Front page


Coming to blows

28 Aug 11 | Re: Right-wing rubbish

Since I often read right-wing publications, I quite often see some of the emptier vessels who are employed to fill them making their noise about wind farms. I’m not entirely sure why wind turbines should have been designated left-wing, joining coal mines, comprehensive schooling and the colour red, but they have, so the right-wingers have to think up reasons why they are Not a Good Thing.

The latest one that I keep seeing just now is that - get this - wind turbines only generate power when it’s actually windy. Well, I’ll be jiggered. Just like those pesky solar panels, which it turns out are utterly inactive during the night, wind turbines wouldn’t be able to generate absolutely all the electricity we need all of the time. Well then, throw them all into the skip!

Or actually, don’t. It doesn’t matter that turbines might not always be generating power, obviously, because whenever they are working, that’s so many kilowatt hours of electricity that don’t have to be dug up out of the ground, burnt and released into the fresh, windy air that these columnists all seem to hate so much. Yes, you might need to have a coal plant as a backup. But if that plant only has to work half or two thirds as hard, that’s so many more tons of increasingly expensive coal that don’t have to be burnt yet.

Now, it is worth noting that, as I understand it, there are certain problems with energy storage and management entailed by an unpredictable, wind-based energy supply. It isn’t straightforward, for example, to make a giant battery that could store up electricity on windy days for use on calm ones. That means that wind power isn’t yet as useful to us as it could be; but I don’t see that as a reason to abandon it. It’s like buying a Prius - some people will tell you that the complicated extra components needed to make a Prius add so much carbon-cost to it that driving one doesn’t actually save much carbon at all. Well, maybe not. But by buying a Prius you aren’t just trying to save carbon now - you’re also using your spending power to cast a vote for that technology, which helps to show that there is a market for it, which gives the car companies a reason to keep developing it, which will eventually make it more efficient so that it will save carbon - lots of it, probably.

E come the Prius, così wind farms. The emergence of a busily generating but unpredictable power source will justify research in energy management, so that eventually someone will invent a great big battery that works to all our satisfaction. And on that day, Dellingpole and all the rest will have to crawl back into their well-lit, wind-powered boxes and go back to ranting about comprehensive education and the colour red, which will be the colour of all their right-wing faces.

Posted by OTOU at 12:12

PS I only put Dellingpole in there because I know that he is an inveterate self-googler, and I want to see if he sinks so low as to google misspellings of his own name as well.

[Back to main blog]

[Or dive into the blarchive...]

Take me home