Phew. Experts have amended their forecast that drought " could last beyond Christmas "
The England and Wales Environment Agency report from April 2012 warned..."A longer term drought, lasting until Christmas and perhaps beyond, now looks more likely – and we are working with businesses, farmers and water companies to plan ahead to meet the challenges of a continued drought."
Yesterday's Environment Agency report "Flooding forecast for festive get-away" said..."People in Southern and south western England, south Wales, the Midlands and the north east of England are being urged to remain prepared for flooding over the weekend. There are currently 68 flood warnings and 244 flood alerts in force across England and Wales. "
Despite warning of catastrophic global warming by the end of the century the experts can't even forecast the weather just months in advance. This hasn't stopped them from signing us all up to the 'renewables revolution' that will make energy a luxury that the poor can no longer afford. A bonanza for land owners but a disaster for the rest of us.
So we will go on building inefficient wind farms and destroying our landscape....
"Otherwise we end up with no energy supply and go back to living in caves. "You may be happy to live in a cave but think of your children and grandchildren and future generations. "Surely you do not want them living in caves with wood fires? So even if you do not like wind farms yourself, please do think about future generations. Yours sincerely John [Mason. MSP. Deputy Convener of the Finance Committee. Chartered Accountant and former grammar school boy]."
Quite a scary statement. The opposite is actually true. Wind farms are too inefficient to produce sufficient electricity for the mass market. They only operate with 100% back up from conventional power stations. Their load factors are only about 20% ( actual average output over a year compared to the maximum output written on the tin). Steadily dropping over their short lifespan. They need major refurbishment after 7 to 10 years so will most likely be left to rot as in other countries in the world. After 10 years their output will have fallen by a third. The offshore ones are even worse with undersea currents making their bases unstable and their useable lifespan even worse than onshore wind farms and costing up to four times as much to build and operate.
Being part of the UK and therefore part of the DECC ( Dept of Energy and Climate Change) helps to share the burden of ROC's ( renewable obligation certificate payments) to wind farms. This is helpful with Scotland having 60% of the UK onshore windmills. Unfortunately we will have to shoulder the whole burden post independence. The most recent estimates of Scottish ROC payments are £2Bn annually by 2020. This figure assumes that only half of the current Scottish wind farm applications are approved and the load factor is 27%. So the real figure will probably be higher. Especially if the "100% renewable revolution" is achieved. For Scotland's 2.4 million households it works out at £300 a year per household for the conservative estimates.
So Mr Mason's statement is back to front. We came out of caves and have progressed steadily. Using our amazing brains to develop technologies that make life easier and safer.
Windmills are taking us backwards to an era where we survived on our wits and strength to stay warm and feed ourselves and our families. The wealthy will be immune from the march of the windmills and many will make good money from them. Whether the wind blows or it's a dead calm. But the poor and weak will freeze and starve.
Just like in the cave man days.....
UPDATE : My friendly sparring partner 'cynical' alerted me to the fact that new wind power capacity was outstripping new gas power generating capacity in the US. I pointed out that this was due to a rush to beat the subsidy deadline.
The real story of course is that the quoted new wind power generating capacity in the US ( 6.5GW) is misleading. You can divide this by 4 as the load factor will be 25% at the most. Whenever you see a windfarm quoting it's output figures a good rule of thumb is to divide by 4 and ask how much the land owner is getting.
Then you must factor in the 100% back up from conventional power when it's not windy. Plus the constant back up on permanent stand by ( very inefficient). Then the upgrade to the grid to compensate for the intermittent output from wind power. Then the payments to land owners etc.
And of course the devastation to the environment, wildlife and amenity for local home owners.
A 'green' windmill foundation..
A 'green' mine in China digging for rare earths for the windmill gear box.
Windmills can kill things 24/7. Infra red camera sees them killing bats here.
Of course their favourite food is still birds..
Windmills make sense if the plan is to force us all to use power when only 'green' energy is available. Talk of "smart meters and dynamic power management" will enable our power to be controlled from a central location and maybe we should no longer expect to have power at the touch of a button. For our own good of course.
It's back to those cavemen again...