from it until there is absolute proof of Man-Made Global Warming.

Key bored warrior. said...

Struan Stevenson's latest public out burst has been shown to be utter rubbish as he denigrates off shore wind, and plays the environmental damage card, as does the very first line of this report you linked to Rosie. Here is the Stevenson report from NNS.
He has claimed environmental damage when any one who uses the sea knows he is talking bilge. The opposite is true in that marine life is protected and increasing around off shore wind farms. A bit like the on shore wind farms being labelled bird mincers by those with an agenda, recent studies have shown us that birds are simply not affected as the brains they do have allows them to avoid most obstacles in their flight paths. As do seafarers who use GPS and radar and chart plotters these days. The only ones who seem to have bother are the Royal Navy as they keep bumping in to places like Skye.
I live next door to Whitlee one of the biggest wind farms in the EU. Even today it is producing power. Since the place opened it has attracted huge numbers of visitors who use the visitor centre the cafe and trek and cycle the many miles of trails on the site, viewing the fantastic vistas now available to them as far as Antrim in Nortern Ireland on a clear day. The car park which has had to extended since it opened has been fill every single weekend, pulling in people to an area they would normally drive past quickly. The wildlife is thriving and the area has been vastly improved. "Oh the peat the peat," the bloggers howl. Guess what? The peat is still there just some of it has been moved aside. Drainage has been improved and ponds and rainwater capture areas installed to maintain the bio diversity of the area that has also improved. In 50 years if and when some other technology has arrived the area can swiftly return to being a park with tracks and pathways. Unlike Dounreay which will be closed for hundreds of years to come, as will Sansdside beach due to nuclear contamination. I am glad I live beside Whitlee rather than Foukoshima or Dounreay, or any other Nuclear poison plant.
I have spent five minutes on Google and found many reports stating that wind power is cutting the cost of energy and will continue to do so as we see production of the technology getting cheaper and turbines increasing their efficiency.
Yes the wind does not always blow but wind is only one component in the mix of renewable's Scotland is pushing. To say there is no jobs in the industry is just a lie, there are. Do your really think Whitlee runs by itself, on an area that produced nothing but weeds, and some timber?
The Hydrogen industry is a perfect fit with wind, as hydrogen can be used as a storage medium when the wind does not blow as can pumped storage for Hydro. The Hydro industry was one of Scotland's great success stories, but like most of Scotland was sacrificed at the altar of Thatcherite bigotry, and the free market economy which has proved to be no more free than the nationalised industries just making some pals in the city very rich.
However what is really behind all this wailing and gnashing of teeth about renewables is the Nuclear lobby, which is very powerful, and will stop at nothing to regain lost credibility, one of the filthiest industries on the planet. And one that has been paid for by massive subsidies since the 1950s when we were lied to about it's revolutionary potential, that it would give us electricity to cheap to meter. It is inextricably linked to WMDs, and that is why it has become so powerful. Would you push that button?
To say Scotlands environemt is being destryed is a gross exaggeration of fact, I cannot see it. Human activities on the planet has cause and effect, buildings, roads, railtracks, pylons, airports, and harbours to name a few. Scotland has been preserved in apsic for to long it is time we joined the world, and stop being a theme park for the rich and powerfull to visit in August.

Joe Public said...


If wind power is so good, why does every electricity user need to pay its massive subsidies?

Does Whitlee's visitor centre & cafe rely entirely on its output? Of course not, it has to buy-in conventionally-generated and 100% reliable power. Ironic that, isn't it?

Key bored warrior. said...

JP Is it your case that the power generated by the Nuclear Power stations has not been subsidised? If the industry was not shrouded is such secrecy, obfuscation, lies and downright criminal behaviour the results of the price we have paid for nuclear would shock us IMHO. Incidentally who powers Torness when it breaks down, yes the grid, that is why we have a grid which Scotland is outrageously charged millions for connecting to whilst London generators are given subsidies! Ironic isn't it?

"If wind power is so good, why does every electricity user need to pay its massive subsidies?"

If nuclear power is so good, why does every electricity user need to pay its massive subsidies?

See what I did then?

Joe Public said...


Whilst I don't know whether or not Nuclear Power is 'subsidised', it provides a reliable & cheap "BaseLoad".

CCGTs (combined cycle gas turbines) also provide reliable, environmentally-friendly & cheap "BaseLoad".

The one "industry" proven to be shrouded in secrecy, obfuscation & lies is the "Climate Science" (oxymoron) industry. This "industry" is the root-cause of the UK's energy problems.

"...... who powers Torness when it breaks down...." - other powers stations of course. Wind & solar pv provide 0% back-up or security of supply; yet need 100% back-up and security of supply.

cynicalHighlander said...

Nuclear Power Too Expensive, French Court Finds

The European Wind Energy Association's response? Using its cost calculator online, EWEA projects that nuclear will cost 102 euros per megawatt-hour by 2020, onshore wind only 58 euros, and offshore wind 75 euros. Perhaps France will one day find itself where Japan is, shutting down its last nuclear reactors.

microdave said...

"Perhaps France will one day find itself where Japan is, shutting down its last nuclear reactors."

And they can look over the border to Germany, who are quietly building new coal and gas fired power stations to cover the loss of perfectly good nuclear ones. So much for reducing CO2...

@ KBW - "Even today it is producing power."

I have a screenshot from 11:15 yesterday showing total UK wind power to be just 16MW out of a consumption of 38,550MW. Even by late afternoon it had only crept up to about 160MW. Just because a turbine is turning does not mean it is generating any useful output. Indeed it may be drawing power from the grid to keep it moving, thereby avoiding damage. Please note that electrical output is related to the 3rd power of windspeed, and in light winds they are virtually useless.

"Wind is only one component in the mix of renewable's Scotland is pushing"

It's by far the largest at the moment - much is being said about undersea turbines, but they are still an unproven technology.

"Hydrogen can be used as a storage medium when the wind does not blow as can pumped storage for Hydro"

Even if every valley in Scotland was dammed and converted into pumped storage it would barely cover a typical days demand. There are some more details in the link I posted earlier. As for hydrogen - the overall efficiency, once you've taken conversion losses in manufacture storage and subsequent generation into account, is so abysmal as to make a mockery of the huge investment needed.

And the "Green Jobs" claim has been shown to be anything but, in every country with substantial "renewable" energy installations. In some cases the actual "cost" of each permanent job created runs into £/$ millions...

Key bored warrior. said...

JP I do not understand why you are on a thread like this if you do not know if nuclear is subsidised. I have no more to say to you.

microdave. Your opinions are found all over the internet, in one form or another as the nuclear lobby is pushing hard to regain it's lost credibility. If we are to go down your path way we will just keep on doing the same dirty stuff, building nuclear that is subsidised to the hilt, has no answer to waste disposal, has need of a bottomless budget for decommissioning, is shrouded in secrecy, breaks the law endlessly, and as dirty and polluting as any industry on earth. If Scotland were to commit to nuclear it would simply vacuum up all the funding available to pay for the most expensive way of boiling water on the planet. That is where we were in the 50s. Even before Thatcher, Nabarro and his coal lobby tried to stop the NOSHEB, however she did for both of them. What did your screen shot tell you at 1130 yesterday about Whitlee? What did it tell you about Torness? Whitlee is going like a goodun today as the wind is blowing. When Torness hiccups as it has several times we lose the total ouput, when Whitlee has a burp we loose one turbine. I know your screen shot! One wee snap shot in time. We have to keep the big picture in focus. It is about how you manage energy and insulation efficiently. Your remarks about Germany are risible. There are communities now like Feldham in Germany, and Samso in Denmark showing we can live with out nuclear, all we need to do is scale up, the nukes are very worried.
France is now looking like it will take the same route. Leaving the SE UK out on a limb. A ComRes poll for The Independent reveals surprisingly strong public support for wind farms: 68 per cent of the public believe that new wind farms are "an acceptable price to pay" for greener energy in the future.
The simple fact is that Alex Salmond and the SNP have chosen a path that London does not want. It is our path, made in Scotland we have moved on. London no longer will tell Scots what to do and think. That is what this is about. There will be no more nuclear in Scotland, end of.
Why do you all shy away when the nuclear subsidy since 1950 and it's on going decommissioning subsidies are mentioned? It's like Billy Connolly and the fart in a space suit joke on Parkinson, when that questions is asked of the nukes. Like the look on Angie Dickinson's face.Oh no, that never happened! Did he really say that? Lets pretend it never happened. OMG nuclear subsidy, never never. Fortunately we have people in Scotland who are not nuclear Luddites, and can see a different path for energy generation, just as Tom Johnston did with Hydro, we are moving in to a new generation that will not be swept from under our feet again by London. Your post demonstrates perfectly why we need that, as you dismiss all with a waft of your keyboard. Your agenda is crystal clear.

Jobs and Investment

Scottish Renewables produced the first comprehensive study of employment in the renewables sector in Scotland, with the results showing that the industry is directly supporting more than 10,227 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) posts in project design, development, operation and its supply chain. In addition there are around 750 posts in renewable energy development and research in our Further and Higher Education institutions, and some 150 employees involved in renewables in the public sector. This gives a total of 11,136 FTE posts in renewable energy in Scotland.

Key bored warrior. said...

PS Rosie the picture used at the top of this blog has 3 main elements to it.
Wind Turbines.
All put there as a result of human endeavours. Which one can we do with out? It was like the picture of the giant pylon dwarfing the Wallace monument remember the one that was ruled as fabricated? This picture falls in to that category, it is easy to fabricate these with Photoshop now. This one has the turbines highlighted whilst the rest of the picture is clearly muted, the human eye will not see this view the way the picture is manipulated to see it. Scotland is not going to be covered with wind turbines not ever. Scotland is not going to have it's tourist industry wrecked by Turbines. Trump trumpeted, " I am the evidence." Well his golf course in Balmeddie seems to be bucking his trend as the punters are flocking to it, publicity is wonderfull. The punters are flocking to Whitlee also. Do you know that a 19th century "expert" in America, predicted that America was going to be 2ft deep in horse shit, and then the motorcar arrived? Scotland is in great shape. However we can see from the debate on the Indy how emotive this stuff is and the amount of abuse that it can generate. The nukes are pushing very hard now.I will leave it at that.

microdave said...

Key bored warrior - Your opinions are found all over the internet

Did you see what I just did there?

The difference is that I am not pretending everything in the rose garden is wonderful, even though you have automatically assumed me to be a nuclear industry spokesman. I'm not - just, (unlike you) a realist.

"What did your screen shot tell you at 1130 yesterday about Whitlee? What did it tell you about Torness?"

As well as the BM reports site I also looked at some weather charts, and saw the area of high pressure covering the entire UK mainland. This may have been "One wee snap shot in time", and "Whitlee may be going like a goodun today as the wind is blowing", but I also have comparable screenshots from last winter and the one before when the same situation LASTED FOR OVER A WEEK!. No amount of "Smart Metering" will cover for that period of negligible output. You wouldn't have been Googling for much if you didn't have access to conventional power then. You should be aware that the island of Eigg had a "slight problem" 2 years ago: "It was hailed as Britain’s first “green” island and a glimpse of the what the future could hold for the rest of the country."

Whilst you clearly haven't bothered to follow my earlier link (don't blind me with facts, my mind is made up) I have looked at your story from Feldheim. After my laughter had subsided I got the calculator out. If we are to assume that the 43 turbines are needed to supply 148 customers, scaling that to the UK would require 18.2 million of them. Similarly we would need 291 million pigs, and 713 million acres of arable land which equates to 16.5 times the current usage, according to Wikipedia.

But there are other inconsistencies with that article. Clearly 43 turbines are not needed to serve so few people (except in marginal wind conditions), so the surplus power must be exported elsewhere. But then we read that the village built their own grid, so which is it? Whatever your displeasure over subsidies for nuclear, very few wind turbines and solar farms would be built if the Feed In Tariff wasn't in place. That is confirmed by the howls of protest from the renewable lobby when any reductions are proposed. And, by the way, there are plenty of Scots who do not want their landscape disfigured by blades whirling from horizon to horizon. I could give you some links, but you would doubtless dismiss them in the same way as you've dismissed my earlier points.

Face facts - if you want to carry on enjoying life as you know it now, there will continue to be a need for reliable base-load generation. Neither wind nor solar will EVER meet this requirement, regardless of how much of the country is given over to such sites. If, on the other hand, you are quite happy to have the lights go out at short notice, possibly for days on end, please choose a power company which ONLY sources renewable energy, and doesn't have the rest of the grid to fall back on when it's dark in mid winter.

Over and out...

subrosa said...

If I was being pedantic KBW I would say only 2 elements of the image are a result of human endeavour.

The majority of trees are the result of nature and human endeavour is only involved when humans want to disrupt nature's pattern.

However I'm not one to be pedantic.:)

Strangely enough I've been in the company of some visitors to Scotland in the past weeks and quite a few have mentioned surprise at the number of wind farms they've seen on their travels. Clearly they were surprised at the landscapes.

Key bored warrior. said...

Rosie, sorry I am pedantic as a former forestry worker the tees in the shot are planted by humans as they are in a neat little close planted area and not the natural trees you would expect from a natural forest in Scotland. They are of the Lodge Pole pine variety, which were planted as cash crops and many plantations were planted in the 60s and 70s as tax avoidance schemes for rich city slickers. Now these plantations did cause real problems. Vast tracts of peat bog were drained and ploughed to take the trees. This alone created changes in the run of rain water as the bogs could not hold the water as they had done for hundreds of years. Flash floods, erosion, acidification of water courses, landslips, and if you fly over Scotland as I am privileged to do, you can see the scars on the landscape that were made to service these forests. But hey it's OK now, because wind turbines are the new witches. Turbines that are doing some good and 68% of us are not bothered by them. They do not despite the myths affect house prices. And they do despite the myths seen on here, reduce the price of electricity in the energy markets. Scotland has no need of nuclear energy. Torness was built to supply England. Dounreay was put on the North coast because it was experimental and could never have been sited in England. We will have the problem for the next few thousand years. long after the turbines have done their job and been recycled, and the land restored and not poisoned for ever.

Scotland's landscape is safe if it is regulated by the people who live and work in Scotland and not London, who see Scotland as simply an asset for the UK treasury, to be used as they see fit. England needs to become self sufficient in more ways than one, not just in energy production. Scotland's energy production can be taken care of with what we have, the proof is there if you look for it. We do not need to import.

subrosa said...

I understand your point KBW and know a little about trees, having a few foresters in my own family.

I know there are problems with nuclear, but what's going to happen to the turbines when their life is over in a maximum of 25 years? The damage done to the countryside is vast and the energy cost of building them excessive.

I don't think our landscape is safe from either London or Holyrood. Money is the basis of the wind turbine business, not environment or jobs. Few permanent jobs have been created for residents in Scotland.

Key bored warrior. said...

Rosie I have put up a post on my own blog on this if you care to visit as it is quite large thanks KBW

subrosa said...

I will visit KBW and will also put it on my links for Saturday.

Related Posts with Thumbnails