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« Down the carbon drain | Main | Tentacles everywhere »

Talking sense

Wind power is a folly for which businesses and, let us not forget, domestic consumers pay dearly.

Ruth Lea, Economic Adviser to the Arbuthnot Banking Group.

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Reader Comments (28)

Ruth Lea has alway talked a lot of sense. How long before RenewableUK tries to refute her logical and plausible articles? Whatever, it will be ignored by Ed Davey and DECC.

Oct 12, 2012 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The moderation on this article was extremely aggressive yesterday with many benign posts instantly hauled in for examination.

Oct 12, 2012 at 10:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Everything's fine. The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the European Union. So that's alright then. Interesting though that when they look for precedents the BBC come up with:

The last organisation to be given the award outright was Medecins Sans Frontieres, which won in 1999.

The Delinquent Teenager that can no longer be named?

Sorry for the interrupt - for we know that the EU has no influence on UK energy policy.

Oct 12, 2012 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Arbuthnot Banking Group

One of the few banks that did not get caught out in the credit crunch as they had no dodgy assets on the books that needed writing off and a good loan book. A bank prepared to turn away from a quick profit if the risk is high.

How many of the Green banks like Deutsche Bank up to their noses in carbon trading can say that.

Oct 12, 2012 at 10:41 AM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

The EU has stopped another war in Europe .

But it has bankrupted it at the same time.

Oct 12, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

It is a good sensible article. Nonetheless, even she gets the following point wrong:

"Whether this masochistic zeal is worth the huge costs involved doubtless depends on your views on the reality of anthropogenic global warming."

In reality, the masochistic zeal is not worth the huge costs, irrespective of your views on AGW. One can accept that AGW is a reality (although of unknown magnitude) and yet still deny that the CCA, wind turbines or any of the rest of it can have any tangible benefit or effect other than to bankrupt the country and destroy the countryside.

Oct 12, 2012 at 11:08 AM | Registered CommenterPhilip Richens

Philip Richens claims that AGW is a reality. Really? So prove it. No one has yet come up with any proof of AGW without recourse to the faulty models. Real time observed data shows no such thing.

Oct 12, 2012 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

In spite of the fact that everything Ruth Lea tells us comes straight from the Basil Fawlty School of the Bleeding Obvious, strangely refreshing.

Oct 12, 2012 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterDolphinhead

John, I don't think Philip is saying AGW is a reality. He's saying that even if you believe it is, windfarms don't help.

Oct 12, 2012 at 12:35 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Just saw the front page of today's Times - lead story is of a Governemnt decision to build a number of new gas-fired power stations and basically to hell with the EU-mandated CO2 emissions reductions.

Perhaps finally some common sense, in realising that regardless of the possible long-term dangers from cAGW, there is a more pressing requirement to maintain a reliable electricity supply.

Oct 12, 2012 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan Blanchard

"Wind power is a folly for which businesses and, let us not forget, domestic consumers pay dearly."

Especially British Gas customers

Oct 12, 2012 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid


I think every government minister needs a crash course at the Basil Fawlty School of the Bleeding Obvious as a matter of urgency!

Oct 12, 2012 at 1:11 PM | Registered CommenterDung

My Dear Blanchard, don't you realise yet? The CAGW scare doesn't exist except in the models which have 6 major mistakes in basic physics. Furthermore, there is no evidence of any CO2-AGW or positive feedback and temperatures have not risen for 15 years:

And the next move is sharply down as you'll see in the cold, snowy winter to come, starting in 2 weeks!

Oct 12, 2012 at 1:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

over in queensland, australia:

11 Oct: Energy Matters: Two Coal Fired Power Generation Units To Be Taken Offline
A Queensland government owned corporation, Stanwell has a generation capacity of more than 4000 megawatts (MW), which has been operating on average at 60 per cent capacity.
Aside from the 1400 MW Tarong Power Station, Stanwell’s other coal fired assets including the 1460 MW Stanwell Power Station near Rockhampton and the 443 MW Tarong North Power Station.
Aside from the 1400 MW Tarong Power Station, Stanwell’s other coal fired assets including the 1460 MW Stanwell Power Station near Rockhampton and the 443 MW Tarong North Power Station.
At full output, annual greenhouse emissions from Tarong Power Station and Tarong North Power Station are in the region off 13 million tonnes, with the 1980′s era Tarong facility being the biggest contributor.
The reduction in demand for coal-fired electricity is a result of consumers becoming more energy efficient and Queensland’s love affair with home solar power.
Queensland isn’t the only state seeing a drop in mains electricity consumption thanks in part to solar panel uptake…
Solar power hasn’t just contributed to seeing a reduction in coal based electricity demand, but has also pushed down the price of wholesale electricity. Unfortunately, that benefit has not flowed on to end consumers who have instead been slugged with continuing and major electricity price rises in recent years.

12 Oct: Reuters Point Carbon: Australian generator shuts coal-fired units
Australia’s Stanwell Corp. has announced it will shut down two units at the coal-fired Tarong power station for at least two years, cutting its CO2 emissions by 3.16 million tonnes and carbon costs by A$75 million ($77 mln) per year.

12 Oct: Toowoomba Chronicle: Rose Hamilton-Barr: Major job losses Tarong Power Station job cuts
A local councillor said the closure would cost the South Burnett about $10 million each year.
There will be up to 64 voluntary redundancies from the power station, a Stanwell Corporation Limited senior management team member told staff yesterday.
Tarong Power Station site manager Dennis Franklin said the decision would also affect the operations and workforce of the adjacent Meandu Mine. A further 40 jobs will be lost from that mine.
The announcement has angered South Burnett councillor Barry Green who said any downgrading in operations would have a detrimental effect on the community, both economically and socially.
“It’s not just the loss of these jobs,” he said. “In Nanango, motels and pubs depend on the big shutdowns (overhauls) they have.”…
The Electrical Trades Union also slammed the decision to cut jobs, warning of upward pressure on electricity prices and an increasing likelihood of blackouts…
ETU state secretary Peter Simpson said the scale of the job losses would come as a shock to many workers.
“Taking 64 mostly skilled workers (engineering, maintenance and production) out of this community will undoubtedly lead to hardship. Our blokes on the ground out there are already getting calls from members saying if they lose their job they will be gone from the area,” Mr Simpson said.
“Most of these workers have families that use the local schools, hospitals and shops and this is a huge blow for the South Burnett. There is a strong feeling that (this move) is the company clearing the decks ready for a possible privatisation.”…

Oct 12, 2012 at 1:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterpat

Ian Blanchard: don't get too excited. According to this, the DECC is insisting it's "still committed to meeting climate change targets despite reports the government was plotting to build new gas stations". Sounds to me more like muddle than common sense.

Oct 12, 2012 at 2:05 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

John Marshall

My apologies if my earlier comment was misleading - Paul has interpreted my intended meaning. One implication is that there is (or at least should be) a broader agreement against wind turbines than there is against AGW. This can for example be seen in the position of the John Muir Trust.

Oct 12, 2012 at 2:07 PM | Registered CommenterPhilip Richens

and another. mind u, this kind of thing is rarely in the Capital City or National MSM. some of u may be familiar with RM Williams' riding boots:

12 Oct: ABC: Outback carbon farming venture faces shake-up
An ambitious $13 million “learning by doing” carbon trading venture at a former cattle station in the Northern Territory is going back to school.
RM Williams Agricultural Holdings says it is going to completely restructure its carbon conservation project model at the 5,000 square kilometre Henbury Station in central Australia.
The Federal Government last year contributed $9 million to the $13 million price the company paid to buy the property, about 125 kilometres south of Alice Springs.
The aim at the time of the purchase was to de-stock the land and return it to its natural state to earn carbon credits…
But the Henbury Conservation Project’s chief executive David Pearse left RM Williams Agricultural Holdings earlier this month.
Chief operating officer Rory Richards says the board felt leadership “needed refreshing”.
The company has now partnered in the project with C-Quest Capital.
While the property was completely de-stocked to put the carbon farm plan in place, Mr Richards says future models should include livestock.
“We hope to be able to roll out a model that incorporates beef production,” he said.
He added that the company is not planning to be a part of any similar carbon farming projects in the future…
The Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association said the de-stocking of Henbury for a conservation and carbon farming project was a worrying precedent in displacing food production from the land.
Association chief executive Luke Bowen told the ABC last year that non-Kyoto Agreement carbon credits earned from the project would be worth very little on the international market.
“The value of those carbon credits … are next to nothing,” he said.

rather than just now partnering with C-Quest as ABC states, they've actually been linked for more than 3 years:

27 May 2009: Media Release: Announcement – R.M.Williams Agricultural Holdings
Australian Carbon Emission Reduction Initiatives & Biofuels
RMWAH has formed an exclusive partnership (within Australia) with one of the world’s leading carbon value adding and trading companies, C-Quest Capital (CQC). CQC has also made a substantial equity investment in RMWAH. The CQC team is headed by Ken Newcombe, and includes carbon structuring and trading professionals considered to be amongst the world’s best.
Ken Newcombe has over 30 years of experience in developing financially viable sustainable energy and plantation projects around the world. Mr Newcombe is responsible for building CQC’s positions in selected carbon assets for compliance and voluntary market emissions reductions world-wide. Prior to launching QCC in October 2008, Mr Newcombe was the Managing Director of Goldman Sachs’ Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Division in New York, where he was responsible for carbon origination and sales in the US and Latin America. Before joining the private sector, Mr Newcombe
led the development of the Prototype Carbon Fund, a public-private partnership of the World Bank, which pioneered the global carbon market, and built the World Bank’s Carbon Finance Business to USD1 billion under management...

11 March 2011: Stock Journal: Greener pastures beckon for RM Williams
THERE is plenty of talk at the moment about why Australia’s iconic bootmaker RM Williams is getting, well, too big for its boots.
The group is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s former right-hand man, Ken Cowley, who took control of the company in 2003 and has lofty ambitions to buy up large tracts of rural land around Australia, including La Belle station in the Northern Territory for more than $70 million, reports The Australian Financial Review…
Part of the company’s rural land push is clearly about carbon credit. The word is that Caltex Australia was looking to chip in about $400 million for RM Williams Agricultural Holdings in order to gain some of the carbon credits.

Oct 12, 2012 at 2:25 PM | Unregistered Commenterpat

I realised what a hill we still have to climb with regard to the man(or Mann)-made climate change debate while talking to a sibling: “My scientific beliefs are not open for discussion…” followed shortly by: “I have trained as a scientist – have you?!” Aghast at such words – displaying a self-proclaimed scientific mind not just shut, but locked, bolted and chained against all incursions – from one whom I had always held in high regard, ceased the discussion. I think I shall have more success in a course for training ladies to write their names with yellow snow.

Could someone please enlighten me as to the best web site(s) regarding the use of rare earth metal in wind turbines?

Oct 12, 2012 at 2:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Not entirely O/T, this afternoon's play on Radio 4, "Power in Crimpsea", was hilarious. Pretend that wind turbines could work, listen and enjoy.

Oct 12, 2012 at 3:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve C

“My scientific beliefs are not open for discussion…”
Oct 12, 2012 at 2:56 PM Radical Rodent

Isn't a "scientific belief" a contradiction in terms?

Isn't someone who says such a thing, followed by “I have trained as a scientist", implying that, without question, the latter statement is false?

Oct 12, 2012 at 3:07 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Radical Rodent,

Would this help ? I know it's from the Daily Mail rather than a peer reviewed journal, but it contains a lot of genuine science.

Oct 12, 2012 at 3:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Lilley

Radical Rodent:
Not very detailed but might be useful

Oct 12, 2012 at 4:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

Martin A: yes, it is a rather oxymoronic statement, and made me gape a bit on hearing it.

David Lilley and Messenger: Thank you for the information; I have forwarded both links on, and it should be interesting to find out if it provokes a "Well I never!" response, or I am never spoken to or of again!

Oct 12, 2012 at 5:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

Radical Rodent: more re REMs here.

Oct 12, 2012 at 5:56 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

Robin Guenier
Good link thanks

Oct 12, 2012 at 9:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Radical Rodent/SandyS: more here, here, here, here, here and here.

Oct 13, 2012 at 8:06 AM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

Now known as : the Nobel Prize for PC.

Oct 14, 2012 at 10:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterTomcat

A very belated thank you, Robin.

I did notice that the Guardian article very carefully avoided any of the negatives impacts of the extraction of REM. Don't want their readers to get any ideas about "truth", do they?

Oct 18, 2012 at 10:33 AM | Unregistered CommenterRadical Rodent

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