Monday, December 10, 2007

The wind and the willowy

Dave has beaten me to it, but as he looks at things from the ruthlessly scientific, I often come at it all, I hope in complement, more for the ad-man's view of consumer perceptions.

And words were important this morning, especially with BBC Breakfast 'press release read out'.

Of course I perked up when I heard this country was going to be independent of nasty foreigners and free of emissions in terms of energy, and all all within an awesome timeframe.

Where I did find my eyebrow cranking was in the manner of deliverables.

I can't quite recall, but I think it was broken into three. Which, for reasons of narrative, I will repeat in reverse order.

The last was something social, I think, like shredded seagulls. I'm afraid I can't really get into that. If all creatures are going to be toast anyway, I think some sacrifices need to be made and I can live with this aspect. I also have to say that the whole view thing is getting a bit silly... at least as the main objection.

The next was more significant. Lots more. Oodles more. But was breezed over rather blithely. Money. What this was going to cost.... us. It's one thing to say 'of course this will impact..', but quite another when this get divorced too much from enviROI.

Speaking of which, this brings me to the last. And it was headed 'Reliability'.

'Ah-ha!', I thought. A nettle being grasped.

Alas, no. This was reliability of supply. Significant to be sure, and I'm not clear I got any answers as to how 'could' supply translated into 'will' supply, once inconvenient facts on durations and useful levels of actual wind speed are factored in.

But, and here's the thing, no mention of what I was thinking of under reliability. Namely how these things are at doing what they do, parked into the ocean, being battered daily by wind and salt water. And this has to be important, as they might not be the best option if we are having to rebuild them a lot more often than claimed.

Which brings me to the word 'Quality'. Because this was the next piece of the morning 'sofa, so trivial' news. Seems 'we' are going back to 'quality', at least in fashion, and to encourage us to spend as much as we can on such essentials as thigh-length patent leather boots we had some 'expert' whose only contribution was a gallon of peroxide down the sink and an outfit that looked like she was on her way back from leaning on a Kings X lamp post all night.

Seems the collective wisdom of the group was that 'quality' equated to buy one massively expensive bit of tat because of the label, as opposed to a series of cheaper bits of tat with less ad-supported ones. And it was acknowledged all round that these things were only good for a few outings until the next fad comes around... but who cares.

My definition of 'quality' is slightly different, and more to do with the one I have for 'reliability'. Things that last.

Shame our national broadcaster can't seem to get on board with that, too, especially as it pumps out what it thinks are the necessary box-tickers on enviro issues at the same time as a bloated squanderfest.

Such as Declan's ongoing woeful romp with the 'low carbon' family. Today we got a few tips on green Christmas. And a sorry collection they were too. The only time I thought it did get potentially interesting was when he pointed out to the guy selling Xmas tat that encouraging the purchase of eco stuff that you didn't need to replace year on year wasn't a great economic model. The answer was less than convincing, I felt.

Nor were the comments to all this as sign-offs from our overpaid guardians of the Christmas eco-message. Declan referred to the closing of the carbon family's efforts over the year as an 'end to the punishment' . The bouffant scored e-cards as 'not as nice as the real thing'. And the blonde thought LED Xmas lights were not as 'nice and twinkly'.

And that was the message I left with. 'Yes, talk about it for sure. But we're not changing even if we have been told to tell you you should'. Nice.


Gaurdian - Wind energy to power UK by 2020, (sez who?) government says

Guardian - Blow by Blow

Thank you!!!!

But then, why the heck if you - as a journalist, and one with what one might imagine a more than average desire to see such things through the greenest of hued glasses (no offence) - can see through this, am I getting fed the rosiest of 'couldfests' by the national broadcaster and others?

On their take 'we' 'could' be firing up the jacuzzi on windy alt-eng supply from a coastal array in the next few decades.

Where are the facts? I desperately want this all to be true, but other than some vague tilts to a few 'issues', I am none the wiser on actual deliverables.

Stuff such as 'costs' are alluded to, but they 'may' be vast and 'may' be ridiculously excessive. And all dumped on the consumer, too late to argue, when the Minister and the MEP are doing a post-pension fact-checking tour of the engineering contractors' lobby firm's beach villas.

And then there was 'reliability'. Not the one I am more concerned about, namely how these things stand up to the wind and salt water for the claimed lifespan, but the almost as pertinent one of how what they say they will do actually gets done by way of turning wind into usable 'leccy 24/7.

Until this piece I thought my kid's'futures were really going to be decided, by our major media at least, on the basis of a government press release. Shame so few others may see there are BIG questions that need asking before rushing to print or the screen.

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