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April 11, 2009
President Obama: About those Windmills
The Obama administration needs to rethink its idea to build tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of windmills across the United States to provide “green” energy for America.
Obama might want to talk (though not bow) to the Queen of England about how those windmill farms across the pond are working out. So far, not so good.
The British is government is, you guessed it, bailing out the private companies that have invested heavily in non-proven and inefficient wind power technology.
Here is how the UK Times describes the situation:
Britain’s wind energy industry increased its call for state aid yesterday, after new figures showed that investment in the sector has collapsed by nearly 80 per cent.
The amount invested in British renewable energy schemes, including wind, solar and wave power, fell from £377 million during the first three months of last year to £79 million during the same period this year, according to figures from New Energy Finance, a research group that monitors industry trends. The figures have raised fresh questions over the Government’s ability to fulfill its pledge to slash Britain’s carbon emissions and produce more than one third of the country’s electricity from green energy by 2020.
There were signs yesterday that the Government was considering the inclusion of measures in the April 22 Budget to prevent the cancellation of large projects such as the London Array, a £3 billion scheme to build the world’s largest offshore wind farm in the Thames Estuary, which Gordon Brown has backed.
Its developers are already seeking a bailout from the European Investment Bank to allow the scheme to proceed. Its 341 turbines would produce enough electricity for 750,000 homes.
Paul Golby, chief executive of E.ON UK, one of Britain’s “big six” energy companies and one of the project’s backers, told The Times he now thought that it would be impossible for the country to meet its target of generating 15 per cent of total energy from renewable sources by 2020, which amounts to 35 per cent of its electricity. The target is a key part of Britain’s promise to cut its carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
Lord Smith of Finsbury, chairman of the Environment Agency, said that it was crucial to Britain’s future in the renewables sector that more funding, including public funding, was made available. “We’ve already seen some companies pull out. We will see more of these things happening if we don’t improve the funding,” he said. “Over the past 10-15 years we have tended to come too late to the table, as a country, when it comes to the development of renewable energy.”
The news comes as the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) prepares to publish a report next week that will warn that Britain must act now if it is to take the opportunity to build a thriving offshore wind energy industry that could employ as many as 70,000 people. The institute said that only 700 people were employed in the sector at present.
The BWEA is calling on Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, to introduce incentives and grants to support the industry in the Budget. It also urged the Government to accelerate planning decisions and reduce the cost to developers of hooking up schemes to the national grid.
Some companies, such as BP and Shell, have already left the wind industry, while others, such as Iberdrola Renovables, the world’s largest wind-farm operator, have cut their investment programmes.
As you can see in that last paragraph, the big money and the big energy businesses in Britain have already seen the writing on the wall and have pulled their money out of what is little more than an environmental Ponzi scheme.
Is anyone in America paying attention to the silliness and the utter futility of tilting at windmills in an effort to solve our future energy needs?