Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Green Around the Gills

Doesn’t your heart sink when faced with headlines such as “Gordon Brown plans an environmentally friendly Budget” and “PM heralds 'green economy' Budget”? You just know that this will mean taxing everything you already consume to meet the spurious, twin objectives of making us greener and subsidising the ‘green’ economy, whatever that is. Is it my cynicism or is it years of experience that lead me to believe that this budget will leave me worse off? How come in times of recession the tax take doesn’t reduce? Why, in these difficult times, do I have to reduce my expenditure but the government doesn’t?
We are then faced with the nonsensical statement that “Electric cars are to be introduce[sic] en masse across Britain”. Since when have electrical cars been green? The electricity has to be produced somewhere. If you think that fluffy ideas like windmills will solve the problem then you don’t understand the weather or economics. Windmills don’t turn when it is not windy. As an example of this, on January 1st 2009 there was not enough wind anywhere in the whole of the UK to turn a windmill. Where is the electrical power going to come from on a day like that? The article in the Telegraph goes on to say that “the Government [is] relaxing planning rules to allow the building of more wind farms to ensure Britain hits its target to generate 15 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020”. From the latest statistics I can find (Section 7.17 of the Digest of UK Energy Statistics) in 2007 we produce 4.98% of our energy requirements from renewable sources of which 27% is produced by the wind which means that the wind currently produces 1.34% of energy requirements. If wind is to be used to “ensure Britain hits its target” then it will have to produce 10.02% or a further 8.68%, of our energy requirements. The 1.34% is produced by 2,033 turbines. Even if all the new turbines have twice the capacity then we would need 6,127 new turbines. That is a rate of 1.56 turbines to be built every day between now and 1st January 2020. Just supposing that the erection of wind turbines could be achieved at that rate there is a world-wide shortage of wind turbines. It is just not going to happen is it?

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