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Delingpole on the Daily Politics

James Delingpole put in a very good performance on the Daily Politics yesterday (video from 30 mins). He was up against some green chappie, who I didn't recognise. Admirable support was provided by journalist Peter Hitchens, while another hack Mary Ann Seighart seemed slightly out of her depth.

Subjects covered included the contribution of environmentalism to the wellbeing of the planet, "green jobs", and temperature trends in the twenty-first century.



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Reader Comments (111)

Sandy, a short search shows the main causes of bird deaths to be windows, cats, cables, cars, pesticides, hunting etc; windmills are insignificant. JD will know this - the fact that he carries on using using 'bird-chopping' as an argument makes me think 'what other distortions is he promoting that i don't recognise as such' and so makes him an unreliable source. Politicians do that too, which makes them unbelievable. Maybe AGW supporters do too, its a common enough tool, despicable though it is.

Jun 26, 2012 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket


It matters not a jot if millions of pigeons die from flying into office block windows - which they do. Good thing, too.

It matters a lot if raptors (which are largely immune from death by cats or office block windows) are shredded by windmills.

Your mindset reminds me of the Vietnam War slogan about annihilating villages in order to pacify them. All promoters of windmills have raptor blood on their hands. But that's OK, because it is just another virgin into the volcano called Gaia.

Jun 26, 2012 at 5:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterjohanna

"The suggestion that wind saves no CO2 implies that all electricity generated from wind is 'spilled' in order to keep all conventional turbines running at full power. If this isn't nonsense then I'm a three-eyed mongoose."

Well now, you're close, but you've not quite grasped the point. The implication of your opening statement is not that all the electricity from wind is spilled so that the conventional fired turbines are run at full speed, but the opposite. The system is obliged by contract to take all the wind power generated (or as little as may be provided as the case may be) but since this amount is continually varying in the short term in an unforecastable way then the other stations have to either ramp up or down in the short time frame to balance the system.

If you're a car driver, you'll realise that your best mpg is at a constant optimum speed, ideally on a long straight road. If you're in traffic and constantly starting/stopping then your mpg can easily halve. This is what happens when the coal and oil plants have to constantly 'hunt' to follow the load; they become inefficient and their fuel consumption (and hence CO2 emissions) increases. The increase in emissions more than offsets the theoretical CO2 reduction contributed by the wind turbines.

Without wind generation there is still load variability of course. In that case though you also know with some certainty what the available generation is going to be, so you can match the two more closely and minimise the inefficiency. Also note that the variability in demand is a fairly smooth curve (give or take the Coronation Street advert breaks, which are known to the minute and usually the Dinorwic pumped hydro can handle that) and varies much more slowly than the fast and often precipitous changes in wind speed and generation which can fluctuate in minutes over quite a wide range.

I do understand that to the layman it seems wrong, but as others have assured you, at grid level, wind generation at more than say 10% is not only expensive, but counterproductive.

Jun 26, 2012 at 6:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

All promoters of windmills have raptor blood on their hands.

Lovely provocation.

Jun 26, 2012 at 7:29 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

As I said, the main casualties from the windturbines proposed in my area would have been non-garden species (except perhaps House Martins). Just because cats, raptors, windows, pesticides, cars and cables take out most birds (no reference I note despite your chastising the rest of us about that one).

Personally I think you've left out the main predators of smaller birds, namely Sciurus carolinensis and the Corvidae, both of which raid nests and in the case of Pica pica taking out fledglings, personally I have witnessed these events.

But why add to the problem with thousands of windmills (current models having a swept area of about 20000 m2 or about 2 football pitches), and adding thousands of miles of cables through areas with no aerial obstructions up to now?


Jun 26, 2012 at 8:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Johanna your sympathy for raptors is touching. Is it just for those killed by windmills or does it extend to those "killed" due to habitat loss (the main cause), or cars or poisoning or hunting or power line collisions or electrocutions or collisions with comms towers and cables or aircraft? I doubt habitat loss is much concern for you as for you, all of nature is there just for mankind to reap, as far as I can make out.

Cumbrian Lad, thanks for the explanation. I thought 15-20% was the penetration level at which wind became problematic, but maybe that varies according to the grid system (eg UK or Germany etc). I have never seen curves of supply and demand variation, so I'm just guessing, but I have trouble imagining the power output from a well located wind farm spread over many sqkm dropping at all suddenly. The wind speed rises and falls but even if it does fall suddenly, it will take some time to propagate to all turbines in a farm and the turbines have momentum that must keep them from suddenly stopping. So the power output must ramp down. Compared with the suddenness of, say, industrial equipment being turned on or off (but maybe such users have special procedures for this), or of millions of people turning on the kettle, I'd say it must be manageable efficiently. It might take some investment and ingenuity, but engineers are good at that.

Jun 26, 2012 at 11:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

I've tried to point you in the right direction politely O digital waste container, but you seem to want to persist in staying ensconced in your warm and fleecy blanket of fuzzy thought. Denmark worked out a while ago that over 10% was unsustainable unless they could dump in Norway. Germany had over 900 major grid 'events' last year, and fear a total grid collapse this year. You've already been given links to real time data and pointers to other info. Read the DECC info yourself, if you have a technical bent. If not, listen to those that do. Or not if you can't be bothered. Mike J is probably right. I'll leave you to your daydreams.

Jun 27, 2012 at 12:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

Look, if it is true that wind power saves no CO2, then for every MWh of power the wind supplies, a gas-turbine operator is running his turbine and losing money at his marginal cost of production. That will add up to some large sums and will show up as losses on the gas turbine operator's books. I'd imagine the operator will be complaining loudly about that. Show me the losses and the corresponding complaints and I will believe you.

Jun 27, 2012 at 1:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Jun 27, 2012 at 1:53 AM | BitBucket

They BOTH get paid (or in some cases it's the same operator) and both love it. Try not to clutch at any more straws.

Jun 27, 2012 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

I understood that generators are paid per MWh they actually put onto the grid. If a gas turbine is producing electricity that is not going onto the grid, then it is not paid. If you think that to be wrong, how do you think it works?

Jun 27, 2012 at 1:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Bit Bucket - here is some reading to get you started:

Jun 27, 2012 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

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