The Tories’ Wind Power Delusion–Matt Ridley


By Paul Homewood

Matt Ridley in the Spectator:

A very strange parliamentary rebellion has been taking place with Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and dozens of other Tory MPs demanding an end to the ban on onshore wind farms. Wind power is cheap and getting cheaper, they argue. And surely, if we’re engaged in an energy war with Russia, we need all the power we can get?

It’s an argument that is wrong several times over. There is no ban on wind farms – it is actually a bog-standard planning requirement that they be confined to areas designated for that purpose and with community support. Nor do they offer a cheap solution: the costs are high and rising. In fact, relying on the wind for power would guarantee that electricity is expensive for ever, because wind’s unreliability poisons the market, driving up the price of gas-fired power too.

This week the prices offered to anybody – anybody! – who could guarantee to supply power on the chilly, windless evening of 29 November shot up briefly to about £1,100 per megawatt-hour (MWh), more than ten times the normal rate. Demand was forecast to peak at 41.2 gigawatts, supply at 40.7. In the words of Mr Micawber: result, misery. At such a price, enough supply did indeed come out of the woodwork, but not from the wind industry, which can’t just turn on the wind when it wants. Growing reliance on unreliable wind has left Britain paying sky-high prices on still, cold days. Remember when the secretary of state for business used to pose for the cameras while blowing up old coal power stations? They would be handy this winter.

The Ukraine war has driven gas prices higher, but, says Andrew Montford of Net Zero Watch, it would be daft to assume that this is a permanent state of affairs and design a policy on the assumption that wind will be cheaper than gas in the future.

Claims that onshore wind is cheap come thick and fast from politicians in thrall to the most well oiled of crony-capitalist industries, the wind merchants. The claims are not supported by the accounts of onshore wind farms, which indicate a breakeven cost of around £80/MWh for the very cheapest farms. And this, note, is for the efficient wind farms with 200-metre turbines (twice the typical height), located in the windiest sites and spaced at least 1,200 metres apart so they don’t they steal each other’s wind. The cost estimate doesn’t even count the need to carefully manage backup power generation for those times and places where the wind is not blowing hard enough, or blowing too hard. Nor does it count the cost of building and running transmission lines from remote wind farms to places where people actually live.

Wind farm accounts also show that this cost is rising, not falling, presumably due to such grid constraints, the fact that the best sites have gone, and the rising costs of steel, concrete, copper and neodymium making new machines pricier. Yet even £80/MWh is nearly double the cost of gas-fired power at the long-term average price of gas.

But that is if gas is allowed to supply electricity continuously without much interruption. If you keep telling gas power stations to switch off because the wind is blowing, as we do, then they will have to (and do) charge more to cover the inefficiency of heating up and cooling down the gas turbines. The more wind we add, the higher the price of gas-fired power. In this way, wind locks in high electricity prices, hastening the deindustrialisation of Britain, or what’s left of it.

And hey presto, wind farms can charge these same high prices as gas, delaying the start of the ‘contract for difference’ they signed to supply at lower prices. Why? Because this document is a thing of beauty for the wind farm operators: it’s not a contract to supply power at all, but an option to do so whenever the zephyrs of the gods play ball. The government, in its infinite stupidity when Lib Dems were in charge of energy, gave wind farms the right to supply power (with bonus payments if the grid cannot cope on a very windy day) but did not hold them to the price they quoted. At least not without a trivial penalty. Incredible? If only.

The ‘contracts for difference’ that were put in place not only transfer the costs and risks of all the uncertainty to the rest of the system, but are ditched at the first sign of a better deal. Hornsea 2, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, began operation this year. Orsted, the developer, signed a contract for difference in 2017 to sell its power at £57.50/MWh. In the event, it delayed the contract until next year and sold power at between four and ten times that, costing the consumer hundreds of millions of pounds a year. See what I mean about business plans based on spot prices?

The best thing about wind farms, as far as city spivs are concerned, is that they transfer money from poor to rich. The costs are borne by electricity bill payers – and power absorbs twice as much of the monthly budget of a poor person than a rich person. The rewards are trousered by the wealthy: landowners, private equity investors, lobbyists, Chinese mine owners.

Professor Gordon Hughes of Edinburgh University told me how the market could and should be reformed. If anyone wants to be serious about onshore wind, he says, let them sign guaranteed supply contracts to provide power on demand for at least 20 years – with serious penalties if they cannot deliver. So the wind farm would be combined with enough battery or other backup capacity to be as reliable as a gas power plant.

This would force the industry to build, say, a 100-megawatt wind farm, but only guarantee to deliver, say, 40 megawatts to the grid, storing the surplus in batteries for when the wind farm is producing less than 40. The true cost of wind would probably be more than £200 per megawatt hour.

Talking of batteries, wind energy’s fans (no pun intended) were excited on 21 November when Harmony Energy opened Europe’s largest battery farm near Hull. ‘But what happens when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine blah blah bl – oh right, we now have industrial-scale batteries,’ enthused David Shukman, former science editor of the BBC.

Consisting of about 50 container-lorry-sized Tesla megapacks parked on a site the size of a football field, the plant will be capable of storing enough electricity to keep just 1 per cent of Britain’s grid going for, er, four minutes. Electricity just isn’t like carrots or coal – storing it is immensely expensive.

But think how lucrative it will be to do so. When the wind drops on a cold November evening just as Harry Kane and co are kicking off, the grid (on your behalf) will pay well over the odds for stored electricity. This is why the high costs of wind are a feature, not a bug, as far as the industry is concerned. High prices are passed straight on to the consumer. The more problems wind farms cause, the more rewarding wind farms become. The bigger the projects are, the more attractive they are for ministers to cut their ribbons.

Notice these are purely economic arguments. I have not even started on the environmental drawbacks of wind farms. They need huge quantities of concrete and steel, both made with coal; they kill rare birds of prey, especially eagles; they slaughter bats; they obtrude on scenic landscapes; their magnets require rare earth minerals mined in China in hugely polluting ways.

Wind is a very low-density form of energy, so you need a very large number of wind farms to make any significant contribution to UK generation capacity: hundreds of square miles per gigawatt of capacity. A gigawatt of fossil fuel or nuclear power takes up a tiny fraction of the space and even less of the sky. In Scotland, where most onshore wind farms are proposed, this means turning almost all upland areas into what is called by planners a ‘wind farm landscape’. Enjoy the view.

Then there’s the question of how much carbon dioxide is really saved by wind farms. True, when spinning they don’t generate emissions, but in their construction they generate a lot: the mining, manufacture and transport of their concrete bases, steel towers, carbon fibre blades and metal-rich turbines. That means for the first few years of ‘green energy’ a wind farm is merely paying back what it has emitted. Meanwhile its sporadic power is destabilising the grid, destroying the economics of near zero-emission nuclear and requiring backup from less efficient sources such as open-cycle gas turbines, so add in some more years before you break even on carbon dioxide.

These are fiendishly difficult calculations to make, but it’s not impossible that some wind farms, sited in less windy areas, take ten years to save any carbon dioxide at all. How long do they last? Repairs start to get uneconomic at some point, maybe as little as 20 years into the lifetime of the wind farm. The thing has to be dismantled and disposed of. Now do the arithmetic: wind generated about 4 per cent of our total energy in 2020 (people find this number hard to believe, but it’s true: not electricity, note, energy). But only in the second half of its life is a wind farm saving emissions. So all the UK’s wind farms are reducing the nation’s emissions by just 2 per cent, or 0.02 per cent of global emissions.

If you think net zero matters – and even if you don’t – all this is crucial. Why don’t Tory MPs know this kind of stuff? The one thing the wind industry is really, really good at is selling itself. It never mentions intermittency and hides the scale of its contribution to decarbonisation by talking about ‘powering a thousand homes’, a meaningless metric. Somehow the wind farm has become the symbol of environmental virtue as potent as the crucifix. And we are all paying the price.

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Bill Toland
December 2, 2022 2:23 am

Here in Scotland, the wind lobby is the most dishonest money grabbing group of people that I have ever met. They are the reason that most of the wind turbines built in Britain have been erected in Scotland. These bird mincing monstrosities have devastated Scotland’s landscape and bird life.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Bill Toland
December 2, 2022 3:52 am

Not to mention the Beauly-Denny transmission line with monster pylons (600 in total) which cost £600 million and passes within a couple of miles of where I grew up

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 2, 2022 8:30 am

Yes, someone has to pay for expensive new transmission from lobbyist nowhere.

December 2, 2022 2:42 am

I notice UK nuclear power generation stepped down on November 16 and remained there until the 26th when it stepped down further. Two days later on the 28th wind generation fell off a cliff, generating essentially nothing until just after midnight last night when the wind picked up slightly. As of this minute the entire national windmill fleet is generating just over 6GW. (Solar is generating 730 megawatts in the fog (that’s megawatts—not even 1GW).

Combined cycle gas generation, a bit of nuclear, and a bunch of European interconnects have been keeping the lights on for the last three or four days.

I sometimes drive past the site of the (amusingly named) Foresight Group’s planned battery farm in Melksham. They are very keen to tell us it wil provide 50MW. They seem less keen to make it clear how long it can deliver that power. Many minutes, probably.

Edit: a bit of digging reveals it can run for 60 minutes. So it’s a 50MWh facility.

Last edited 2 months ago by quelgeek
Reply to  quelgeek
December 2, 2022 5:20 am

For wind and solar to compete, natural gas, coal and nuclear power systems must be sabotaged to make them less reliable and more costly.

Steve Case
Reply to  Scissor
December 2, 2022 6:14 am

Thanks for making this depressing news even more depressing. When the crazies start their sabotage will they be arrested and charged with treason? Probably not.

Ron Long
Reply to  Steve Case
December 2, 2022 8:07 am

In the USA you can make a Citizen’s Arrest, which is an option for a person witnessing the commission of a felony level act, and allows the Citizen declaring the arrest to “utilize whatever force necessary to comply with the arrest”, yes, even deadly force if it got to that level.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  quelgeek
December 2, 2022 7:40 am

it can run for 60 minutes”

Or until it catches fire, whichever comes first.

Nick Graves
Reply to  quelgeek
December 3, 2022 2:01 am

If one considers that an electric buggy may be purchased with an 50-85 kWh battery, that sounds more like a boondoggle, not an energy dump.

Right-Handed Shark
December 2, 2022 2:45 am

“they kill rare birds of prey, especially eagles; they slaughter bats”

not the only casualties:

Reply to  Right-Handed Shark
December 2, 2022 7:11 am

Do we need a “Just Stop Wind” movment?

Hang on, perhaps “movement” was a bad choice of words.

December 2, 2022 4:26 am

As all WUWT regulars know, the constant lies, the excuses and the blame on Russian gas supplies and the Ukraine invasion for our unaffordable energy crisis is wearing very thin now. This article brilliantly questions the level of common sense and highlights the greed involved. What will it take to convince those gullible hood-winked tree-hugging virtue-signalling individuals to come to their senses and begin smelling a rat? No more Wind Farms.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  GeeJam
December 2, 2022 5:01 am

They’ll never come to their senses- like religious fanatics.

Reply to  GeeJam
December 2, 2022 5:36 am

There is currently no meaningful opposition to the curse of net zero within the UK parliament, all the parties are in a virtue-signalling race to the bottom to embrace this lunacy ever further, ever faster. If you vote Tory or Labour or Lib Dumb or SNP or PC or whatever, you’ll be voting for more of the green cr*p by default. The chances of this changing anytime soon are slender, and the chances of a party not currently represented in Parliament gaining sufficient support to make a difference at the next election, even less. Such is the zeal, even a few blackouts won’t make a difference. The outlook is bleak.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  DavsS
December 2, 2022 6:06 am

The outlook is bleak for politicians coming to their senses.

It’s going to take a big disaster to get things changed. Unfortunately, I think the big disaster is coming and it is going to hurt a lot of people even more than the pain being currently suffered with trying to implement Net Zero and destroy the oil, gas and nuclear industries.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 2, 2022 11:50 am

Won’t the expected Winter deaths of many older Britons be sufficient to enable a more technically-literate political party to arise? If not, better hope for an even greater catastrophe!

Reply to  mikelowe2013
December 2, 2022 5:57 pm

I get the impression, especially based on many events of the past couple years, that getting rid of a big lot of useless eaters is a much desired feature.

Reply to  mikelowe2013
December 5, 2022 2:41 pm

You jest. The old are far more sceptical of Green bunkum.

Reply to  DavsS
December 2, 2022 6:40 am

The outlook is dire. There are many examples from around the world of mass hysteria ending in appalling ways even within the lifetime of some of us here. There is no reason to assume we can’t have our own Great Leap Forward.

Prosperity is not our unavoidable state.

Reply to  quelgeek
December 5, 2022 2:41 pm

Poverty is humankind’s default state

Reply to  GeeJam
December 2, 2022 11:47 am

You describe your new monarch brilliantly – and, unfortunately, his heir.

December 2, 2022 6:14 am

Excellent piece. As always Riddley talks sense.

December 2, 2022 6:16 am

“‘contracts for difference’ …………. but are ditched at the first sign of a better deal.”
That comment needs explaining. How can they just dump a contract?

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Ytongs
December 2, 2022 6:57 am

Agree. Sounds like the wind people actually own a price floor rather than a swap that has up- and down-side risk.

Reply to  Ytongs
December 2, 2022 7:13 am

@ Ttongs
They defer their option to sell at the contracted price and choose to take advantage of the higher prices caused by the subsidisation of the windmills in the first place.
It used to be called the strike price.
either way the contracts (much like every other government manged contract) is not a contract but an option for the windmill owners to make lots of money and the UK tax payer to fund any drop off in performance – no prizes for gessing who is losing out on that deal!

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Ytongs
December 2, 2022 8:11 am

They can postpone taking up up their CfDs for up to 3 years after they come on line. Since spot prices rose 18 months ago no new wind farm in the UK has taken up its CfD. The Moray East wind farm, for example, has delayed its CfD until 2023 and will earn an extra £500m in its first 12 months of operation.

Rod Evans
December 2, 2022 6:36 am

Matt asks, ‘when will Tory MPs wake up, why do they not know this stuff (wind turbine inefficiency)’?.
The quick answer is, they are politicians not qualified engineers or scientific analysts.
Politicians respond to lobby pressure and money. That is it. They have no understanding of anything involving technical detail/issues.
We used to have industrialists that made up for the ignorance of our political class. Sadly, since deindustrialisation became party policy among all parties in the UK around the 1980s that group of people with big knowledge are not so common. Basically because politicians could not handle and did not understand technical stuff, they make huge mistakes about big engineering. Things have sadly gone to the dogs here in recent decades.
What ever you do, don’t ask about two ferries being built under the influence of the Scottish government.

Reply to  Rod Evans
December 2, 2022 11:20 am

“They have no understanding of anything involving technical detail/issues.”

And they have no desire to gain that understanding, not even a little.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Tony_G
December 2, 2022 12:17 pm

comment image

Those politicians are benefiting from the wind scam.

All they care about is: MONEY.

Last edited 2 months ago by Janice Moore
B Zipperer
Reply to  Janice Moore
December 2, 2022 5:57 pm

To money add: power, fame, and the ability to remake society according to their own ideology.

Reply to  Janice Moore
December 2, 2022 6:02 pm

Are some, possibly most, not religious converts that really care only about virtuousness?.

Douglas Pollock
December 2, 2022 6:47 am

Germany, Australia, the U.K. and the leftist US states (and the rest of the West) are the best examples of the political stupidity and massive deceit of the people that have put them in power to hurt the people. How? By insisting on showing these Middle Age non-renewable and unreliable technologies as isolated entities in a power grid. Only then, of course, those deadweights are effectively cheaper than other traditional sources of generation, such as the evil gas and demonic coal because: 1) sun and wind (so far) are free; 2) they don’t burn fossil fuels to produce almost useless intermittent electricity and 3) they are made in China. When will be the day that these incompetents and political scammers understand that, at least on planet Earth, this way of generating electricity is not possible if you want to have electricity? I know the answer that I will not give here because it is politically very incorrect.

Coeur de Lion
December 2, 2022 7:06 am

I’m a Spectator subscriber and am looking forward to the thump on the doormat. But the Speccie needs to do a job on Net Zero again. Lord Lawson of the Global Warming Policy Foundation had an article some month ago predicting an ‘unparalleled economic calamity’. We need more

December 2, 2022 7:12 am

As a result of the ongoing energy crisis throughout Europe, Switzerland is considering a ban on the use of electric cars for non-essential purposes.
Owners of Teslas, Volts, and other electric cars in Switzerland may soon find themselves taking the bus, with the country reportedly considering a partial ban on using EVs as part of a host of measures aimed at saving electricity.

Reply to  Neo
December 2, 2022 11:56 am

Switzerland showing the way for less-enlightened economies, yet again! Meanwhile, almost evrywhere else the politicians continue their rush to mandate EVs. madness!

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  mikelowe2013
December 3, 2022 7:12 am

The plan is simple. Make individual transport dependent on electric power, than immobilize it by government dictat or power failures.

The self-appointed “elites,” meanwhile, will of course have THEIR personal transport functioning, by hook or by crook.

Last edited 2 months ago by AGW is Not Science
December 2, 2022 7:14 am

Solar an Unreliable Nothing-burger in the UK in Winter, and in New England ;

The Zero-Carbon folks have no idea how an electrical system works.
They are demanding an expensive, highly subsidized wind/solar/battery replacement of fossil fuels that has zero chance of success, as was shown in Europe in 2021, well before the Ukraine situation, and in 2022.
It’s only a question of when, and how big, will be the failure, and how damaging the consequences of the failure will be.

Paul Homewood posted on his website “Not A Lot Of People Know That”, an article titled “Why Solar Power Is Useless In Winter.”

Homewood obtained the hourly data on electricity generation from UK solar panels from this website.

For context, the typical electricity usage in the UK at this time of year is given by Homewood as 840 GWh, or 840/24 = 35 GWh for each hour of the day; some hours are less and others are more, depending on the daily demand.

The capacity of the solar generation facilities in the UK is given as 14 GW, as AC.

If the solar systems produced at full capacity for the 24 hours, they would have produced 14 x 24 = 336 GWh, or 336/840 = 40% of the UK’s typical usage for the day.

But hey, it’s late November.

The days are short, and the UK has lots of clouds, and often there is snow on the panels
So how much did the solar facilities actually produce today?

Here is the chart:

The peak output of the solar panels was about 1.33 GW — less than 1.33/35 = 4% of the 35 GWh hourly average

Production from the solar panels (the area under the curve) was 5.46 GWh, or 5.46/840 = 0.65% of 840 GWh usage of the day.

The times of peak electricity demand are the early morning and late-afternoon/early-evening.
At those times the UK’s solar panels produced absolutely nothing.
In fact, they produced absolutely nothing from 4 pm to 8 am the next day; for 16 hours!!

So, how is the UK (or anyplace else) ever going to obtain a meaningful amount of its electricity in winter from solar panels?

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  wilpost
December 3, 2022 8:56 am

They’re not.

And the sooner they acknowledge that fact and alter their colossally moronic “net zero” stupidity the better.

December 2, 2022 7:16 am

All-in, Turnkey Capital Cost of 1000 GWh of Li-ion Battery Systems

Instead of tens of thousands of GWh, we will determine the cost of battery systems rated at 1000 GWh, delivered as AC at battery voltage

On an everyday basis, batteries should not be discharged to less than 20% full and not be charged to more than 80% full, to achieve 15-y useful service life.

On rare occasions, such a rare long-distance driving, in case of EVs, discharging and charging is OK from 10% to 90%
Battery system rated capacity would be
1000 GWh/0.6, available capacity factor = 1666 million kWh, delivered as AC at battery voltage
All-in, turnkey, capital cost of Li-ion battery systems would be
1666 million kWh x $400/kWh/$1000000000 = $666 billion; most of it would need to be replaced every 15 years. See Note

NOTE: The rated capacity of the Moss Landing, California, Tesla battery system, owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Company, is 300 MW/1200 MWh
The all-in, turnkey, capital cost was $370 million, or $370 million/1200000 kWh =  $308/kWh, delivered as AC at battery voltage; 2018 pricing
The 2018 pricing has increased at least 30% to $400/kWh in 2022. See Appendix

Li-ion battery systems have a loss of about 18%, when new, and about 20%, when older, on an A-to-Z basis

We will look at the round-trip loss of a new, 1 GWh battery system

Delivered by battery system is 1 GWh, as AC to high voltage grid
Charge in battery system is 1 GWh/0.92 = 1.087 GWh, as DC
Electricity to battery system is 1.087/0.92 = 1.181 GWh, as AC from high voltage grid
The 0.181 GWh round-trip loss has to be produced by additional solar panels, or other generators, if they were still present!!

Remember, all of this solar fantasy to “save the planet”, including huge-capacity battery systems, and hugely expanded electric grids, is highly subsidized with ratepayer and taxpayer money, to provide tax shelters to line the pockets of the world’s, well-connected, high rollers, who often have private planes, and private yachts, and mega mansions, and God knows what else.

December 2, 2022 7:18 am

The Biden Administration’s Offshore Wind Fantasy

President Biden has set a goal of 30,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind turbines by 2030 [1] and 110,000 MW by 2050. [2

The administration claims the 30,000-MW target would create thousands of new jobs and avoid 78 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. [3]
By comparison, total US carbon dioxide emissions were about 5 billion metric tons, in 2019. [4]

Regardless of whether these claims are accurate (they are not), this offshore wind target is yet another in a series of unworkable and unaffordable green fantasies that have been legislated in the US and Europe.

As this report will demonstrate, the realities of offshore wind planning, development, and construction render the president’s goal physically unachievable.
A single offshore wind project can take longer than a decade to develop.

Although numerous projects scheduled to be built before 2030 have been announced in the last decade (see Figure 1), only one—the 800-MW Vineyard Wind project, to be built off the Massachusetts coast south of Martha’s Vineyard—has begun preliminary construction.
That project is facing at least three lawsuits, that will further delay completion. [5]

CD in Wisconsin
December 2, 2022 7:29 am

And we are all paying the price.


It is truly appalling when politicians are willing to listen to and pander to the wrong people instead of listening to the people they should listen to. Energy generation is a matter for scientists and engineers, but I somehow find it unlikely that scientists and engineers are given much (if any) of a say in what is going on with wind and solar in the UK and here in the U.S.

That politicians are willing to do this at the expense of the energy consumer tells me these politicians are highly illiterate in science and technology and are not fit for office. Their political careers probably have top priority. Get out your torches and pitchforks and hit the streets.

Why is it that people realize the mistakes their politicians make only after the damage is done? Or do they understand that politicians are responsible at all?

Reply to  CD in Wisconsin
December 2, 2022 6:10 pm

Well, all that may be true, but my represented promised me …. and I won’t get it if he is gone.

December 2, 2022 7:36 am

massachusetts big plans for offshore wind has been derailed by rising costs . the developers say it is no longer economically viable to continue with the agreed on prices while the state says they are bound to continue by contract. it’s in the courts now , i believe .

Rick C
December 2, 2022 7:56 am

Dear Energy and Climate Ministers: As requested, I have reviewed your specifications for an electrical energy system that would supply 100% of anticipated demand using only renewable sources (wind, solar, hydro, geothermal) and battery or other non-CO2 producing back-up. Your request specified a completion date of 2050 for this transition. I’m sorry to say that I have run the numbers and your proposed project is not remotely feasible.

I would suggest that you look into an alternative of primary baseload being provided by next generation nuclear plants and along with natural gas CCGT “peaking” plants. I also think it would be wise for you to take a closer look at the issue of CO2 concentration and whether the drastic and prohibitively expensive proposals being considered and implemented have any potential whatsoever to significantly alter future climate. A preliminary cost/benefit analysis should be conducted by an independent team of qualified engineers and economists.

Yours Truly,
An Engineer

Reply to  Rick C
December 2, 2022 10:43 am

For starters, CO2, CH4, and N2O are not anywhere near the global heaters, they are accused of being, per IPCC and pseudo-science cohorts

Water vapor and cloud cover have far more influence maintaining the planet average temperature at about 15 C
The sun output variations are the primary determinant of deviations from 15 C

Any proposed solutions to “reduce CO2”, just keeps alive the oft-repeated lie of CO2 being the villain. Going there, aids and abets the self-serving liar cliques.

I agree, the US should build at least 150 new nuclear power plants, mostly in the same location as the present ones, to minimize grid expansion cost, plus the US should continue to build high-efficiency (up to 60%), combined cycle, gas-fired, power plants, and maximize use of reservoir hydro plants

December 2, 2022 8:28 am

But calls for more wind power provides an easy outlet for politicos and advocacy groups seeking excuses for current events. That amounts to compounding policy mistakes.

December 2, 2022 8:47 am

At least they still have the colonies to clear cut forests and ship wood pellets for yet more subsidy mining. Oh, but the same lobbyists techniques are used to say this is just waste wood and sawdust when in fact it’s not and more incentives are offered in those poor communities for jobs in the forest and hauling logs with diesel trucks.

December 2, 2022 11:03 am

Well there might just be a partial solution to the problem:

From New Scientist 1960 or 1961.jpg
Reply to  Chas
December 3, 2022 1:25 am

That’s going back a bit – to a time before ‘The Coming Ice Age’, I think.
Bristol Siddeley [the quoted manufacturer] was taken over in 1966 by Rolls Royce ……


December 2, 2022 1:22 pm

It’s a tossup on who is better at ignoring inconvenient facts, lobbyists or the media. Maybe there is some coordination in looking the other way there. Better watch steel prices and metal commodity inflation to get a clue. Or maybe fold in nationalist steel policy into wind lobbyist protection and wood pellet burning subsidies to make every special interest happy at the expense of the general (hapless) public.

another ian
December 2, 2022 1:52 pm

When your version of the “tooth fairy” bites you on the arse –

“NetZero impossibility point? Europe’s renewable wonderland now can’t make solar, wind, batteries or EV’s”

December 3, 2022 8:08 am

Common sense (and math) tells us that intermittent wind and solar power are not cheaper than reliable coal, natural gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric power. The only reason an intermittent power source is viable is because there is a reliable power source to provide power when the intermittent source doesn’t. So the true cost of wind and solar must include a portion of the cost of the reliable power plants that provide “backup” for them, which always makes them more expensive than power from fossil fuels, nuclear or hydro.

December 7, 2022 10:06 pm

As an engineer I worry that wind is always considered un-inextinguishible source of energy, and it is not. A turbine slows down wind, and makes it turbulent, downwind, and that is something that should be termodinamically studied, because wind does play a very-very important role in weather and climate. An stablished newtonian phisics principle is that for every action there is a reaction. There is no free energy-sandwich.

Wind moves between cold and hot areas, bridging the temperature differences. If wind is slowed artificially, as the windfarms do, it must have an effect in the distribution of temperatures, the maximum and minimums precisely, and their frequence, and the extreme weather events, like storms or hurricanes.

Other than saying that windfarms should not be downwind from other windfarms because of the efficiency loss (which is a clue of at least some effect on the wind regime modification by windfarms), I have never read an study on the effects of windfarming in weather..

Even for the accuracy of climate models, windfarms may have an effect to consider. Is it negligible? is it not?

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