I have long been a firm advocate of banning wind turbines, though for rather unorthodox reasons. As wind turbines proliferate fatuous opinion pieces have proliferated at an even greater pace. The only way to stop them is to ban the turbines.
One of the beautiful things about energy is that you can set out your opinions in national newspapers without even a hint of knowledge of the subject. Imagine football commentary by people who do not know what the offside rule is, and you have a close proxy to energy punditry.
Today we have one in the Independent by Jane Merrick, the Independent on Sunday’s political editor. And it is certainly of the talking about football without knowing what the offside rule is variety.
Here are a couple of sentences from the concluding paragraph:
“To lash the green movement to 50-metre steel blades no longer makes sense. Far better to get behind a renewable energy that is more efficient and less offensive, like offshore wind, tidal power, or even new nuclear.”
Lashing the green movement to 50 metre steel blades makes no sense, I’ll agree with her on that point. But I would perhaps go further and point out that steel blades make no sense, as the wind industry has found out. They are much too bloody heavy. So, instead they use fiberglass. Steel blades would provide a rather sluggish appearance when it comes to turbine rotation. Merrick perhaps used the phrase steel blades because it sounds good, and not to convey her lack of basic knowledge about the subject.
I can possibly be generous and blame poor syntax for the implication that nuclear energy is renewable. But one must wonder how the offshore wind industry can get by without these dreaded 50 metre blades.
She also informs us that “Every time I see a wind turbine, from Romney Marsh to Halifax, they are as still as statues.” This suggest she does not spend too much time looking at wind turbines. From where I live I can see Europe’s largest onshore wind farm, Whitelee Wind Farm. Most of the time the turbines are turning. And this is a wind farm with a load factor of around 25%, rather typical of the UK. I am also fairly certain that reliable statistics show that the average turbine is turning the majority of the time. So, either Merrick is making this stuff up or she has a faulty memory.
This however is what you have to put up with in terms of energy punditry.
But please, for my sake, ban wind turbines. Can we start a petition?