Wednesday, 21 March 2012


This image will appear in an advert this week in the right-leaning Spectator magazine. The advert seeks to set the record straight and to remind certain addled Tory politicians of their patriotic obligation to support wind energy.

At last, the renewables industry is fighting back against the tsunami of grossly-distorted misinformation which has been peddled by lobbyists for nuclear and fossil fuels and greedily lapped up by deluded nimbies and the foolish politicians who act as their mouthpieces.

A major part of the misinformation campaign has concerned the so-called "subsidies" for renewables. Quite apart from the fact that few, if any, of the Tory backbenchers who called upon the Prime Minister to cut the subsidies would be able to explain what those subsidies are (there aren't any direct government subsidies for wind power - none at all), the real situation is actually rather flattering to wind.

Figures from the regulatory body Ofgem reveal that the cost to the average household of the Renewables Obligation last year (2010-11) was just £15.15. What that means is that £15.15 from the average domestic bill for energy helped to level the playing field for renewables. All renewables. Onshore wind accounted for just £4.68. In other words, the average household paid - wait for it - nine new pence per week towards wind energy.

Not quite the hundreds of pounds claimed by the anti-wind Nazis.

Imported gas, meanwhile, added £120 to the average annual bill. So the rising cost of gas accounted for a 10% increase, compared with a mere 0.05% increase caused by onshore wind.

The high wholesale price of gas caused the Big Six energy companies to mothball gas power stations (too expensive) and revert to coal (very dirty).

And yet, 101 Tory morons told the Prime Minister they wanted "subsidies" to windfarms slashed. When windfarms are NOT the cause of fuel poverty and rising fuel bills!! Lordy, how stupid can some people be??

What is more, even though the coalition government is pretending that its proposed new nuclear power stations will be built without any public money, that's not quite the full picture. The tax-payer will, for example, cover the costs of connecting those power stations (if they ever get built) to the National Grid. If the developers had to do it themselves, the costs of nuclear power would be "uneconomical". And yet, strangely, windfarm developers have to pay the cost of connecting their turbines to the National Grid. The tax-payer doesn't subsidise them one penny!!

So where are all the subsidies going? Well, it sure isn't wind. Gas, coal, oil, nuclear, yes. But not wind.

It's good, then, to see the normally shy and retiring proponents of wind energy and other renewables finally standing up for Britain's best interests and countering the insane lies of the lobbyists for Britain's worst interests (fossil fuels and nuclear - the latter being French-owned; Cameron was silly enough to let Sarkozy flog them to him, after France decided to start winding down its nuclear operations).

But it's not just academics, green activists and representatives of the renewables industry who are behind the fightback. A huge number of letters have been sent to the Chancellor, George "Oik" Osborne, recently. They have come from blue chip companies and major industrial corporations - Shell, BT, Aviva, Diageo, IKEA, M&S, Pepsi, Siemens, Philips and Microsoft, to name but a few. Sir Richard Branson and the TUC have also got in on the act, along with the RSPB, WWF and Friends of the Earth.

This wide-ranging plethora of companies, NGOs and individuals have all called on the Chancellor to think properly about green growth. Osborne had given succour to the anti-green loons of the Tory backbenches by making ugly noises about green issues. The business sector has told him, in no uncertain terms, that green is good. Green is growth. Stop pandering to the lunatics of the anti-environmentalist movement. Get real about the business opportunities in clean technology.

It is extremely rare for the corporate world to criticise a Conservative Chancellor like this. But the business community knows that the idiocy of putting blinkered anti-green prejudices ahead of the economic and ecological needs of the nation is - well, it's dumb. And unpatriotic. And it's not what the public wants. A recent YouGov poll reveals that only 2% of people think that Cameron and his cronies are living up to their promise of being "the greenest government ever". Part of the problem being that the Treasury is seeking to make it easier for energy firms to build new gas-fired power stations - even though gas has been the real cause of the dramatic hikes in domestic energy bills recently!!!

Maybe that's why we've been hearing so much nimby-friendly false information about the illusory "subsidies" to wind power - the government wants more gas, which is massively more expensive, and somehow or other has to persuade the public that this makes sense. So, as usual, renewables get the blame for everybody else's problems.

In the face of that sort of madness, the advertisement in this week's Spectator will hopefully clarify the situation somewhat:

"Gas prices have trebled in Europe over the last decade and there is no reason to think they will decrease in future years", it will say. "The cost of wind once built is locked in. This is a British resource that can create a substantial number of new jobs and can provide an increasing percentage of UK electricity.

"Britain's inexhaustible wind energy supplies will be vital as we become increasingly dependent on foreign gas."

So, then - what's the patriotic thing to do? Buy in ever increasing, ever more expensive quantities of foreign gas? Or keep down our costs by relying more on our inexhaustible supply of British wind?

You'll have to ask the Tory politicians that question. To most of us, the answer's as clear as a bright blue sky.

Because there really is no doubt about it. If you want to fly the flag, you have to support renewables - wind power, especially.

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