Thursday, January 11, 2007

For whom the wind blows

It may be worth getting in touch with this chap: We're not anti-wind farms - but they should be offshore

"With this issue, I am thirsting for facts, or at least well-informed opinion based on expert and, one presumes, honestly-interpreted knowledge. No one in their right mind would hide the truth just for short-term personal or professional gain, surely.

Thanks to Mr. Constable, I (may) have:

“The Renewables Obligation (RO... costs nearly £1bn a year” (Fact?).

“It fails to distinguish between the relative merits of different renewables, [and] has encouraged underperforming onshore wind turbines in low-wind areas (some less than 10% effective)” (Opinion/Fact?).

“Though of little engineering value, such plants attract speculators because they require smaller capital investment. The result has been to starve high-merit technologies of funding” (Opinion/Fact?).

“The DTI is currently undertaking a major revision to offer more subsidies per unit generated to offshore wind, biomass and tidal technologies. MPs and councillors from all parties are opposing obviously inappropriate applications for onshore wind” (I assume a Fact?).

“Offshore wind... can also provide nearly twice as much electrical energy per unit of capacity as onshore wind” (Fact? Though I wonder about the initial capital costs and hence ROI financially and environmentally)

“Britain's green electricity targets are for the energy produced, not the capacity” (Fact?).

“Large quantities of wind capacity in low-wind regions would generate very little energy, and the targets will still be missed” (Fact?)

Against which, I so far have:

"Dunford's REF has sensible-sounding ideas about renewables. But I am not sure what motivates them promote these." - (A fact and a... question?)

“Yes, let's point fingers at others and make them change their lifestyles. We can sit and watch (and of course, critique)” – (Er, OK)

“... the objection isn't against wind farms per se, just ones that are economically viable. It's HUGELY more expensive to build them offshore, far more so than the added gain in use from the extra wind out there.” (Opinion, but a well taken point. However, when it comes to the viability, economically and environmentally, if they are not turning because the wind isn’t blowing there, what are the relative values of land-based vs. offshore? I need facts!!!)"

Bovicide, he wrote

Boris Johnson is many things. He is an MP, a skilled orator and even more potent scribe. He is also a celebrity, so what he says matters, and in this day and age more than people who know what they are talking about. If he did not have the image he has, and will never shake, I think he would be taken very seriously. Like Jeremy Clarkson, he is intelligent, well-informed and knows how to put a case. And with humour, making it all the more easy to read and be swayed by. As he does here: If you want to be green – kill a cow

I just feel some challenge, and balance, is in order, and perhaps better than the usual extremes that get attracted... and printed.

"Suitably disconcerted by, amongst other things, Stern the Mighty (though his recent performance against an almost diffident Paxo was so squirmingly unconvincing even I felt like ordering a Humvee on the spot), with typical if worryingly disarming humour you have raised some interesting points.

I know these are columns and blogs, and hence should be taken with a pinch of salt factually, but in the spirit if trying to come to some kind of objective informed notions between the polar opposites that inevitably get attracted (I just looked, and inside this pink-skinned eco-worrier there is indeed red, the not of the political persuasion), I'd be grateful to have a bit more by way of substantiation on the following:

"So I dialled up the eco-websites and ... the whole thing turns out to be a complete nonsense."

Along with this:

"Far from soaking up your share of CO2, most trees in non-tropical areas are thought to trap heat and thereby increase global warming."

I'd really like to know. For what it's worth I am very dubious about any Carb-con dis-credited trading schemes put forward by the EU, Tony 'Don't Do As I Do', his mate at the Treasury and all those in the City who have joined with them in some short-term (in political and financial terms) Devil's pact to part us from our cash to fund their pension plan.

I must say I am truly intrigued with Simon's post about pre-Kyoto Chinese construct-to-destruct activity. That smacks of being entirely too possible in this meeting targets vs. making real achievements world we live in... for now."