Students of irony don’t need to pull me up on the reflexive irony in the title 🙂 The reason it’s okay for me to call Chris names is because this is my blog and my opinon, and Chris isn’t one of the people whose wishes I represent as a politician. So I get away with being an opinionated twat. Whereas he doesn’t, and gets to take flack for it. Apparently all those NIMBYs who don’t like onshore wind farms need to sort themselves out, an in the immortal words of Nicholas Sarkozy to David Cameron, “you have lost the opportunity to STFU”:
“I want to take aim at the curmudgeons and faultfinders who hold forth on the impossibility of renewables. The climate sceptics and armchair engineers who are selling Britain’s ingenuity short.”
Now our Chris has got previous, as they’d say in the East End of London, after all even his mates counsel discretion before defending him.
I’m not actually a million miles away from Chris – we are going to have shocking problems with energy supply. The big boost of North Sea oil that allowed Thatcher to do her privatisations of the power industry has run out. However, I note that even such armchair engineers and curmudgeons such as David “sustainable energy without the hot air” McKay doesn’t have wind as a major part of most of his future UK wind scenarios, and the one that does, Plan G, is probably best described as ‘rabid Green Party scenario’. David McKay described the rationale as “I call this “plan
G,” because I guess the Green Party don’t want nuclear or coal, though I
think not all Greens would like the rest of the plan. Greenpeace, I know,
love wind, so plan G is dedicated to them too, because it has lots of wind.”
There doesn’t seem to be significant political support for that approach otherwise it would be the Green Party, not the Liberal Democrats who would be in coalition with somebody and the odious Mr Huhne would be out of a job.
McKay also raised several serious technical issues to do with the high peak to mean ratio of having a lot of wind, and unlike most of Huhne’s curmudgeons and the usual wing-nuts he cites the issues, sources, and possible solutions. Oh and he knows what he’s talking about, probably more than our Chris does…
The big PR trouble with wind is that it’s big, it’s tall, it sticks out for miles, and it moves, all of which draw attention, in the “What the heck is THAT doing there” sort of way. It’s got some place in the mix, but what I want the Government to do with it’s power strategy is to have a vision of which, if any, of David McKay’s scenarios it thinks is right for the UK, and make a reasoned case for that on a cost-benefit basis. I don’t currently see that, we seem to have a emotive “we need a load of Wind, now, to be seen to be doing something”.
Wind is a great way to be seen to be doing something precisely because it’s not shy and retiring on the PR front. I know that being seen to be doing something is often considered almost as good as doing it properly, but when you are up against physics you actually have to do it, faking it doesn’t work 😦
It’s possible I’ve missed that analysis, but it doesn’t seem to be promoted much. After all, the UK government isn’t unaware of Peak Oil , with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Peak Oil and Gas.
So, Chris, can we have less of the name-calling and adverse briefing, and more about what the wind target is, how much of the total mix it is going to represent, and how it will work with all the other future energy sources your department is promoting as well as wind? Even in scenario G it isn’t a one-horse race. Other stuff has to happen too, indeed the Other Stuff is needed to smooth the peak-to-mean ratio of the wind component.