By Steven Goddard
In Wednesday’s Guardian, their lead environmental story made this bold claim about The Whitelee Wind Farm:
Europe’s largest onshore wind farm, which is already powerful enough to meet Glasgow’s electricity needs
There was no discussion in the article about how Glasgow would handle extended periods of cold and calm winds, such as was often seen this past winter.
If the wind isn’t blowing, the turbines aren’t spinning and no electricity is being generated. This tends to happen on the coldest days, when the electricity is needed the most.
The flaw in The Guardian’s logic is a failure to acknowledge that Glasgow needs a consistent power supply 24x7x365. The fact that Whitelee has a lot of windy days and a high annual energy potential, does no good on the cold, calm days. I’m going to try to help The Guardian out with their logic using a few analogies they should understand.
- On average, there is lots of ice in the Arctic during the year – but that doesn’t stop The Guardian from being concerned about the possibility of a few ice-free days.
- Penguin chicks may get plenty to eat most of the year, but during the times when they don’t, many of them starve to death.
- Getting a pay check nine months a year would not pay the bills for the other three.
- Having toilets available only five days a week would not be satisfactory to most people.
- Having only five days a week without being in an automobile crash would not be satisfactory to most people.
- The rainy season in Australia may produce floods, but that doesn’t stop animals from dying of dehydration during the dry season.
- Having your watch functional 90% of the time would not be adequate.
- The fact that a restaurant is not responsible for food poisoning on most nights, may not make you want to eat there.
- Being careful on the edge of the Grand Canyon 90% of the time may not be enough.
- Practicing safe sex 90% of the time is not recommended.
It would be disastrous for Glasgow if they did not have the ability to obtain 100% of their energy from conventional sources on any given day of the year, when the wind isn’t blowing. If The Guardian is attempting to propose that Glasgow could cut off their supply of conventional electricity sources, they should just come out and say that. The implication is both clear and incorrect. “already powerful enough to meet Glasgow’s electricity needs”
Is The Guardian part of the Climate Industrial Complex?