– updated 5th November 2011 – see Colin Gibson Report
– updated 8th Dec 2011 – Alan Jones, 2GB Radio, Sydney – “The Case Against Windfarms”
– updated 11th March 2012 – The inconvenient delusion that spells ruin for Scotland
– updated 17th March 2012 – Donald Trump claims Scotland Tourism will be ruined
According to the Scotsman Newspaper; OPPOSITION to the Scottish Government’s pledge to produce 100 per cent of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020 grew last night as environmentalists and energy experts united to condemn the plan. Mountain walker and broadcaster Cameron McNeish is the latest name to be added to the growing list of experts who believe the First Minister’s plans to create more green energy north of the Border are unsustainable – and could ruin Scotland’s much-loved landscape, as seen in the picture for instance, turbines now dominate the rural landscape behind the iconic National Monument of Stirling Castle.
Mr McNeish claimed that the creation of more wind farms would “erode the bonnie aspect of Bonnie Scotland” and could devastate the tourism industry, which is heavily reliant on visitors drawn to Scotland’s remote mountains and lochs. Scottish Engineering chief executive Peter Hughes has claimed that the target is unattainable – while conservation group the John Muir Trust has also hit out at plans for more onshore wind developments on Scottish wild land.
Update Sept 2011
Monster Windmill Army Marches across Scotlands Scenic Landscape
Scots windfarms paid cash to stop producing energy – Update 1st May
Windfarms at six sites across Scotland were paid to stop producing electricity. These fatuous and ludicrous schemes were paid up to £300,000 to stop producing energy, it has emerged. The turbines, at a range of sites across Scotland, were stopped because the grid network could not absorb all the energy they generated. Details of the payments emerged following research by the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF). The REF said energy companies were paid £900,000 to halt the turbines for several hours between 5 and 6 April.
According to the REF research, the payments made cost up to 20 times the value of the electricity that would have been generated if the turbines had kept running.
The largest payment was given to Whitelee windfarm in East Renfrewshire, owned by Scottish Power, which was paid £308,000 in April. The RWE nPower-owned Farr windfarm, near Inverness, received £265,000 in the same month. Surely in any other business, extorting taxpayers moneys for producing nothing, would be regarded as Fraud. This chicanery must be stopped.
Godfrey Bloom in Yorkshire, explains the basic facts of Wind Power
What does Christopher Monckton think about this? As part of a program first broadcast locally by STV on 21st April 2011, Monckton told STV that the ‘radical centre’ party would let Scots decide their own future, criticised “unseen and unelected” bureaucrats, and called for an end to the “windmills” appearing across Scotland, despoiling our scenic heritage.
Speaking on STV’s Face-to-Face with Political Editor Bernard Ponsonby, UKIP’s Christopher Monckton said he disagreed with more power being taken out of the hands of Scottish people. Monckton, the UK Independence Party’s Lead Candidate for Mid Scotland & Fife began by saying that he believed that power should not be transferred to unelected powers overseas.
He said: “Decisions have to be made above and beyond the nation state but every transfer of power to supranational entities is a transfer of power from elected hands here to unelected hands elsewhere.” Monckton added that “we have a ruling elite removed from the electoral process”. He said that he was against “unseen and unelected bureaucrats” deciding Scotland’s future.
When asked to describe the position of his party he said it was of the “radical centre” and stated that: “if you want to decide your own future – if you don’t want windmills and don’t want to pay student fees – we are the right party”. With a particularly strong view against the SNP’s climate change and renewable energy plans he said: “we will ban windmills, we will close the climate change department as it will cost millions and solve nothing.”
Double Dealing and Chicanery Revealed by Dusty Old Report ?
Beinn An Tuirc Wind Farm – Argyll, Scotland.
Over the last two decades Energy Policy has seen a marked shift towards renewables as part of the UK commitment to reduce green house gas emissions by 20% between 2000 and 2010. The Scottish Government itself commissioned a report, “The Economic Impacts of Wind Farms on Scottish Tourism”, which gave some very similar warnings in March, 2008. The report gave some genuine evidence which detailed the damage being caused, but they appear to distort the conclusions of the report to suit the green agenda, and deny the evidence before their own eyes.
Whitelee wind farm at Eaglesham Moor, Renfrewshire, Scotland.
They stated for instance that, “the evidence is overwhelming that wind farms reduce the value of the scenery“, and that, “during the study it has become clear that if current applications proceed the chance of non-exposure to wind farms for visitors travelling from the South is almost non-existent as all the relevant trunk roads, particularly the M74. will have substantial wind farm exposure. ….. It thus seems likely that although the effects of general aversion to Scotland caused by wind farms are very small the number of tourists affected by wind farm exposure will be very large.” However they summarised this as being somehow trivial, when they concluded that, “the study suggests a small negative impact on the economy of Scotland that is estimated to amount to some 211 jobs and income of £4.7m.” This figure seems far too small by several orders of magnitude, considering what is said in the detail of that report.
Wind Farm at Farr, near Inverness, Scotland.
It is confusing in places, and possibly even deliberately obfuscatory. This report has largely been forgotten by Salmond and the SNP. A further report by Verso Economics, which appeared only this year was equally scathing of the deleterious economic impact of these schemes, and readers should peruse, at least the summary of that one also.
Economic Impacts of Wind Farms on Scottish Tourism (Govt. Report)
Worth The Candle? – Verso Economics (PDF File)
See also this document: First Progress Report on Climate Change Adaptation in Scotland, which was only published on 16 March 2011, just prior to the dissolution of Parliament.
Climate Change Adaptation in Scotland (Govt. Report)
Update – November 2011
Colin Gibson: A Probabilistic Approach to Levelised Cost for Various Types of Electricity Generation, published by The Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland (IESIS), 31st October 2011.
Colin Gibson, C.Eng., FIEE, CCMI, has more than 40 years’ experience in the electricity supply industry, including 5 years as Power Network Director of National Grid Group (1993-1997). This post carried responsibilities covering the electricity transmission system of England & Wales for Commercial Development, System Design, Asset Management, and System Operation. Mr Gibson was General Manager of the generation business of National Grid through the period of privatisation up to his joining the main Board. Prior to this he held various posts in planning, design, and operations in the electricity supply industry in Scotland.
All governments are in favour of a green and safe future energy supply based on renewable energy sources. The additional cost of a transition into green energy is usually played down and supposed to be offset by saved external costs and more indirect benefits. Only little real information is available on the cost of electricity production. Therefore the public debate is based more on faith than on facts.
Colin Gibson has collected data for a wide range of production technologies and arranged it in a probabilistic framework. The result is an ‘S’-curve for each technology. An ‘S’-curve is a cumulative probability. In the words of the author: “A point on the S-Curve represents the probability that that cost will be less than this value.”, and “The levelised cost of a type of generation is taken as all the costs as seen by the customer discounted with regard to time, divided by the energy output also discounted with regard to time.”
A steep curve indicates a more uncertain price than a flat curve.
The CCGT curve in fig. 1 reflects the uncertainty of the future gas prices.
It is remarkable that levelised costs of energy from nuclear plants and traditional coal fired units are within the same range. The variations of wind energy costs mostly reflect variations in capital costs and in load factors. The work of Colin Gibson is a welcome initiative aiming at better public access to realistic information on the cost of electricity production to the consumers. Hopefully the work will encourage further studies and analyses and a public debate based on real data.
For each technology the energy cost depends on a number of parameters, with the central estimates for each parameter being collected from a number of sources. The key variables are the input parameters to which the levelised cost was determined to be most sensitive. High and low values were selected for the key variables and probabilities assigned to each of these values. The method assumes the key variables to be stochastically independent. An ordered list of levelised costs and probabilities was set up and cumulated probabilities calculated.
The report explains in detail the selection of parameters for each technology and the sources of data, and the author recognizes the need for better empirical data, particularly regarding probabilities. Indeed, he hopes to provoke a debate to draw out the best engineering judgment regarding these input parameters.
A spreadsheet with data and macros for the calculations is published together with the report, providing an opportunity for interested readers to test other data and to present qualified contributions.
Can external effects justify wind power?
Conversion of energy has an environmental impact. Use of fossil energy causes emission of green house gases (GNG), and some pollutants. The EU project ExternE has assessed the economic aspects of global warming effects, health effects on the public and personnel, physical damage, etc., and estimated a cost per kWh (http://www.externe.info/).
For comparison the ranges of externalities for the UK are shown in fig. 2, which is intended to indicate magnitudes only. The curves are straight lines for want of something better. Please note that while cost in fig. 1 is £/MWh it is €/MWh in fig. 2.
Taken literally the externalities tend to eliminate differences between different fossil fuel technologies but they cannot justify the additional cost of wind energy. Other data or arguments seem to be required for a justification of large investments in wind power.
Limitations of the probabilistic approach
If the probabilistic data has approximately the same quality as the central estimates the probabilistic approach will be a significant step forward. Otherwise, the probabilistic approach cannot provide much more useful information than the central estimates.
It may be argued that nuclear externalities should be assessed differently after the Fukushima incident. However, the impact of nuclear incidents cannot be estimated reliably by probabilistic methods because a sufficient database cannot be established, and scenario planningis a more appropriate tool for dealing with very unlikely events with very serious consequences, and the conclusions must depend on strategic or political considerations.
Better data might prevent manipulated results
It is in the public interest to be able to understand the background of decisions in relation to large energy investments, but energy matters are complicated because climate effects, security of supply and other risks must be considered together. The quality of publicly available data on energy costs for alternative technologies is one important piece of the puzzle.
While the probabilistic approach adopted by Mr. Gibson is a step forward, it is not without its own risks. When only roughly estimated data is available for probabilistic planning and for the calculation of the cost of external effects there is, unfortunately, the possibility that the analyst may promote certain solutions by choosing optimistic or pessimistic parameter values and probabilities. The bias is not necessarily deliberate, but may be the result of wishful thinking, and is very difficult to avoid.
Consequently, a large collection of empirical cost data is necessary in order to establish reliable central estimates and distribution functions for the key variables, a point which underlines the extreme importance of the systematic collection and publication of cost data on electricity production. But the effort would be worthwhile. Colin Gibson’s work is important, and deserves both recognition and constructive engagement.
These estimates of levelised cost have been produced by Colin Gibson, formerly Power Network Director with the National Grid. In this role he had responsibility for the power system of England & Wales, with departments covering development of the system, commercial arrangements, asset management and system operation. His experience in power systems, and in both thermal and pumped storage power stations, make him one of the the most knowledgeable people in the UK in relation to electricity generation issues.
Levelised cost is a predictive model and therefore careful assessment of its usefuleness needs to be considered. In particular the model needs to be validated i.e. there needs to be an assessment of whether the model can satisfy its requirements. In this case the requirement is to provide information to assess the costs to electricity consumer over a investment period. The validation analysis provided as an appendix to the Covering Paper comes to the conclusion that the results are likely to be indicative of the relative costs rather than provide accurate predictions of actual cost.
It is hoped that the information made available here will stimulate the commissioning of a corresponding study based on the more accurate total system cost approach. Resources to carry out such a study are not available to IESIS.
IESIS: 16 Robertson Street, Glasgow, G2 9DS, Tel: 0141 248 3721, email@example.com
collated from material supplied by PF Bach, IESIS, and others – November 2011
The Duke of Edinburgh sees clearly over wind turbines
It is difficult to improve on the Duke of Edinburgh’s description of the policy of covering Britain’s countryside with wind turbines: “an absolute disgrace”. Views on the aesthetic merits of the objects, which can be over 400ft tall, may legitimately differ. But what should be beyond dispute is the simple truth that wind turbines do not, and cannot, provide a significant part of Britain’s energy needs.
Read More at The Telegraph View 20 Nov 2011
Duking It Out With Foreign Investors
The Duke of Edinburgh, the husband of Queen Elizabeth, has spoken out about windmills, and he’s not happy at all. Chris Huhne, the UK Energy & Climate Change Secretary of State, has said that people who oppose windmills are “curmudgeons and fault-finders”. He finds windmills “elegant” and “beautiful”.
Read More at Watts Up With That 20th Nov 2011
The case against wind farms
Alan Jones of 2GB Radio, speaks with Alby Schultz MP and Landscape Guardians president, Humphrey Price Jones. Transmitted on the 8th December 2011
Struan Stevenson discusses the Scottish National Windfarm Conference, a major event that took place on Friday 11th November at Ayr Racecourse. The event was organised by the Communities Against Turbines Scotland group and Struan was the keynote speaker. See the public comments below click here.
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The Rape of Britain
Windfarms and the Destruction of Our Environment
by Struan Stevenson MEP
A hard-hitting attack on the government’s windfarms policy, backed up by data and delivered in an engaging style. In this booklet, Struan Stevenson MEP demonstrates how Britain is being raped by the current mad race for renewable energy sources, and particularly by wind power. The manic scramble is responsible for the rape of Britain.
Wind turbines violate the principle of fairness by transferring vast amounts of money from the poor to the rich. They despoil our unique landscape and environment; and through noise, the flicker-effect and vibration, they abuse the health and welfare of people and animals which have to live near them. Far from being an eco-friendly answer to our energy needs, windfarms are an environmental disaster being inflicted on Britain that we will live to regret.
Struan Stevenson is a Conservative Euro MP for Scotland. He is Chairman of the Climate Change, Biodiversity & Sustainable Development Intergroup in the European Parliament.
Get a Kindle version of the Booklet for only £1.49 including VAT & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
Fuelling an inconvenient delusion that spells ruin for Scotland– by Gerald Warner, Scotland on Sunday, 11th March 2012
WIND power – more accurately wind impotence, since turbines operate at just 24 per cent of capacity – is the curse of Scotland. One of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe has been brutally ravaged, families have been driven into fuel poverty, pensioners have been presented with the lethal dilemma “heat or eat” – all to appease the neurotic prejudices of global warming fanatics.
Last week, the punitive costs of this lunacy were exposed in a report by Professor Gordon Hughes, professor of economics at Edinburgh University. He has calculated that the bill for wind energy by 2020 will cost consumers £120 billion. Yet generating the same amount of electricity from efficient gas-powered stations would cost only £13bn. Where the full insanity of the renewables option is brought home is in Professor Hughes’ claim that, beyond the crippling cost to consumers, “there is a significant risk that annual CO2 emissions could be greater under the Wind Scenario than the Gas Scenario”.
……. continue reading at Scotland on Sunday
Trump says Scotland is committing ‘financial suicide’ on wind power
US tycoon Donald Trump has said Scotland is committing “financial suicide” by wanting to create a “wind farm landscape”. In a submission to a Scottish Parliament committee, he said the policy would end tourism and result in Scotland going broke. Mr Trump is opposing plans to build an offshore wind farm near his £1bn golf resort in Aberdeenshire. The entrepreneur is appearing before Holyrood’s economy committee. – Full Story at BBC Website
Video of Trump Parliamentary Session will appear here soon.
Latest Lord Monckton Paper on the Economics of CO2 Mitigation
In this paper, published by the SPPI, Monckton asks…
“Is CO2 mitigation cost-effective?”
Monckton makes a number of actual case studies, and after going through the rather complex mathematics of the economics, he then goes on to explain these case studies. Several are relevant to wind turbines. Here we shall reprint those studies.
Case study 5: Thanet Wind Array
Subsidy to the world’s largest wind-farm, off the English coast, guaranteed at $100 mn annually for its 20-year life, is $1.6 bn at p.v. Rated output of the 100 turbines is 300 MW, but wind-farms yield only 24% of rated capacity (Young, 2011, p. 1), so total output, at 72 MW, is 1/600 of mean 43.2 GW UK electricity demand (Department for Energy and Climate Change, 2011).
Electricity is 33% of UK CO2 emissions, which are 1.5% of global emissions, so p = 8.333 x 10–6. Business-as-usual CO2 concentration in 2030 would be 440 ppmv, falling to 439.9996 ppmv as a result of the subsidy. Forcing abated is 0.000005 W m–2; warming abated is 0.000002 K; mitigation cost-effectiveness is $800 tr/K; and the global abatement cost of almost $300 tr is $42,000/head, or 30% of GDP to 2030. Action costs 29 times inaction.
Case study 7: Oldbury Primary School wind turbine
On 31 March 2010 Sandwell Council, England, answered a freedom-of-information request, disclosing that it had spent $9694 (£5875) on buying and installing a small wind-turbine like one at a primary school in Oldbury which had in a year generated 209 KWh – enough to power a single 100 W reading-lamp for ❤ months. Assuming no maintenance costs, and discounting revenues of $0.18 (11p)/KWh for 20 years to p.v. of $623, net project cost is $9070.
p = 209 KWh / 365 days / 24 hrs / 43.2 GW x 0.33 x 0.015 = 2.76 x 10–12. CO2 concentration of 440 ppmv will fall to 439.9999999999 ppmv. Forcing abated is 0.000000000002 W m–2; warming abated is 0.000000000001 K; mitigation cost-effectiveness is $13,500 tr/K; and the global abatement cost, at close to $5,000 tr, is $700,000/head, or 500% of global GDP to 2030. Action costs almost 500 times inaction.
There will be more updates on the wind situation on this page from time to time