Tuesday, 9 November 2010
It Will End in Disaster
Only recently we were informed that 'solar fields' was the latest renewable energy scam - for energy consumers it's the latest rip-off. Companies selling solar panels are flooding planning offices all over the south of England with requests for solar fields as the number of landowners leasing out their land rises.
Cornwall's farmers are jumping for joy as they celebrate the granting of planning permission for the UK's first purpose-built solar farm and a £14m loan for an even larger solar farm next to Newquay airport. Unusually the five-acre facility at Wheal Jane faced no major objections for the erection of 6,000, two metre-high photovoltaic panels. Of course it's the subsidies which are attracting farmers and who can blame them when handsome cheques will regularly pop through their letterboxes and their greatest effort will be nipping down to the bank to deposit them. Farmers are being offered up to £1,500 an acre to cover their green fields with PV panels. James Delingpole has an excellent article in which he states 'any taxpayer-funded scheme to carpet that unspoilt landscape in solar panels to generate electricity at nearly three times the market cost is bound to end in disaster.'
But those who think the planet must be saved before 2020 will be pleased with the solar panel development. It's 'green' you see.
But will the natural balance of our countryside be affected by these acres of black mirrors?
Yes, it's a field of wheat. Scientists are claiming planting 'climate friendly' crops that reflect sunlight could offset global warming. (Have you ever known a farmer who doesn't plant 'climate friendly' crops?)
Different strains of crops such as wheat have significantly different levels of reflectivity, or albedo, say scientists. Selecting those that reflect the most could make summers in Europe more than 1% cooler they claim. Under a moderate global warming scenario, a 20% increase in crop albedo could offset up to half of the predicted summer warming over Europe.
Now you may be wondering why I've combined solar farms and crops in this post. Well farms and crops kind of go together a bit like love and marriage used to do not so long ago. But that's not my reason.
I'd like to know what the 'greenies' are going to do when the fields of the south of England are covered with solar panels and these studies on crops actually prove to be reasonably correct, because I think there is a good chance of that. It doesn't take a scientist to tell us that covering the land with solar panels will affect the natural balance of our habitat. Not only that but we'll have to import more basic foodstuffs at possibly a higher price. Yet the green lobby have been deafeningly silent about solar farms.
The farmers won't return to their traditional lifestyles of crop growing therefore the cost of solar fields will spread far wider than just another increase in domestic electricity bills. But then we knew that didn't we? And it will end in disaster.