Thursday 29 March 2012

Tilting at Windmills

Matt, the fifth Viscount Ridley, is one of the people that I am thankful for. A businessman, a libertarian and a journalist, he has done so much to expose bogus and fashionable nostrums. Rather like a modern Don Quixote he has tilted at windmills, wind turbines, to be exact, relentlessly exposing what I am convinced is the greatest ‘alternative energy’ scam of the age.

Writing previously about wind farms I made the following points;

Wind farms, who does not hate the sight of wind-farms? I certainly do. You may think they are necessary as a source of clean and renewable power. If you do I urge you to think again, think of the implications of these hideous blots on the landscape for the landscape. As foreign investors rush in to capitalise on British wind - and the wind of British politicians - just remember that it would take require a farm the size of Greater London to generate as much energy as a single coal-fired power station, assuming a never ending windy day.

Oh, but think of the money to be made; think of the money being made, for example, by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, effectively bribed by developers to stop them complaining about the killing of eagles by wind turbines. Then there are the bats, of course, the damage these things cause to them; but who cares about the bats? You should care about yourself, though, enough to make sure that you live nowhere near these monstrous carbuncles, because the noise generated has caused health problems for those who do. The difficulty here is that, as the contagion spreads, it will be difficult for any of us to escape them.

Writing recently in the Spectator, Ridley tabled a fresh indictment. As he says, to the nearest round number the amount of energy that has been generated by wind farms comes to exactly zero. But the cost has been huge; the cost in fuel poverty for the elderly, in regressive subsidies which pass wealth to the wealth, in the destruction of rural communities and landscapes, in the loss of jobs, the felling of forests and the destruction of wildlife. Things have gone that can never be replaced.

But for so long the politicians were blind to all of this. In Bath, one of England’s most beautiful cities, the Liberal Democrat-led council even proposed to erect a 240ft wind turbine on the hills just to the south. The scheme was heavily promoted by a local landowner, the only person who stood to benefit in windfall profits. It was only after mass protests, and a threat by UNESCO to take away the city’s world heritage status, was the proposal reluctantly dropped.

Now, it would seem, central government is beginning to blow less wind. The big multinationals, who are investing heavily in offshore wind, are beginning to worry that the cornucopia is not endless, that subsidies may no longer he as easy to get in future as they were in the past. Vestas, which wants to build a turbine factory in the county of Kent, is seeking assurances from David Cameron, the Prime Minister, that he is still behind wind energy. Thankfully, George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer and master of the purse strings, has made it clear that he at least is dead set against further expansion, all on the grounds of cost.

Quite frankly we have been scandalously misled by an unholy alliance between stupid politicians, the self-regarding green lobby, covetous manufacturers and venal land owners. Even in economically vibrant times the policy made no sense. One would have to cover this fair land from end to end with wind farms to meet even a fraction of our future energy needs. But in these economically straightened times wind appears to be just that – wind. It took austerity to expose this scandal.


  1. Ana - perhaps you did not see this sad news:

    However, recent news about the crushing defeat of Labour greenies in Queensland's state elections gives hope that the revolt against watermelon politics has begun in earnest in the Antipodes:

    1. Calvin, yes, that's his father and it is sad news. Great news from down under though. :-)

  2. They would be quite a sight on the white cliffs of Dover.

    1. There'll be windmills over the white cliffs of Dover...:-)

  3. Have you read "The Red Queen", Ana? I read it back in the 90's and is very entertaining.

    As for wind turbines, they are symbolic of what has become of our political landscape which seeks to sacrifice British scenery, identity and sovereignty for money and ambition.

    Yet, when it comes to welfare and foreign aid politicians are only too willing to spend taxpayers money; it is all about votes and being re-elected.

    The noble British Statesman who acted in the interests of his country has dies out with Winston Churchill, Ana.

    Margaret Thatcher was an aberration.

    TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert A shape with lion body and the head of a man,A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again; but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

    W.B. Yeats

    1. I haven't, Nobby. I'll have a look. You know, I've taken to quoting The Second Coming more and more, most recently in one of my Broowaha articles.

  4. well you may not like the aesthetics of wind turbines, but they're a great improvement on those of a coal mine, not to mention the impact of mines and coal-fired energy sources on the environment (acid rain etc..)

    1. Are they, CWB? But surely the issue is about productivity. As I've said repeatedly, you could cover the country from end to end with these monstrosities and still not meet a fraction of our future energy needs. The whole thing is a massive fraud.

  5. It's almost as if they all got together at a big seminar and tried to decide the most stupid and expensive policies they could.

  6. Well said Ana,

    The current wind farm scam is simply a method where the avaricious can exploit the stupidity of a group of noisy technically illiterate dreamers for their own ends.

    The result is they can rip-off every person in the land. Out spineless politicians bumble along, frightened of offending the wind farm cartel.

    My only disagreement with Matt Ridley is his use of the expression "weapons grade tosser" for the supporters of wind farms. Personally I think these quasi-religious zealots deserve only a brevity of description and that "tosser" more than suffices.


  7. Pylons began the rape of the English countryside and now we have wind-farms. If you analyse the term, its meaninglessness is immediately exposed. Another attempt by the powers that be to manipulate the public into supporting a deal. A deal that involves selling their interests.

  8. These wind up merchants have got the wind up now.