Friday, 25 November 2011


According to the new patron saint of nimbies, Philip the Intolerant, windfarms are "absolutely useless" and "completely reliant on subsidies".

You know, if you try asking a nimby about these subsidies, they tend to go a bit blank. Lots of waffle but no answers.

You'd think, would you not, that if the British government were so keen to subsidise wind power it would also be doing something to straighten out our crooked planning system, so that a small bunch of local loudmouths with honesty issues couldn't derail these important developments. Think about it: why would the UK subsidise windfarms if it can't be bothered to support them through the planning process?

Actually, there are no direct government subsidies for windfarms. There are no subsidies for windfarms during the planning stage, nor during the installation stage.

When a windfarm becomes operational and starts producing electricity, then - and only then - does it qualify for ROCs (Renewable Obligation Certificates). These are payable only on the basis of the amount of electricity actually generated (so windfarms have to "work" in order to qualify for these "subsidies"). And it's not a subsidy because it has nothing whatever to do with the taxpayer. The entire energy industry is reponsible for paying these ROCs (to all renewables, not just wind), which are funded by a small supplement on energy bills. So where's the subsidy?

Hmmnn ... interesting, isn't it? If windfarms really were "completely reliant on subsidies", then there would surely be some subsidies for them to be completely reliant upon. So when you find out that there aren't any - only a system whereby windfarm operators are compensated for the fact that other energy sources (gas, oil, nuclear) are or have been so heavily subsidised - then you do have to ask yourself, "What is all this nonsense the nimbies keep talking about subsidies???"

Another interesting fact about "subsidies" is that generally, nimbies are very happy to receive subsidies for their own things - such as the grants awarded to fund the Lenches Sports and Recreation Club - but totally opposed to subsidies for anybody else's things (such as ensuring energy security and low carbon energy sources for future generations). It's something of an age-old problem. The arch-reactionaries of Nimbyville want socialism for themselves and capitalism for everybody else. Subsidies for the things they want and a complete absence of subsidies for the things that don't appeal to them.

Which should make them very happy with the lack of direct government subsidies for windfarms.

Still, that doesn't explain why the nutty nimby fraudsters keep banging on about the non-existent subsidies for wind power, does it? So what's going on?

It's a fact of life that if you tell one lie, you usually end up telling another, and then another, and then another one on top of that. Nimbies start out with the lie that windfarms "don't work" (or, in the language of St Philip of Little England, they're "absolutely useless").

At which point an intelligent observer might ask why so many parts of the world are investing so heavily in wind energy. If windfarms are "absolutely useless", why are countries like the USA, China, Australia, India, Brazil, Germany, Spain, Denmark, France, and so on, and so on, installing so many of them?

This must have stumped the manic nimby nonsense-mongers, until one of them came up with the magic answer:


Windfarms are only built because of subsidies (which don't exist)!

Not the good subsidies, you understand - the sort that pay for all those lovely exclusive middle-class things that the nimbies want - but BAD SUBSIDIES, like the sort that go to asylum seekers, the jobless, or injured war veterans.

Unfortunately, the market doesn't seem to agree with these two-faced nimbies. Renewable energy is now the world's fastest growing energy sector. Which is a good thing, because without renewables, we are going to be in serious trouble.

Take a look at this:

Now ask yourself, how long has nuclear power been receiving huge subsidies? Why do governments subsidise the fossil fuel-based energy sector to the tune of $409 billion a year? And how impressive is it that relatively new renewable technologies are already achieving grid parity (i.e. cost effectiveness) in comparison with the dirty dinosaurs of gas, oil, coal and nuclear?

Like every other argument advanced by the lunatics of the NF (Nimby Fringe), the subsidies argument is nothing but hogwash.

Governments and markets all over the world have recognised a crucial fact: renewables are the primary energy resource of the 21st century and we'd better hurry up with them or else.

Which unfortunately leaves the nasty nimbies of Middle England barking at the moon and dragging us all down into the hell of their own narrow-minded selfishness and their insane willingness to terrorise their neighbours, just so that the view from their bathroom window is not in any way affected by the appearance of an elegant wind turbine quietly turning away in the distance.

It's sad, but true: nimbies are sick people. They're a danger to themselves and to everybody else. They should be locked in a room with Prince Philip and not let out, even when they're banging on the door and begging for forgiveness.

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