Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Warmists Against Wind

Yesterday I was staring at a giant wind turbine in Swaffham. Two of them are situated next to a very convenient Waitrose so I often find myself staring at them. I don't, on balance, like them. They are impressive but creepy. They give a mad sci-fi aspect to the place and seem to be passing judgment on everything else. Or perhaps that's just me.
Anyway, opposing wind farms, says Miliband, the Ed one, should be socially taboo. Oooo taboo, get him. Now I am, in Nige's terms, a warmist. It's getting hotter and we're all going to die. But I'm also sceptical of schemes designed to exploit this unhappy fact. Great Jim scoffs at wind power. It's not enough, it needs back-up and we're only talking about it because the energy companies know perfectly well that, unlike nuclear, it won't have any impact on their primary sources of profit. There may be storage solutions that would reduce the need for back-up, but they look pretty improbable to me. Either way, the idea that a serious discussion about future energy sources should be restricted to terms which the boy Ed finds socially acceptable is, not to put to fine a point on it, totally frigging outrageous. There is, young Ed, absolutely no reason to believe at this point that wind power can do anything more than contribute a small fraction of our energy needs. Nuclear will be the answer once we have found our way through this crazy posturing phase. So, little Ed, turn through 180 degrees and leave the room while the grown-ups sort this one out.


  1. there's one in the middle of a business park beside the M4 near Reading. it gives me the wobbles each time I see it. I suppose if you see it every day you get used to it, but I don't think it's a good thing to get used to.

  2. Some windy propellers, en masse and sited in a certain way can have a sort of, kinda ferrous, micaceous iron oxide covered grandeur, the industrialisation of the wild places. Otherwise they are a total waste of space, unable to fulfill the role.
    And yes, they are sinister Bryan, if only for the fact that they are controlled by anonymous foreign Johnnies, Dutch or Danes or some such, just like the townsfolk in Fassbinders Nosferatu, all sounding like Shaun Connery..Robbie Williamsssss, Britney Sssspearssss.
    The Milliput bros of course are the spawn of Murnau's Nosferatu.

  3. You should make the most of the current breed of wind turbines Bryan. Wait till you see the the next generation of vertical washing-line designs - by comparison the simple windmills are positively elegent.

  4. That's by way of being a show turbine, Ian, though possibly it powers a faint eco lightbulb or something somewhere. It's designed to inspire with the promise of a brighter future. Whereas of course what it mostly does is "give a mad sci-fi aspect to the place and seem to be passing judgment on everything else". And gives people the willies.

    Much like the Millibands, when you think about it.

  5. Wind power is definitely a part of the solution as is solar. At certain times Spain gets 30% of its electricity from wind and all the utility companies have wind farms.

    The best place to store the excess is in electric cars or as hydrogen for fuel cells.

    Would you rather live next to a windmill or a refinery?

  6. A monster one sits with its leg in the water, off the Northumbria coast, the first "offshore" generator in the UK apparently, stopped working not long after commissioning, the wire snapped, cost too much to fix, they said, back to the good old Georgian days I say, nothing wrong with oil and candle.

  7. On balance I'm not sure but they might be useful reminders of our mostly pointless use of power. Perhaps these grown-ups, these antis would feel differently if you could adopt and name them, get regular performance updates and photos...

  8. ...get antony gormley to design them.

  9. 'Wind and water power were the main energy sources of post-medieval industry' (Hoyle, Energy or Extinction). See:


  10. I think the idea of wind power as currently constructed is in error. And your Atomic power will be a central part of any future developement.
    I believe the central question for anyone is cost reduction not for the state but for themselves.
    Being a bit of a warmist myself, if a bit vague on the 'we are all toast' bit of it. I'm not at all worried about a few degrees of welcome heat and will put up with a good deal to predict that I can encounter the North Atlantic without every stitch of clothes I own being necessary.
    While seeing on these Islands Vineyards of serious quality will give me joy, and that the fleecing cousins will have at best useful Brandy can only give me glee.
    Wind power and all the local/personal methods walk smack into the taxation system with the VAT on this, Rates on that and whatever they can dream up next on the other. The thing is, it is relatively easy to have a neutral house. And this with the crappy tec' we have at the moment. But what the Governmental fools are waiting for is the definative. Since they have looked like idiots the computer revolution. So the tendency is the revert to Wellington.

  11. Like the wind on a particularly bleak fell there are many cross-currents here. I share the disquiet of Bryan, big Jim, ian, malty and Brit at our stupid, shiny generation of windmills and farms.

    Generation, geddit. It's the thing we should be ashamed of being part of. It's what these monsters do so little of. It speaks too of what we're passing on to the next one ... for unless we think better and talk better - in the process stamping out the soft but creeping totalitarianism entailed by Miliband here - all they'll have to reap is the wind. The puns end here. Maybe.

    Since I read with admiration my first words of Lovelock on the 3rd day of this month I've been trying to think through how much good it is to be a warmist but a sceptic on the most egregious warmist measures, including carbon trading and wind farms. Today I looked up EM Forster's Two Cheers for Democracy with this in mind. It seems to fit beautifully. Age of Faith indeed. (It takes one to know one, you might also say.)

    So, genuine thanks and respect to Bryan and chum here. Two cheers indeed. It's more than half the battle that you're fighting. May the wind of the Spirit, ever unpredictable, be with you.

    (As a friend I was working on linear forecasting algorithms in the City once said to me, isn't it amazing that when Jesus wanted to give a physical analogy for the Holy Spirit he chose the wind - key part of the most chaotic, non-linear, unpredictable system known to man. That stayed with me. That guy - who by the way made millions through the unreasonable success of what we developed - could well be held responsible for a lot of my tenacity in these areas since. There we go. As I said, unpredictable.)

  12. They're even more horribble when they're built on spots of real natural beauty- a place I've visited since childhood has been colonized by them, and it's pretty much ruined it.
    If they built lots of them round the cities (even outside my house, as it's a crap view anyway) instead of the country, I wouldn't care as much.

  13. News for wire-heads, I've just seen an advert on BBC 2 for "The Wire", due to start next Thursday. They'll be showing one episode a night. Makes me almost wish I hadn't blown 90 quid on the boxset.

  14. What baffles me is is needs to be said. It must surely be obvious to a donkey's ears. Unfortunately, it does need to be said, so well done Bryan. I found your Blog whilst trying to decide whether to buy your book "Understanding the present etc". I think I'll buy it.

    Do you have thoughts on Jonathon Porrit's view we (or they will)need a smaller poulation?