Friday, 9 August 2013

The wind tribine delusion

I think a case can be made that the wind farm industry is an example of the generation of myth that has many parallels with christianity.
The theory of global warming caused by burning of fossil fuel , with threats of melting of ice caps, rise of sea level, extreme weather = the myth of hell. The fossil fuel industry gets demonized = Satan. In steps a saviour figure that had existed prior to the threat = Wind turbines.
The wind turbines had previously been seen as an eccentric alternative fringe idea but people selling them recognized a market opportunity and started a PR campaign selling wind turbines under the dream of SUSTAINABLE & CLEAN, SAVE YOU FROM HELL. What's not to like ? People who never studied the small print, who never looked at the whole system, who never looked at the history or other sides of the debate were quite taken in by the story.
So then the majority of the media start repeating the creed that wind turbines are clean, green, CO2 reducing & sustainable giving comfort and future security. I accepted that idea, I never thought to challenge it. I thought government scientists endorsed it. Then the skeptics come along and start raking over the data, looking for evidence for the claims and find that there is none. The politicians either haven't done their homework or they have done market surveys which reveal that the majority like wind turbines so they say, " We support wind turbines " How many politicians think that wind turbines are woo but if it keeps them in a job they will sell wind turbines. Just like some ministers sell Christianity even though they might regard it as largely mumbo jumbo.
So a myth starts with a dozen folk holding vague woolly ideas but can spread to the majority if suitable conditions occur. Then once established many people can become unshakable in their support of the symbol of their salvation - windmills will save us from global warming and from running out of fuel and electricity. No matter how much evidence you present they will not give up their belief, in fact they may become more entrenched in their faith if they feel someone is trying to push them to do something against their own free choice.
Their are always pros and cons. On a small island where power had been from a diesel generator it could be that a wind turbine could help - though still debatable if it would reduce costs. In a country it could be an interesting experiment to have some turbines to see if ways could be found to get useful electricity on demand. In certain situations they may reduce CO2 emissions. It's not that there is no good in it, but that looking at the whole system it won't do what the main claims on the tin assert. So there is no point in sacrificing your landscape and economy & childrens' future to maintain the idols
Donald Trump is like the atheist coming to Scotland to set us free from the wind turbine delusion. He gives the reasons- inefficient, intermittent, won't save you, you can't afford them, they'll ruin your economy, make your conventional base load & spinning reserve viable, maybe too many turbines on grid will actually increase CO2. But many just jeer at him and are suspicious of his motives. They don't want to accept what he says. They repeat the tribal fundamentalist view, " Down with Trump ".
So again it is failure to look at the detail & the big picture that leads to ruin.

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