Wind Farms – Adam Smith gets wind wrong, say Greens

Fornybar_energiA concerted campaign against wind energy is being conducted in some sections of the press, orchestrated by those with links to fossil fuel interests. It should be of concern to all consumers of energy. The claims made against wind energy are typically distorted or plain wrong. However as a result, potential investors are put off the UK because of what they perceive as a hostile public coupled with a lack of Government support.

The public at large are not hostile, as evidenced by polls.

An example of this campaign has just appeared in the form of a report published here by the right wing Adam Smith Institute and written by the oil financed Reason Foundation in America. This report, “The Limits of Wind Power”, tries to warn off investment in wind as a poor option. It claims that the practical upper limit for wind generation is 10% of electricity supply. Yet Germany, Europe’s most successful industrial economy, already generates 15% of its electricity from wind and is aiming for 20% by 2020.

The report says that supporters of wind claim that wind can power the entire grid. No such claim has ever been made – except by the anti-wind lobby, so that they can knock it down.

Their argument that the wind doesn’t always blow only stands up within a limited geographic area. Across the UK the wind almost always blows somewhere. If proper investment was put into a European wide grid, then wind-generated electricity would continually feed in.

The report also says that storage is an ‘expensive problem’.  It isn’t, it’s an issue. CEGB invested heavily in pumped power storage – originally for nuclear back up! (Dinorwig, N. Wales, now a commercial unit).  The impressive “Pumped Storage” system at Dinorwig and a smaller one at Ffestiniog  are still working well; see their website:  There are many possible solutions for storage, including millions of vehicle batteries when we go electric; pumped air; hydrogen from water; and night storage heaters.

Supporters of renewables do not want any one technology to dominate supply. They want to minimise the risk of interruptions of supply due to technical failure in one system, or some disruption to a fuel supply – as we have witnessed in recent history with both coal and oil.

If the vast waste of money on nuclear power, which is swallowing up billions of pounds in waste treatment and disposal, had been invested in renewable energy systems, Britain would now be a world leader in this much sought after technology. It is essential that the Government resists the lobbying of the fossil fuel and nuclear vested interests and puts its full support behind renewables that can deliver to us all a secure and sustainable energy supply.

Based on a letter to the press by John Youatt Hon Sec Derbyshire Green Party

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