By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley
I shall not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England’s green and pleasant land.
Thus William Blake, in the coda of the mystical poem that the nation belts out at full if not always tuneful volume on the Last Night of the Proms at the Albert Hall every summer.
England’s g. and p. l. is not what it was when Blake wrote about it. The place is being expensively carpeted with ugly, medieval, lo-tech wind farms.
The governing class still likes windmills. It is making a fortune out of them, at everyone else’s expense.
The Left support windmills because the developers quietly give their parties – “Labor”, the “Liberal” “Democrats”, and the “Greens”, in order of Leftness – huge kickbacks from the massive State subsidies they get.
The center-Left “Conservatives” like them because, like “Dave” Cameron’s pa-in-law, the wind farms are profitably built on their vast estates.
The unspeakable “Tim” Yeo, “Conservative” chairman of the Commons Environment Committee, who came off very much second-best in a tussle with Professor Dick Lindzen at a recent hearing, makes around $150,000 a year (in addition to his fat Parliamentary salary and allowances of $1 million a year) from various soi-disant “renewable” energy boondoggles subsidized by taxpayers.
Yeo’s committee has acted disgracefully, suppressing or sneering at any testimony (such as that from Professor Lindzen) that threatens’ its members’ personal fortunes and the immense donations to their parties from people whom their insane climate policies have made into multi-millionaires.
Johnny Taxpayer, who pays £30 billion a year for the mad climate policies that represent the biggest transfer of power and wealth in human history from the little guy to the fat cat, is heartily sick of wind farms.
Half of all zoning consents applied for by greedy developers supported by members of parliament whose parties hope to profiteer from wind farms are now being turned down, even though the government desperately wants local authorities to grant them because the Brussels junta, whom we do not elect, requires us to generate a fifth of our electricity from “renewables” by 2020.
The proposal that bids fair to bring the entire tottering house of cards crashing down is just about to be submitted for zoning consent.
Britain’s most important coastline – the Jurassic world-heritage coast in Dorset – is about to be ruined irretrievably by the Navitus Bay Wind Array, 194 wind turbines almost 600 feet high, covering six square miles, less than 9 miles out to sea.
The swept area of each turbine is 200,000 square feet. Yet the mean output of 4000 acres of vast 5 MW wind turbines, even at the absurdly optimistic 35% capacity factor claimed by the developers, will be just 339.5 MW. A single modern 4 GW coal-fired power station produces ten times as much output.
Figure 2a. The Navitus array, seen from Durlston Head lighthouse on the Jurassic Coast, will span almost 45 degrees of arc (nearly the entire field of view here).
Figure 3. The sheer size of the proposed Navitus Bay Wind Array wind farm is disproportionate to and intrusive upon the fragile and important landscape of the area. The illustration, kindly supplied by the Poole and Christchurch Bays Association, shows the scale of a 5 MW and a 7 MW turbine set against the Needles Light, one of Britain’s most-loved landmarks (they will not, of course, be this close to the coast). The array of 194 turbines each 581 feet high and sweeping an area of 200,000 square feet will be within 11 miles of the Needles. The UK Government’s minimum offshore distance for wind farms is 12 miles. The wind farms will tower over the neighboring cliffs.
The pathetic 339.5 MW output of this monstrous boondoggle is less than 0.8% of the 43.2 GW mean total UK load. Electricity accounts for 33% of UK CO2 emissions, which, at 142.6 MtC (522 Mt CO2) in 2008, represented 1.72% of global CO2 emissions.
Therefore, Navitus Bay will abate 0.0045% of global CO2 emissions. The annual subsidy for 339.5 MW over 8766 hours, at 1.8 times the Renewable Obligation Certificate price of $82.80 (£46), will be $444 million, or $2.22 bn over five years. The subsidy regime is too uncertain for reliable costing thereafter.
The subsidy is part-paid-for by a Climate Change Levy of about $0.09 kWh–1 on non-exempt consumers of electricity, and a Carbon Price Floor. These two levies brought in about £700 million ($1.2 bn) in 2013. The 2.975 TWh projected to be generated annually by Navitus Bay is equivalent to 7.235% of the 41.132 TWh generated from the renewables subsidized by the levies.
Accordingly, some $87 million of the annual cost of the levies would be attributable to the Navitus Bay project and, as a market distortion intended to favor renewables at the expense of fossil-fueled generation, is properly treated as additional to the subsidy, so that the five-year gross cost of the project is $22.65 billion, and that is before taking account of the cost of interconnection to the national power grid.
Armed with this information, we can determine whether Navitus Bay will make a useful contribution to cutting global CO2 emissions.
Navitus Bay is to come onstream by 2021. We shall study the first five years of the project, from 2021-2025. Beyond that period, the subsidy regime is uncertain.
CO2 concentration, on business as usual, will increase by 11 pmv from from 412 to 423 ppmv over the five years. Of this 11 ppmv, the 0.0045% abated by Navitus Bay represents 0.0005 ppmv.
The global CO2 forcing abated by Navitus Bay over the period, using the CO2 forcing equation, is 5.25 ln(423/422.9995), or 0.000006 W m–2.
The fraction of global warming abated is 0.000006 W m–2 multiplied by the five-year Planck sensitivity parameter 0.323 K W–1 m2, or 0.000002 Cº. That is approximately 2 millionths of a degree.
The unit mitigation cost, which is the cost of mitigating 1 Cº of global warming by measures of equivalent unit cost worldwide, is the five-year subsidy of £2.65 bn divided by the 0.000002 Cº global warming abated by Navitus Bay over the five-year period, or a mere $1.3 quadrillion.
The global total mitigation cost, which is the cost of mitigating the 0.08 Cº global warming that IPCC (2013) projects will occur over the five year period of study, is 0.08 Cº mutiplied by the unit mitigation cost of £1.3 quadrillion. That gives $109 trillion, which is $15,560 per head of global population or, as a percentage of projected global GDP of $436 trillion, 25%.
The benefit-cost ratio, assuming that adapting to 1 Cº unmitigated global warming over the 21st century would cost 1% of GDP, broadly consistent with Stern (2006) and IPCC (2013) on the assumption that little warming occurs, is 25.
It is 25 times costlier to address global warming with mitigation projects such as Navitus Bay than to allow the projected global warming to occur and meet the costs and damages of adapting to its consequences.
The “Greens” in the Bournemouth area, which will have its tourism industry wrecked by the medieval mechanical triffids visible in the bay less than 12 miles away, are of course backing this environment-destroying project because they, too, benefit from generous handouts from “renewable”-energy corporations.
Never mind the national finances. Never mind the taxpayers’ finances. Never mind the immense environmental damage the wind array will cause. Never mind the world heritage status of the Jurassic coast. Never mind the birds that will be killed. The Greens will profit, and – communists though they be – they are now the most rapacious capitalists on the planet, when it comes to their own bank balances.
Their argument in favor of this nonsensical scheme, which will be visible from the three major centers of Poole, Bournemouth, and Christchurch, as well as from the Needles, one of Britain’s best-loved landmarks and a haven for sailors, and from Durlston Head on the Jurassic Coast itself, is that almost 1.3 million tons of CO2 a year will not be emitted thanks to the turbines.
The calculations we did earlier, showing that it would be 25 times costlier to make global warming go away with offshore wind farms than to let the warming happen and adapt to it, were done on so generous a basis that we assumed it was true.
But it wasn’t true. The problem is that the wind, even offshore, is so fickle that the array will only generate electricity a third of the time. So just as much fossil-fueled capacity as before has to be kept onstream and spinning in case the wind drops. But instead of spinning at full and efficient capacity, it is kept spinning in a fashion so inefficient that there is no CO2 saving from the average wind farm at all.
On this true basis, it is infinitely costlier to make global warming go away with wind farms than to let it happen, because wind farms actually add to CO2 emissions when all is said and done.
The developers’ claims, parroted by the Greens, about the amount of CO2 emissions that the wind farm will “save” are entirely without foundation, as are their claims that the wind farm will help to meet the UK’s CO2 emissions targets laid down by our unelected masters in Brussels. The array, like all wind farms, will actually increase our CO2 emissions.
But it’s going to create jobs, right? The developers’ website proudly says there will be – wait for it – 140 permanent jobs keeping the turbines running. At a project subsidy of $0.53 bn a year, that works out at getting on for $4 million per job, per year.
The developers also claim the project will increase the UK’s “energy security”. Er, no, it won’t. There will be many tons of extremely scarce and expensive neodymium in each windmill, and that comes almost entirely from China, at enormous environmental cost in the shape of acid pollution of the water table for thousands of square miles via the process to leach the neodymium out from the ore. Not that you’ll hear much from the Greens about that. Wonder why not.
And how is the Royal Navy, with more admirals than rubber ducks, going to defend these and other offshore wind farms against sabotage? Security? Schmecurity.
Finally, the developers claim – and this is heroically insane – that the project will “stabilize electricity prices for the future”. Try telling that to the average energy user, who is paying at least twice what he was paying for electricity just a few years ago. A substantial fraction of the increase is attributable to subsidies for wind farms.
You would be forgiven for thinking that this proposal, like the regime of subsidy that has attracted it, is bonkers. So it is – and that is how it is going to be stopped.
Zoning consents for large projects like Navitus Bay have been taken out of the hands of local authorities. Too many of them, elected by the voters who might have to live next to these monstrous arrays, were saying No when Ministers and civil servants could only profiteer if they said Yes.
So Ministers now decide the bigger proposals themselves – or, at least, a vast bureaucracy decides on Ministers’ behalf. However, it is a Ministerial decision, and it is accordingly subject to judicial review in the Administrative Court in London.
The law is clear. If a decision is irrational, it is unlawful. Ministers are given very wide discretion, but, if a Minister takes a decision which, coldly dissected by a court, makes no sense whatsoever because no reasonable or sane Minister could possibly have taken it, the court is obliged to set that decision aside.
Watch this space. Navitus Bay could well prove to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Show Fig. 1 to a court and it will start to question very carefully everything said by the developers, the Greens, and the government. And, as with the case against Al Gore’s movie in 2007, once the court starts to ask questions there is nowhere for the Forces of Darkness to hide.
Some 50 residents’ associations have already banded together to fight this poisonous scheme. Let us hope they fight it all the way, and let us hope they win. Otherwise, we shall all be singing a new version of Jerusalem:
… till Socialism’s builded here
In England’s Green, unpleasant land.
Figure 6. Views of the Jurassic World Heritage Coast, as it is for now. Enjoy it while you can.
Figure 7. The last Great Bustard in the Spanish province of Cadiz, killed by a wind farm.