Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Keeping The Lights On


In a recently published IPSOS-MORI poll some interesting statistics emerged, not least Q23H ‘The independence of scientists is often put at risk by the interests of their funders’. 77% agreed with that question, so all is not quite lost when pondering the vagaries of Big Pharma and the Big Six.

Then again, Q12C asks an opinion on this statement: ‘Human activity does not have a significant effect on the climate’. 75% disagreed.  That’s three-quarters of those polled who believe that we humans can, in some miraculous way, control the climate.

When asked about renewable energy (Q7J) 12% answered ‘very well informed’ and 49% ‘fairly well informed’. That leaves over a third content to pay ever increasing utility bills without question.  Rather scary, particularly when we’re all supposed to be feeling the pinch more and more.

Bishop’s Hill noted ’76% of adults support offshore wind’ and ’58% think that offshore wind will have a positive effect on the UK economy’.  Here’s a good link to the cost of off-shore wind farms.

This weekend the Sunday Post published a special investigation into the ‘true’ cost of the Scottish Government’s ‘turbine obsession’. The Sunday Post is well known for being a Tory supporting newspaper but over the years I have found its investigative journalism of a good quality.  Currently there are 210 operational wind farms in Scotland with at least 2,400 turbines. £2.8billion has been paid to operators since May 2007, adding almost £69 to the average household’s cost of living, with £33 of that in electricity charges alone.

The next paragraph is more concerning:

The annual subsidy in Scotland stands at £434 million, with experts speculating that figure could top £1 billion by the end of the decade.

If these ‘experts’ are anywhere near the mark, our utility bills will rise to such an extent that only the really wealthy will be able to buy food for themselves.

The Scottish Government’s answer to critics is that wind farms have secured almost 12,000 jobs.  I’ve yet to meet anyone who knows of anyone connected with the wind farm industry, have you?  Considering these farms are built by foreign businesses who use their own labour forces, I am sceptical about the contribution wind farms bring to the Scottish economy.

When you read the Sunday Post’s article, one word, repeated three times by wind farm supporters, gives a clue to the endless building of these monstrosities.  No, it’s not money (although that is also a priority) but targets.  

But, as the anti-wind farm campaigner said “Our communities are under siege”.  Indeed they are and the sieges will continue unless politicians are told firmly that wind farm targets must be reduced.  I support Murdo Fraser’s accusation that ‘the Scottish Government has an obsession with turbines’.

Will the public protest to continue to meekly pay ever increasing utility bills?


27 comments:

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

The problem lies not on whether or not the capture of renewable energy is a boon; but why any commercial operation should be subsidised for being allowed to invest in them?

We do not want to repeat the mistakes of oil. Energy resources of any nature should ultimately be under state control for the benefit of the nation.

Sobers said...

More to the point will English utility bill payers continue to pay extra for their fuel in order for wind farms in an independent Scotland to receive large cash payments? There aren't enough people in Scotland to generate the subsidies for all the Scottish renewables - it requires a larger population to spread the cost over.

JimS said...

I can understand that the general public as a whole has difficulties in grasping the scale of energy demand and supply but there is no excuse for politicians who have control over energy policy.
My MP thinks that the answer lies in 'community power', perhaps every village with its own little wind turbine? The fact is that you would need to flatten the village to provide space for the wind turbine that could power just your house (if and when the wind is blowing!). Your share of a coal-fired power station could fit in a broom cupboard however. It all comes down to hard core fundamentals: Coal is a million times more energy dense than wind i.e. if you think Longannet is big the replacement wind farm would be massive.
Gas from shale is probably the best option. It is 'green' because it is a local option; long pipelines leak and generate more 'greenhouse' gases than the carbon-dioxide produced by burning the gas here. The southern North Sea wells have potential for being developed deeper to recover shale gas so the infra-structure exists, just not quite in the right place for Mr. Salmond.

Joe Public said...

1. Q12C. "Human activity does not have a significant effect on the climate" I wonder why IPSOS-MORI deliberately chose to include the negative? I also wonder how many respondents were confused by that?

2. @ C&RAP: "Energy resources of any nature should ultimately be under state control for the benefit of the nation." And then price rises very-easily become surreptitious tax increases.

Rightwinggit said...

"....will English utility bill payers continue to pay extra for their fuel in order for wind farms in an independent Scotland to receive large cash payments?"

No Chance.

We'll be drilling, drilling, drilling, and you'll be in the same situation as the poor end of the Ukraine is about to be.

Vlad has shown the way.

Antisthenes said...

The current energy policies and practices will in the end prove to be one of Europe's greatest mistakes. Nobody knows or understands with any certainty all the causes of climate changes after all it is a very natural phenomena and is a never ending process. Heavily subsidised alternative energy supply is a knee jerk reaction not a sensibly thought out approach to the problems of pollution, natural disasters and climate warming if such is actually happening which data for the last seventeen years suggests it is not or at least not at the rate or will reach the level that those crystal ball gazing climate models predict. Even if we accept the models predictions it will be some fifty years before it becomes critical for us to take serious action by then we will have more knowledge of cause and effect and advances in technology will no doubt bring the cost of addressing any bad effects considerably if indeed the bad ones outweigh the good ones. Perhaps just pollution emissions taxes are the best current policy to encourage technological innovations.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"I’ve yet to meet anyone who knows of anyone connected with the wind farm industry, have you?"

Well actually, I have; I have two nephews and a niece (all siblings, yes) ALL of whom are employed in the wind scam business - indirectly, as various sorts of engineers and geographers.

But so what? Those are tax-eating jobs, as Cobbett memorably called them, and who knows what opportunities and enterprises have not happened because the money they earn was extracted from the wealth-creating taxpayer?

footdee said...

Nuclear is much more expensive and more expensive than that is climate change --but if you like floods by all means stick with carbon emmisions

Stewart Cowan said...

No, footdee, if you like floods stick with the EU and their twisted rules where voles come before people.

The same people who use the manmade climate change con to trick us into giving up our freedom and sovereignty.

Don't be so naive. It makes you look ever so daft, especially when more scientists are predicting a new ice age.

Junican said...

"The Scottish Government’s answer to critics is that wind farms have secured almost 12,000 jobs"

Had they not built the windmills,and instead employed people to ride bikes stationery bikes attached to generators,they could probably have secured hundreds of thousands of jobs. The problem, of course, is the cost of the jobs. That is also visible in the cost of the windmill created jobs. They are very expensive in terms of productivity.
I could understand the windmills if, after the initial capital outlay, these machines were expected to be maintenance free and would last for a hundred years. But, as I understand it, that is far from the case.
Would it not be lovely if the politicians who root for windmills were the first people to suffer when things go wrong? For example, suppose that the Scottish Parliament was linked directly to the power produced by the windmills? If they failed to produce, the the Parliament would be plunged into darkness and none of their computers would work. I wonder what the parliamentarians attitude would be then?

JRB said...

Today, the Scottish government give the go-ahead for a major offshore wind farm development in the Outer Moray Firth.
This development will be the third largest offshore wind farm in the world, with 326 turbines.

It will see the creation of a partnership between 'Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd' and 'Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd'

Moray Offshore Renewables – is a joint venture between the Spanish firm 'Repsol Nuevas Energias' and Portugal’s 'EDP Renovaveis'.

Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited – is a partnership between the Anglo Irish 'Scottish and Southern Electricity plc' and 'SeaEnergy Renewables' a relatively small Scottish plc with many international energy investors.


Whilst this is being, politically, hailed as a major investment in Scotland, in truth, only a very small benefit will come the way of Scotland.
The jobs, financial subsidies and future profits etc will for the greater part go to Spain, Portugal, Eire and England. Scotland and the Scottish people will receive but a fraction - but the beautiful Moray coastline will be blighted by a forest of turbines, leaving the local economy, which is so heavily dependant on tourism, equally blighted.

JimS said...

Junican said:

"Would it not be lovely if the politicians who root for windmills were the first people to suffer when things go wrong? For example, suppose that the Scottish Parliament was linked directly to the power produced by the windmills? If they failed to produce, the the Parliament would be plunged into darkness and none of their computers would work".

This something that could be done with 'smart' meters, they allow individual customers to be switched off remotely.

Somehow I think that we will find that the exact opposite will happen, when the power supply is limited it will be the politicians on the priority list, not us!

Joe Public said...

@ Junican & JimS

".... suppose that the Scottish Parliament was linked directly to the power produced by the windmills? If they failed to produce, the the Parliament would be plunged into darkness and none of their computers would work"."

Politicians consider themselves just too important to be inconvenienced by mere grid power cuts. Holyrood will have standby-generators, so they're never inconvenienced.

Paid for of course, by the taxpayers.

JimS said...

Joe, you bet they will have back-up. Indeed they are probably into this scam and probably argue that the Scottish Parliament pays for istself as a result!

subrosa said...

Completely agree Crinkly but will any politician be brave enough to insist on this? I doubt it.

subrosa said...

Sobers, I have friends in Nottinghamshire and their bills are cheaper than mine, although their power comes from Scotland. Something strange there.

subrosa said...

I’d agree about shale JimS but we hear little about it here.

subrosa said...

I thought the question was fine Joe, but I can understand why you think some may have been confused.

subrosa said...

Interesting scenario Rightwinggit. :)

subrosa said...

Antisthenes, that would be the most sensible policy but pollution seems to be off the agenda these days.

subrosa said...

Ah, delighted to hear you know someone - three to be exact Weekend Yachtsman. They certainly are tax-eating jobs but at least your three relatives are UK residents and their income is kept here.

subrosa said...

Floods are little to do with climate change footed and everything to do with poor planning authorities.

subrosa said...

Good points Junican but I wonder how many of these jobs are kept here. Can’t find evidence they are but there’s plenty evidence that other EU countries have financial interests.

subrosa said...

When I read about that recently JRB I felt very sad. Such a beautiful part of our country will never be the same again.

Antisthenes said...

Subrosa. I believe pollution and co2 and other emissions amount to the same thing. Pollution we can see and measure and has a direct effect upon us. The old London fogs and now those effecting Chinese cities and exhaust emissions have or in the process or need to be tackled but not by the costly one process renewable's tackles all method. They need to be addressed as they occur and the sum of doing so will be cheaper, more people friendly and lead to advances in technology that will benefit both human and animal habitats. Tackling climate change should not be the goal as that I believe will have as many benefits as bad consequences unless we are in fact heading for a new ice age which some scientist believe we are but even so that will take a millennium or more before it becomes critical.

Joe Public said...

@ Antisthenes 13:13

"I believe pollution and co2 and other emissions amount to the same thing. "

But they're not.

CO2 is a trace gas and a plant food, without which life on earth could not exist. It's also what you (& I & SR) exhale 24/7. Do you consider yourself a polluter?

CO2 is but 400 parts per million of the atmosphere.

Antisthenes said...

Joe public. I agree with you and there is evidence that the planet's vegetation is becoming more abundant and that the planet is greener because of it something that the eco-loons never tell us of course. Is that not another reason that it is pollution and not climate change that should be addressed tackling that may tackle the other (if it is indeed excessive co2 past data points to it not being as it suggests previous global warmings saw no increase in co2 prior to it but after it) is the cause which is doubtful. There are so many variables, contradictory facts and unknowns that what we are doing is based on no real knowledge of cause and effect. However we know pollution not just gas emissions are damaging to our health and comfort and environment and unsightly that we must tackle those. We need to encourage ways to do that and are but not with those bloody bird mincers and other daft energy policies as all it does is impoverish those who indulge in it and make prosperous those who do not. Europe is following this path because of the EU and eco-loons and even when we are back to being troglodyte hunter gatherers they will still not be satisfied as even when we previously were we had some adverse environmental impact all life does. It is only now that we have the technological abilities to mitigate the impact we make on the environment so we should not throw that away by employing madcap ideas of the eco-loons and vested interests.

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