Together they supply a devistating critique of the wind industry, and the corrupt motives that lie behind T. Boone Pickens' energy plan.
Simon Cox reported on the BBC about the problems of the Danish wind model:
Denmark is the poster boy for wind power - 20% of the electricity it generates comes from wind, it claims. Horns Rev can provide enough power for 150,000 homes. On the day I visited it would be lucky to power a village,
Cox interviewed energy expert Hugh Sharman, who described Denmark's export of wind generated electricity:
"Every time the wind is high, the exports are high. Every time the wind is low, of course there are few exports".Sherman stated that Denmark only uses 9% of the the electricity it generates. Cox demonstrates that the only way the Danish system works is the ability of Denmark to export electricity to Scandinavia and Germany, and import it back. cox observed that the UK does not have the import-export option. Of course UK "environmentalists", like Nick Rowe of the Friends of the Earth, support the use of fossil fuels as wind back up. But Dieter Helm, professor of energy policy at Oxford University, thinks this is
"about the worst possible thing that one could conceive of given what's going on in Russia and given our dependence on Russian gas supplies".Cox notes that the wind plus natural gas back up scheme
could also prove costly. The energy company, E.On recently estimated back-up power could cost up to £10bn per year across all the energy suppliers. That would add £400 to the average annual household energy bill.
Patrick Sawyer's Telegraph article is dependent on information from the Renewable Energy Foundation , a UK energy think tank, that is not afraid the lay out the facts about renewable energy. Sawyer notea:
Critics insist that wind energy is too inefficient to replace the creaking network of fossil fuel power stations. Even with modern turbines, wind farms are unable to operate at full capacity because of the unreliable nature of Britain's wind.Sawyer extensively relies on a REF report by John Constable and Robert Barfoot, which bitterly criticized wind subsidies in the UK. Sawyer observes
The industry admits that for up to 30 per cent of the time, turbines are idle because wind speeds are either too low to turn the blades, or too high, risking damage to the machines.
In 2006-07 more than £217 million was paid to energy firms under the subsidy scheme, known as the Renewables Obligation. Under the scheme, energy companies must obtain a proportion of their power from renewable sources, 6.7 per cent at present rising to 15 per cent by 2015. Those that fail to meet these targets pay a fine that is then shared between all the companies that have obtained energy from "green" sources. For every megawatt of green energy they sell, a company receives about £50 at present.Sawyer further states:
The Renewable Energy Foundation says that consumers ultimately end up funding the subsidies because energy firms that pay fines pass the costs on to customers.
Critics have estimated that by 2020 the cost of the Renewables Obligation could rise to more than £3 billion.Booker is on the warpath against wind. Like me, Booker was not always a wind opponent. "Six years ago", Booker stated,
when I first seriously looked at what they actually contribute to our energy needs and our environment, I had a profound shock. It was clear that the craze for wind energy had become one of the greatest self-deceptions of our time.
Far from being “free”, wind is one of the most expensive ways of generating electricity yet devised. Without an almost 100 per cent subsidy, unwittingly paid by all of us through our electricity bills, no one would dream of building giant wind turbines in Britain, because their cost is not remotely competitive.
Turbines are hopelessly ineffectual. The amount of electricity they deliver is derisory. The total power generated by all the 2,300 turbines so far built in Britain — covering hundreds of square miles of countryside and sea — averages just over 600 megawatts in a year, less than that contributed by a single medium-size conventional power station.
Most serious of all, however, is the fact that wind energy is hopelessly unreliable, for the simple reason that wind speeds are not only constantly changing but wholly unpredictable. One minute a turbine may be whizzing round, generating at full capacity; the next the wind drops and the turbine is contributing only a fraction of its capacity or nothing at all.
Booker's findings track closely with my own. Thus while I disagree with many of Booker's views including his skepticism about climate change, I think he is correct about wind.
Booker scores against the fundamental dishonesty of the wind Lobby:
The best-kept secret of the wind industry, however, which continues to fool both politicians and the media, is its trick of referring only to the contribution of windmills in terms of their “installed capacity”, as if that is what they will actually deliver. They talk about a “16 megawatt” wind farm “powering x thousand homes” as if that is the contribution it will make to our electricity needs. Yet in reality, thanks to the intermittency of the wind, a turbine will on average produce through the year only a quarter of its capacity.Richard North comments:
The success of this deception means that politicians almost invariably exaggerate the potential benefits of wind power by a factor of four. And of course the other great trick is to conceal the fact that all this must be paid for by that huge hidden subsidy.
The real danger of the “great wind scam” is that it takes the eyes of politicians off the real energy crisis fast approaching us, so that we are not building the proper power stations we need to keep our lights on. That is why it will one day be looked back on as having been one of the most incomprehensible blunders of our age.
The main problem is that the generosity of the subsidy scheme is diverting cash from investment in longer-term schemes such as nuclear, and also driving generators to invest in increasingly expensive gas, this being the most suitable back-up for wind.North quotes Constable and Barfoot:
"The market for renewable energy is an artificial one created and maintained by government legislation. The question is whether this consumer-derived money is well spent. It is worth noting that the excessive subsidy offered to onshore wind development has drawn developers even to sites where the wind resource is very weak and the environmental impact severe."North describes how British wind is a tremendous scam on the pun;ic:
As an example of the way the rip-off works, pictured above left is one of the existing subsidy wind farms – 23 x 400 KW turbines at Ovenden Moor, on the bleak flanks of the Pennines just outside Halifax. Built in 1993 at the cost of £10 million with the aid of an EU grant of £1.3 million (approx), last year the installation earned for its owners, E.on, a cool £1,004,850 in Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) subsidy, recovered by a surcharge on electricity bills.And you wonder why T. Boone Pickens loves wind so much.
This is an installation rated at 9.2 MW, theoretically capable of producing 80,592 MWh but, with a load factor of only 27.71 percent, it actually produced 22,330 MWh. At today's inflated wholesale price of £85.58 MWh for electricity, that output would earn £1.9 million in sales, potentially earning the installation just short of £3 million a year when the ROC subsidy is added. For an investment of less than £9 million, this is an extremely attractive rate of return and it is thus easy to see why generators are piling into wind.