Prince Phillip is tilting at windmill farms and I for one couldn’t be more pleased by this latest from the outspoken, 90-year old Duke of Edinburgh (I’ve always a crush on Phillip, the dreamy young Prince of Greece and naval officer turned gaffe-prone curmudgeon).
Prince Phillip says that windmill farms are “useless” and a “disgrace. Now, bear in mind I am not against harnessing the wind, if you can do it without taxpayer money. But Prince Phillip is talking about windmills “foisted” on the public by politicians, as Clive Aslet notes:
Wind farms are Blairism incarnate. Wanting to look big on the international stage, he committed Britain to some preposterously over-ambitious targets for reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. As ever, this was glittering, shop-window stuff, the bill for which would somehow be obfuscated by the dour Scot in accounts. After due nail-biting, Brown came up with a system so convoluted that most people have only just realised that the person who ultimately pays is the consumer.
We are all generously subsidising the wind farms which many of us hate through our electricity bills. Why? Because unlike other forms of renewable energy, which would have required the Treasury to build huge civil engineering projects, the cost could be met through a trade in Renewable Obligations Certificates (ROCs).
It works like this. Power companies are required by law to provide a proportion of green energy and if they don’t meet the target, they are fined. But they can avoid the fine if they buy-in green energy credits, which are traded in the shape of ROCs.
The money from selling ROCs is far more attractive to the wind farm speculators than the value of the energy itself. The power companies simply pass on the cost to the poor sap who buys their electricity.
The U.K. Telegraph weighs in with an editorial arguing that Prince Phillip's remarks are justified because “wind turbines do not, and cannot, provide a significant part of Britain’s energy needs.”
According to the editorial, windmill turbines are unreliable and expensive, but the government’s policy, which calls for the country to get 32 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020 simply overlooks these shortcomings.
The editorial concludes:
We accept that there is an urgent need to generate clean electricity while cutting our use of fossil fuels. We do not accept that it should be done in such a self-defeating and ruinously expensive way….
If the Government is committed to its green energy policy, building a series of new nuclear power stations should be the cornerstone of its efforts. But instead it is committed to generating ever more ridiculous amounts via wind power. The Duke of Edinburgh is absolutely right when he describes the claim that this can meet our imminent electricity deficit as “a fairy tale”. We hope the Government will finally take notice
I’d love to hear what Prince Phillip might have to say about Solyndra.