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« It's for the birds - Josh 102 | Main | Greens trash national parks »
Saturday
Jun112011

Lynas on wind farms

Mark Lynas has a must-read article about the impact of wind farms on bird populations. This quote from an Oxford biologist is just one of the memorable moments...

I think wind farms are potentially the biggest disaster for birds of prey since the days of persecution by gamekeepers, and I think wind farms are one of the biggest threats to European and North American bats since large scale deforestation. The impacts are already becoming serious for white-tailed eagles in Europe, as is abundantly clear in Norway.  A wind farm – built despite opposition from ornithologists – has decimated an important population, killing 40 white-tailed eagles in about 5 years and 11 of them in 2010.  The last great bustard in the Spanish province of Cadiz was killed by a wind development.  In my experience, some “greens” are in complete denial of these impacts, or hopefully imagine that these bats and birds can take big losses: they can’t because they breed very slowly.

The question that readers will no doubt want to ask is this: how much responsibility does Mark Lynas bear for this disaster?

 

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Reader Comments (36)

Is this the same Mark Lynas that argued so passionately about the rising sea levels swamping various islands? Can't be!
Or perhaps he has had a road-to-Damascus experience.

Jun 11, 2011 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

how much responsibility does Mark Lynas bear for this disaster?

You're forgetting already that green means “unripe, immature, undeveloped”. And the immature never take responsibility.

But I note that Lynas (last year, in What the Greens Got Wrong, on Channel 4) has also begun to distance himself from the green campaign against DDT, which has caused not the demise of birds (it might even have saved a few birds) but millions of human beings. One has hope in this gradual awakening.

Even so, one looks forward to something truly adult from such people. Matt Ridley's not a bad model, as he looked back on his writings on acid rain in the 1980s:

I was a gullible idiot not to question the conventional wisdom I was being fed by those with vested interests in alarm.

But I doubt the whole picture will be able to faced without tears.

Jun 11, 2011 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

All these climate change promoting greens have a lot to answer for. They have the deaths of much wildlidfe and many pensioners on their conscience, They are also responsible for spreading much misery amongst country people and for destroying the peace and beauty of the countryside.

Why has it taken so long for one or two of them to finally see the light (or at least a small chink of it)?

Jun 11, 2011 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

This is the same Lynas doomsayer that was wailing about rising sea levels, about the melting glaciers in the Andes, the same Lynas that advised the Maldives government during its undersea scuba diving legislative stunt, the same Lynas that was crying hoarse about the melting Himalayan glaciers before Copenhagen (he deleted that post).

Another thing,
A lot of us write: 'I see a gradual change', 'a slow backing off', 'a slow realization', among other things. Just go back, say, three years, and read discussions here, or at WUWT. You'll see the same kind of comments.

Jun 11, 2011 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

A lot of us write: 'I see a gradual change', 'a slow backing off', 'a slow realization', among other things. Just go back, say, three years, and read discussions here, or at WUWT. You'll see the same kind of comments.

Hope springs eternal... but it does spring, sobering as your note is, Shub.

Jun 11, 2011 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoger Carr

Apparently, some wind farms may even be net consumers of energy, because the energy they use to maintain their operation is drawn directly from the grid (not their own output, for obvious reasons), and is both unmetered and unspecified [LINK]:

Large wind turbines require a large amount of energy to operate. Other electricity plants generally use their own electricity, and the difference between the amount they generate and the amount delivered to the grid is readily determined. Wind plants, however, use electricity from the grid, which does not appear to be accounted for in their output figures. At the facility in Searsburg, Vermont, for example, it is apparently not even metered and is completely unknown. The manufacturers of large turbines -- for example, Vestas, GE, and NEG Micon -- do not include electricity consumption in the specifications they provide.

So it seems the scam is even more brazen than it appears.

Jun 11, 2011 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterJake Haye

Sorry, but since I started following this, and similar blogs about 2 years ago, I can confirm the depressing fact that the 'chinks of light' were being pointed at then. Nothing will change until the general public, ie the readers of the 'Stun' and the 'Mirror' grab the collars of their councillors amd MPs and ask why they are paying for the rich to be feather bedded whilst the poorer members of the community pay the most for 'greening of the economy'. I heard the BBC this morning talking about the 30% rise in energy prices this coming winter. Not one mention as to the real cause of the increases....feed in tariffs etc .. Its all down to wholesale price rises. Someone should point out just how much money cameron, and clegg benefit from the wind.

We have no statesmen now, only vote grabbing politicians . No leaders, only managers, feather bedding themselves and their friends.
Sounds bitter I know

Jun 11, 2011 at 3:04 PM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

60 Red Kites in Germany....could be more as the foxes move in sharpish.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkbU1tS_UQc

Jun 11, 2011 at 3:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterRGH

This is an old story, having been around for 20 years in California. Yet every year thousands of hawks, eagles and owls are greened to death.

Here is a KQED short on it, as well as an actual kill.

And this is what the Greens have to say about it Do wind farms kill birds? . Enough to make me sick.

Jun 11, 2011 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

confused

You are not confused, you understand.

Jun 11, 2011 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

I think Mark Lynas is an environmental gadfly. Uninformed by science he spent years jumping on bandwagons and uninhibitedly engaging in smears and grubby comments. Just look at his article that was New Statesman's 'reply' to David Whitehouse's 2007 piece about global warming standstill (that has since been shown to be perfectly correct.). The thing he will be most famous for will be thrusting a custard pie in Bjorn Lomborg's face at Borders bookshop in Oxford. It used to be on his Wikipedia page. Funny, It seems to have been edited out now.

His 'company' Oxford Environmental Consultants is run from a terraced house from which about 20 other 'environmental' companies are also run from. It's basically a website that uses Oxford University college buildings to which it has no association, to garner a false credibility.

Jun 11, 2011 at 4:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterLives in Oxford

If we can put a man on the moon......surely the design of a wind turbine can be adapted to include the equivalent of a cat-flap? Unless the forces of internatiuonal zionist capitalism are obstructing it.

Jun 11, 2011 at 4:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Greenspart

Thank you Bish for pointing out this article.Useful content.

Jun 11, 2011 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoberto

Three little blades....Thud!, Thud!, THUD!...

http://fenbeagleblog.wordpress.com/

Jun 11, 2011 at 4:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterFenbeagle

Thanks Fen, another good one.

Jun 11, 2011 at 4:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

I wonder where BBD is,..

Dont tell me he's taken all the PTW-related ribbing and trolling seriously.

Jun 11, 2011 at 5:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

As a lark, I post the following limerick, which the word "bustard" always recalls to my mind:

The bustard's an exquisite fowl
With minimal reason to growl:
He escapes what would be
Illegitimacy
By grace of a fortunate vowel.

Jun 11, 2011 at 5:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterHaroldW

Shub

I've been on holiday, but thanks for asking. Got back this afternoon.

PTW wasn't ribbing. He was being serious. I'm surprised you can't tell the difference.

Jun 11, 2011 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

OT: Bish, on our very enjoyable visit first to England and now Langshaw, Scotland, we noted that they are naming streets after you in York. Doubtless a very good sign.

Jun 11, 2011 at 7:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterj ferguson

Maybe we should erect giant scarecrows in wind farms to turn the birds away from danger.

Jun 11, 2011 at 7:55 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Or wickermen, perhaps, manned by volunteers.

Jun 11, 2011 at 7:57 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

A big strawman might work. There's usually plenty of them at surrealclimate.

Jun 11, 2011 at 8:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn M

Lynas is right: low energy density generation by wind has a huge environmental footprint.

It is also unpredictably variable and intermittent, making it useless as a means of displacing coal for baseload.

The wind industry is a policy fudge rather than an energy solution.

It is funded by what is in effect a stealth regressive tax.

If we are going to sacrifice wildlife, wildlands, and the welfare of the least well-off, we should at the very least expect plentiful, reliable energy and the reduction in emissions upon which the underpinning policy is predicated.

Wind cannot deliver on either count. But having been set up by the Climate Change Act and its unelected enforcers in the CCC, policy makers have no obvious choice (except nuclear).

When the electorate finally twigs that it's been lied to and robbed there will be some painful adjustments.

Jun 11, 2011 at 9:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Maybe Mark Lynas could ask the Campaign Against Climate Change to stop sending activists to Bishop Hill, via the CaCC's sceptic alerts...

Maybe he could suggest that having a 'deniers' Hall of Shame is also a bad idea.. VERY counter productive...
http://www.campaigncc.org/hallofshame

Maybe, may be not, just that as Mark and George Monbiot are on the advisory board of the CaCC and President, they could do something useful/rational. Then again, so are Dr Caroline Lucas MP(English Lit) and Jean Lambert MEP(Green Party)
http://www.campaigncc.org/whoweare

How may Bishop Hill article sceptic alerts have they sent out since last year. HUNDREDS.

Wonder where all the actvists are ! ;) maybe nobody follows them ! ;)

http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/4/19/skeptic-alerts.html
http://www.realclimategate.org/2010/11/bishop-hill-targeted-sceptic-alerts/

Would I be blogging and writing at Watts Up without these guys and Steig deleting me at RC, probably not.

Jun 11, 2011 at 9:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

and it is all very well to laugh at great bustards because of their name.... They are not the most aesthetic of birds but they deserve a better fate than to be chewed up in some stupid environmental fad. I imagine that innumerable storks will also be sliced up in Cadiz province as they gain height in preparation for crossing to Africa - a majestic sight now destroyed because of the ecologists.

Jun 11, 2011 at 10:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Some interesting windfarm stuff here

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13710986

Jun 11, 2011 at 10:56 PM | Unregistered Commentersandy

good to see you back BBD!

Jun 11, 2011 at 11:36 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

Some interesting windfarm stuff here

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13710986


Worthy of its own thread.

Jun 11, 2011 at 11:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Interesting BBC article linked by Sandy and Don Pablo.

The UK government's ambition is to expand the current 1.3GW of offshore wind to a total of 33GW by 2020 at a cost of between £75bn and £100bn.

Some of this cost is passed on to bill payers.

The rest is paid by pink unicorns?

Jun 12, 2011 at 12:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn M

He appears not to like critical comments.

Jun 12, 2011 at 12:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndy

Jun 12, 2011 at 12:05 AM | Andy

Some years ago I seem to remember a similar problem in Communist newspapers Andy!

Jun 12, 2011 at 8:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterPete H

That BBC article links to a UKERC wind report which is also worth a read. Some interesting insights - although it's entirely pro-wind and based on biased wind-lobby figures (eg. neglecting hidden costs of wind backup & grid connection etc)

http://www.ukerc.ac.uk/support/tiki-index.php?page=Great+Expectations%3A+The+cost+of+offshore+wind+in+UK+waters

Previously I'd always thought the capacity factor of offshore wind was about 35%. But Feng et al reported UK Round 1 offshore farms had an availability of only 80% (predicted to worsen with age) giving 29% overall capacity. This doesn't augur well for the availability of round 3 which is in an even harsher environment further offshore.

However, despite this the UKERC report then goes on to assume 35%-45% load factor in their cost model. Yes nevermind about the real-world data. Lets use the figure the BWEA gave us.

Also operation and maintenance estimates vary wildly in the report: From Ernst & Young's £54K/MW/yr to EWEA's £114K/MW/yr.. Both sound low to me given the fault rate implied by the 80% available / 20% fault measurement.

Seems the more you examine wind economics, the worse they get.

Jun 12, 2011 at 1:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterChilli

diogenes

Thank you. I must admit that I feel a bit ambivalent about whether it's good to be back... I mean no disrespect to the Bish or anyone here, but I did rather enjoy being on holiday. It's a rare treat ;-)

Jun 12, 2011 at 4:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

I am in Australia, where wind turbines have killed at least 19 of the 260 remaining wedge-tailed eagles in Tasmania, yet still more are proposed (wind turbines and eagle deaths).

Matt Ridley

Jun 13, 2011 at 12:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterMatt Ridley

Ah, Mark Lynas. He featured prominently in a Radio 4 play called "Getting to Four Degrees", with the fiction interspersed with Climate Change Experts filling us in on the factual background.

My favourite quote was by his fellow traveller Professor Kevin Anderson who said - and I quote - "I mean there are some things in science, you know, gravity will remain roughly the same, there will be lots of things in science that remain the same. And therefore we can say quite a lot about the physical makeup of the world. And if you know there's 9 million billion people in there about how they may respond."

If you can find this play on the Beeb I strongly recommend it as an insight into the greenshirts' mindset.

Jun 14, 2011 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

Ah, Mark Lynas. He featured prominently in a Radio 4 play called "Getting to Four Degrees", with the fiction interspersed with Climate Change Experts filling us in on the factual background.

My favourite quote was by his fellow traveller Professor Kevin Anderson who said - and I quote - "I mean there are some things in science, you know, gravity will remain roughly the same, there will be lots of things in science that remain the same. And therefore we can say quite a lot about the physical makeup of the world. And if you know there's 9 million billion people in there about how they may respond."

If you can find this play on the Beeb I strongly recommend it as an insight into the greenshirts' mindset.

Mr. Lynas, if you read this blog pray tell whether your belief in Global Warming still stands.

Jun 15, 2011 at 11:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

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