Energy Policy Folly – Wind Turbines

Christopher Booker, writing in the Daily Telegraph on 23rd April, rightly, in my view, argued that the lights in Britain will go out more sooner than expected because of European Union and UK energy law and policy. He sets out the facts as

  1. Six coal burning power stations produce 20% of the UK’s electricity
  2. Under EU law they have, by April, operated 50% of their annual UK entitlement, because of our very cold winter. When they reach that entitlement they must close
  3. Wind power fails to provide anywhere near sufficient power, particularly in the very cold winter when the wind barely blew.
  4. Eventually the UK will face a 40% shortfall in its power supplies.

I do not quarrel with Mr Booker’s analysis. As he points out there is madness in the UK’s energy policy and that madness was generated in the 2003 Energy White Paper, as readers of my blogs and my books will know.

Mr Booker did not point out that wind turbines are useful and can contribute useful energy, but when it comes to producing electricity on an industrial scale that is reliable and ever available all renewable energy fails, whether wind or photovoltaic, because there is not viable way of string electricity cheaply and in an environmentally benign way. This makes the centrality of electricity in the United Kingdom’s energy policy as pure unadulterated madness and folly.

This does not mean that we have to maintain coal burning power stations or nuclear power stations because madness and folly also lie in that direction. It means that we must not consider electricity as central to energy, but both heat and electricity together. Close the coal burners and close them now, and replace them with gas burners, which burn less malignantly than coal, and which can react more quickly to any wind or photovoltaic electricity that may be around.

Save emissions more by encouraging energy producing equipment that can store energy – which means heat producing solar thermal panels. The emissions saving would be immense and the UK would not be at risk of the lights going out.

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