Here, to begin with, is a story which made me first chuckle, and then say (as I so often have before) thank heavens for the Duke of Edinburgh; for he has never in his life refrained, out of misguided notions of tact and constitutional propriety, from attacking the current conventional wisdom, whatever it may be. I suppose, being who he is, he ought in theory never to have a go at government policy. But aren’t you glad when he does, even if you disagree with him? I present yesterday’s Telegraph splash, by Jonathan Wynne-Jones, with its deeply inspiring headline:
Prince Philip: Wind Farms Are ‘Absolutely Useless And A Disgrace’
The Duke of Edinburgh has made a fierce attack on wind farms, describing them as “absolutely useless, completely reliant on subsidies and an absolute disgrace”. The Duke’s views are politically charged, as they put him at odds with the Government’s policy.
In a withering assault on the onshore wind turbine industry, the Duke said the farms were “a disgrace”.
He also criticised the industry’s reliance on subsidies from electricity customers, claimed wind farms would “never work” and accused people who support them of believing in a “fairy tale”.
The Duke’s comments will be seized upon by the burgeoning lobby who say wind farms are ruining the countryside and forcing up energy bills.
Criticism of their effect on the environment has mounted, with The Sunday Telegraph disclosing today that turbines are being switched off during strong winds following complaints about their noise…
The country has 3,421 turbines – 2,941 of them onshore – with another 4,500 expected to be built under plans for wind power to play a more important role in providing Britain’s energy.
Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary, last month called opponents of the plans “curmudgeons and fault-finders” and described turbines as “elegant” and “beautiful”.
The Duke’s attack on the turbines… came in a conversation with the managing director of a leading wind farm company… [who] said his attempts to argue that onshore wind farms were one of the most cost-effective forms of renewable energy received a fierce response from the Duke.
“He said, ‘You don’t believe in fairy tales do you?’” said Mr Wilmar…
It emerged last year that electricity customers are paying an average of £90 a year to subsidise wind farms and other forms of renewable energy as part of a government scheme to meet carbon-reduction targets.
The fact is that the so-called renewable energy to which we are being increasingly committed by the fanatical Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (pah!) Chris Huhne – who never misses an opportunity to stoke up global warming hysteria (even though the globe isn’t even currently warming) – is massively expensive, and therefore an albatross weighing down our national economy (which you may have noticed is already having a tough time). That means that wind farms are a direct threat to economic growth, and therefore one cause of our growing unemployment and other social ills.
Lord Marland, a junior minister in Huhne’s Department, told the House of Lords last month that “green energy” (mostly wind farms) is currently costing £7.1 billion. According to the Renewable Energy Foundation, that figure will have risen to some £40 billion by 2020 – that’s between £6 billion and £8 billion a year. And quite simply all the wind farms in the country don’t produce any more than a single gas-fired power station: they can never remotely be any kind of solution to our energy needs, or even any more than a totally insignificant part of a solution: and yet, Huhne ploughs ahead, uncontrollably spending money on these hideous things (which he apparently thinks beautiful) like a drunken sailor, swelling our already bloated electricity bills (though we’ve seen nothing yet, it seems). A “disgrace” is absolutely what it is.
But what about anthropogenic global warming, you may say. Surely we’ve got to do something drastic about that? Well, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN’s propagandist for global warming, and thus far its official panic monger, will soon, its seems, be publishing a new report which will give a different and presumably reluctant conclusion (it has in the nature of its remit in the end to reflect the emerging evidence, even though so far it has shamelessly distorted it): that, over the next few decades, “climate change signals are expected to be relatively small compared to natural climate variability”.
Natural climate variability: now there’s a very big and so far surprisingly little considered factor in all this. What does it include? Well, little things like the activity of the sun (source of all warming, after all) and equally important considerations like the water vapour rising from the sea (infinitely the most important greenhouse gas, accounting for about 95% of the “greenhouse effect”, as compared with 0.28 for anthropogenic CO2 and other gases produced by human activity).
So, all these windmills, apart from being expensive and environmentally disastrous and ineffective, are also wholly unnecessary. So, as I say, thank Heaven for the Duke. It’s one thing to say “the emperor has no clothes”: it’s entirely another to be absolutely certain to make the front page of the newspapers when you say it.