Did you read the one about wind farms that can only produce enough electricity to make a few cups of tea? What a scandal! Why do we need these cursed wind farms? Yet take another look, and it turns out that actually wind farms are growing in importance all the time. The problem is not so much with wind energy; it is the way in which it is portrayed.
The ‘Telegraph’ ran the expose, and its report was widely cited across the Twittersphere. To use the nerdy jargon, it trended. “Some of Britain’s biggest wind farms are at times producing only enough electricity to make a few cups of tea,” stated the ‘Telegraph’ article.
It turns out that official government data has drawn the shocking conclusion that wind farms are not very productive when there is no wind.
Here is some more news for you, hot off the press: it is much hotter during the summer. Is that a story? Of course not, to use the jargon, it is somewhat obvious.
So why then run an entire article saying that wind farms don’t do much when the wind is quiet?
But then you might as well ask: why it is that some politicians appear to find it impossible to utter the words wind farm without prefixing them with the word ghastly?
Stuck near the bottom of the ‘Telegraph’ piece, Maf Smith — a spokesperson for RenewableUK — said: “We hit a new record in March, when we generated enough electricity from wind at one point to power four in ten British homes.”
To be fair, the stat saying wind energy powered 40 per cent of British homes is about as meaningless as the one that says at other times it hardly generated wind at all. Presumably this point in March occurred when it wind conditions were optimum and probably in the middle of the night when electricity usage was minimal.
A more interesting quote from the same Maf Smith said: “Government figures show that in 2012 , more than 11 per cent of the UK’s electricity came from renewable sources, with wind providing the lion’s share.”
What we are lacking in the UK is any sense of objectivity. David Cameron jumps on the fracking bandwagon – maybe he is right, but frankly there is no evidence to support the pro or anti lobby yet, so why support it so wholeheartedly at this point?
What we lack in the debate about UK energy be it renewables, shale gas, algae, synthetic energy, or whatever, is any attempt at objectivity.
In fairness, the greens are just as bad as the oil lobby. Bear this in mind, however. According to James Martin in his book ‘The meaning of the 21st century’, the world’s reserves of oil, not counting the undiscovered ones, have a value of about 60 trillion UK dollars. You could say there is an awful lot of money at stake in this one, and the last thing those who hope to make money from these 40 trillion worth of oil reserves want is for us to find a cheaper, and inexhaustible alternative. The last thing they want is an objective debate based on evidence.
© Investment & Business News 2013