The Myth of Green Energy

510tL3VieXL._SL500_AA300_My old friend Struan Stevenson MEP (Con, Scotland) has been a leading campaigner against wind energy — and a thorn in the side of Alex Salmond, whose SNP government imagines it can power Scotland on 100% renewables.  He’s now written a new book “SO MUCH WIND: The Myth of Green Energy” [Amazon link]. Struan entitles his preface “The Rape of Scotland”, and the book carries a forward by Bill Jamieson, Editor of The Scotsman, who says: “We are facing a man-made energy catastrophe … brought into being by the manufactured panic of climate change”.  I recommend it.
Thant’s not to say that I necessarily agree with Struan all the way through.  He argues that “we cannot go on with our addiction to fossil fuels … we need to aim for zero CO2 emissions … current oil, gas or coal technologies are in their twilight years”.  Not so, Struan.  Some estimates of UK shale gas reserves are over 1000 years’ worth — some twilight!  We have coal for 200 years.  And we seem to be discovering new sources of oil as fast as we use it up.  Oil should last at least four or five decades — by which time we may well have nuclear fusion or other new technologies.  And beyond shale gas and oil, we have the promise of almost unlimited gas from methane hydrates.
It’s an old cliché, but I love to repeat it: the Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones.  And the fossil fuel age won’t end because we ran out of fossil fuels.  It will end when we develop better technologies, and Struan and I can agree on one thing — wind turbines are not a better technology.  They are playground solutions, not serious electricity generation.
Struan is spot on when he deals with the anti-democratic way in which energy decisions are made, and the vast industrial-scale turbines imposed on local communities and historic landscapes.  He writes about the financial scandal of subsidies and all the other subventions to wind operators — and to the fossil fuel back-up.  He discusses the myth of green jobs — the high costs of renewables actually damage the economy and cause unemployment — and the effects of turbines on human and animal health.
Struan is particularly concerned about the impact of turbines on peat landscapes — affecting a majority of turbines in Scotland.  It’s debateable whether any wind turbine ever recovers the CO2 expended in its manufacture, fabrication, transportation and installation.  But on peat landscapes, each turbine displaces many tons of peat, which dries out and releases large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere.  These turbines add to CO2 emissions, and Struan has been at the forefront of this issue, recently taken up by Andrew Gilligan in the national press.
Finally, Struan looks at off-shore wind farms, deemed by some to avoid many of the problems of onshore wind.  He concludes that offshore wind farms have problems of similar magnitude, if of different kinds, as those on-shore.
For a timely reminder of the folly and waste of intermittent renewables, this book is a good read.  Well worth its modest £7:99 cover price.
So Much Wind is published by Birlinn, in paperback, at £7:99. ISBN 978 1 78027 113 2.

Roger Helmer is UKIP’s spokesman on Industry and Energy



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