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Friday, March 09, 2012

Scotsman Letter - Windmills, Gas, Nuclear and the Competence of Our Political class

  This letter is in the Scotsman today. 
       If the Scottish Tories were actually considering having a different policy from their London boss by coming out against windmills, as Brian Monteith advises, they might also take into account the recent report from the Global warming Policy Foundation that new gas generators at around £600 million per GW are a tenth of the estimates of what windmills will cost.
Those estimates do not include any allowance for the fact that offshore windmills have proven virtually impossible to anchor securely and are already receiving massive, expensive and officially unexpected repairs. Since windmills require expensive backup because, the weather not being perfect, they only work at 25% of their rated capacity the amount of the officially deadly dangerous CO2 they save may not be much greater than that of gas generators. Gas producing twice as much energy per unit of carbon released.
Of course if either cutting CO2 or economic sanity were considerations we would go for nuclear plants, which can be bought for £800 million per GW but work with minuscule fuel costs and produce no CO2.
However with the Brazilian economy growing past that of Britain in the last few days I think we must acknowledge that economic sanity has never been a consideration among politicians of any of the main parties. It would be good to see the Scottish Tories bucking that trend but I am not holding my breath.
Ref GWPF report

   It was effectively unedited . They even kept in the mention of the Brazilian economy passing ours (we are now the 7th economy in the world) which John Redwood had mentioned. This and the comparative world growth rates which cause it are things I have long found even newspaper letters pages "reluctant" to allow mention of, yet, short of all out war, there is no more important subject. I am pleased particularly since they so recently published my previous letter.

   The bit about the windmills already established "unexpectedly" needing expensive repairs comes from Matt Ridley.
I have it on good authority from a marine engineer that keeping wind turbines upright in the gravel, tides and storms of the North Sea for 25 years is a near hopeless quest, so the repair bill is going to be horrific and the output disappointing. Already the grouting in the foundations of hundreds of turbines off Kent, Denmark and the Dogger Bank has failed, necessitating costly repairs

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