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Myers: "Wind power will return us to the early Middle Ages"

  • 31-08-2010 10:16am
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭ Amtmann


    SURELY the most moving sight in this Ireland of the Global Warming is the picket outside the power station in Lanesboro by Bord na Mona employees, demanding overtime payment for the period when the power station was closed for repairs and they weren't making their usual nighttime deliveries of turf.

    Yes, they want to be paid for not having to get up in the middle of the night. Illogical? Quite the reverse, for the picket is every bit as logical as our overall energy policy, which is predicated on two very clear principles.

    The first is to subsidise green-energy production, such as wind power, in order to reduce the production of greenhouse gases generated by fossil fuels.

    The second is to subsidise the burning of the CO2-emitting fossil fuel peat, both to satisfy some ancient Fianna Fail instinct that the bog is pure, as well as to keep the Taoiseach's electors happy. Thus, a uniquely Irish tragedy, a Bord na Mona power station -- the unburnable in the unheatable.

    Either way, the Government's electricity levy (€33 for homes, €99 for small businesses) is subsidising the two contradictory forms of energy. €78m underwrites uneconomic, wasteful, carbon dioxide-spewing, peat-burning power stations, while €43m goes to pious Rosary-muttering wind power.

    And see that €33 per home? It's not really €33 at all. If you're like me, you're paying 56pc tax, which means that you have to earn €70 to be able to pay €33. The chances are that you'll have expended some more energy earning that €70. Which means that we are expending extra energy in order to keep an energy-inefficient, CO2-vomiting power station in service, even though we have been told by the European Commission to cut greenhouse gases by 20pc from 2005 levels.

    Moreover, the Government has committed itself to making 30pc of our energy from 'renewables' -- which probably ranks alongside such well-seasoned commitments as draining the Shannon, restoring the Irish language and achieving national unity.

    But surely, wind is the way forward? It certainly is -- forward to a winter in which the dolorous, the dim and the dumb die in the dark. Because if we'd depended on wind technology to stay warm last winter, we'd have all perished in the coldest spell in 150 years, during which there was more wind on the moon than here in Ireland.

    You can check on the lack of winds these days yourself (Eirgrid.com), but let's take one day at random: August 8. That Sunday at 8.15am, wind power provided just seven megawatts of energy, against a forecast wind-energy supply of 58mw. So we were only getting some 12.5pc of expected wind energy, but our actual energy needs were 2,034mw. Wind was therefore supplying just 0.34pc of energy needs -- one third of one percent. Welcome to wind power and the early Middle Ages.

    And yes, I'm all in favour of wind power, but it's a pious icing on the cake of the 24 x 365 substantive power that we actually need. And here in holy Ireland, the source for that may legally not be nuclear, according to one of those reflex spasms of parliamentary virtue which have generally characterised the workings of Dail Eireann.

    Yet not long ago, a Green minister signed the agreement to import electricity from Britain, although this must inevitably must contain nuclear-generated elements.

    But this sort of nonsense is not new. As far back as 1999, Emmet Stagg of Labour fretted about how it might be possible for us to buy electricity from Northern Ireland (which we did and do) without some of it being nuclear. Looking the gift horse in the mouth, he saw some troubling masonry beyond the molars.

    "If this problem is not addressed, we will run into a stone wall," he prognosticated sagely, before asking of Mary O'Rourke: "How will the minister prevent nuclear power being generated here through the interconnector?"

    The Deputy from Kildare presumably thought that the origin of electrons in a national power grid might be identified, possibly with tiny cattle brands, and Mary O'Rourke could sit astride the interconnector like a cowpoke at a corral, selecting the good electrons for virtuous Ireland and sending the nasty, nuclear electrons back to perfidious old Albion.

    With such an uncertain grasp of both language and of science, no doubt we shall soon be demanding radiation-free, wind-powered X-ray scanners to be operated by our very own brand order of ecological nursing nuns, The Little Green Virgins of Perpetual Coitus.

    BUYING Britain's surplus energy, which has been created by their nuclear industry, but then insisting that none of it is nuclear, is of course illogical, although it is consistent with a chronic dependency on Britain for lots of adult things, such as defence, abortions, television and emigration.

    But then it's not particularly logical to make the generation of electricity by nuclear power a criminal offence, as we have done. And it is equally illogical to subsidise one thoroughly uneconomic energy-creating system, solely because it doesn't create any carbon dioxide, while subsidising another extremely uneconomic energy-creating system that produces vast amounts of the stuff.

    Indeed, by such standards, those fine fellows in Lanesboro who are demanding overtime for staying in bed are the very embodiment of pure reason.

    [email protected]

    - Kevin Myers
    http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/kevin-myers/kevin-myers-wind-power-will-return-us-to-the-early-middle-ages-2317876.html


«134

Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,078 ✭✭✭✭ Ash.J.Williams


    What is it "you" are trying to say?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭ Amtmann


    What is it "you" are trying to say?

    "Who"? "Me"? "I" am simply highlighting an article that posters here may be interested in. If they are, they can talk about it. If they're not, they won't. Article threads are very numerous in this forum.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭ LeinsterDub


    Kevin Myers master of the nonsensical infrastructure rant.


  • Registered Users Posts: 24,289 ✭✭✭✭ Cookie_Monster


    that's quite a lot of words just to say nothing


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,549 Judgement Day


    Kevin Myers used to be a thought provoking journalist when he wrote for the IT, but now that he is in tabloid land he seems to have lost the run of himself altogether. As somebody said about the late Conor Cruise O'Brien - like a lighthouse in a bog, brilliant but useless. :D


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,698 ✭✭✭ D'Peoples Voice


    I think Myers is wrong about Irish People,
    NIMBYism is what we care about.
    The vast majority of us don't give a damn of the source of the imported electricity from the UK or from future interconnectors with France,
    once its cheap.
    Our main concern is that we are not living next to a nuclear station or an incinerator.
    That is why we banned nuclear power, and why only hospitals etc have incinerators to date.
    But it does make little sense to be subsidising inefficient peat stations when we could be importing cheaper more efficient electricity through more interconnectors with other countries.


  • Registered Users Posts: 131 ✭✭ ForiegnNational


    ...and why only hospitals etc have incinerators to date.

    I'm afraid that this is another illusion. Just as the CHASE group campaign against incinerators being built in Cork Harbour, they ignore the fact that each of the Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Biotech plants (that huge numbers of people work for and are therefore important to the economy) already have their own private incinerators burning toxic waste! (that is why they have them!)

    If the "Green Party" had any real power, Bord na Mona would have been the first Government owned organisation/semi-state company, to have been closed the day they came to power. The fact that there are at least three peat powered electricity stations is simply a joke.

    Oh, don't even get me started about the lack of facilities to handle recycling even though we all religiously sort our paper, plastic and coloured bottles (which by the way are all dumped in together in the waste handling site on Monahan Road in Cork).

    No reflection on you D'Peoples Voice, but most of the population refuse to see the truth when it is sat fair and square in front of them!
    </rant>


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 17,738 ✭✭✭✭ corktina


    Ive long thought that wind power is far from green when you take into account the energy and materials used in the building of those quite enormous windmills. Ive also assumed it produces a tiny ammount of electricity. I had also thought that most recycled matrial I put in my bin goes straight to landfill.Good to know it isnt just me

    We have a brand new recycling centre in Kanturk. It's been built a year or two now and is still to open as they cant afford the staff. Not only is it built in an extremely expensive way (do you need road markings in a council Yard for instance) but it is built on a greenfield site next to our beautiful river right at the start of the town where it is the first thing visitors see.

    Green ideaology? PAH!


  • Registered Users Posts: 308 ✭✭ veritable


    I'm all for renewable energy but we as taxpayers are being heavily exploited by the green lobby.
    our taxes subsidize an industry that could not survive in the free market with it.
    the reason that it would not survive is not because big oil would try to destroy it but because the green tech is mainly economically unviable. the technology produces either not enough power in total or not enough power when it's needed.
    as regards the global warming arguement, it has been hypotesised that in order to cut down greenhouse gases to a safe level, all the economies in the West would have to switch off all electricity for a period of years. This means no cars, gas cookers and electricity. even if we wanted to become "greener", we are at the point of no return.
    what we have now is different interest groups competing for tax payers' money - in the name of "going green" even though there is no hope of ever reversing our trend. it's a power grab and the green people are trying to pull the wool over our eyes.


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,852 ✭✭✭ SeanW


    Kevin Myers often gets it wrong as he has done with the Metro, but in this case I must agree with everything he has written. Irish energy policy simply doesn't make any sense.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,241 ✭✭✭ baalthor


    Why the "early" Middle ages ?

    It's not like there was a lot of electricity production at any time during the Middle Ages


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,511 ✭✭✭✭ FreudianSlippers


    I disagree, we could produce more than enough power for the whole island and then some by wind energy alone in this country. With proper grid updates and links to the UK, the country could make money off of selling the excess energy to the UK and Europe.

    Taxpayer owned green electricity production is the future whether we want to get in on it or not.


  • Registered Users Posts: 308 ✭✭ veritable


    OisinT wrote: »
    I disagree, we could produce more than enough power for the whole island and then some by wind energy alone in this country. With proper grid updates and links to the UK, the country could make money off of selling the excess energy to the UK and Europe.

    Taxpayer owned green electricity production is the future whether we want to get in on it or not.

    Well one thing's for certain. Taxpayer owned anything is most definitely not the future. Anything the govt touches almost always fails or costs far more than it would in the private sector.


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,511 ✭✭✭✭ FreudianSlippers


    veritable wrote: »
    Well one thing's for certain. Taxpayer owned anything is most definitely not the future. Anything the govt touches almost always fails or costs far more than it would in the private sector.
    I tend to agree with that, but with energy it seems to work (see Norway).
    It should almost certainly be partially taxpayer owned but almost certainly not government run.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭ LeinsterDub


    veritable wrote: »
    Well one thing's for certain. Taxpayer owned anything is most definitely not the future. Anything the govt touches almost always fails or costs far more than it would in the private sector.

    Like how privatisation worked so well in the UK rail and bus network ? Or how Eircom improved the national telecoms backbone after being privatised ?

    I don't think it's as black and white as you make it out to be.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 17,738 ✭✭✭✭ corktina


    OisinT wrote: »
    I disagree, we could produce more than enough power for the whole island and then some by wind energy alone in this country. With proper grid updates and links to the UK, the country could make money off of selling the excess energy to the UK and Europe.

    Taxpayer owned green electricity production is the future whether we want to get in on it or not.

    AT what cost to the enviroment and economy of building them?

    They use more resources building them and shipping them into the country than they would ever generate, not to mention the maintenace/renewal and the visual danage to the countryside.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,361 mgmt


    OisinT wrote: »
    I disagree, we could produce more than enough power for the whole island and then some by wind energy alone in this country. With proper grid updates and links to the UK, the country could make money off of selling the excess energy to the UK and Europe.

    Taxpayer owned green electricity production is the future whether we want to get in on it or not.

    How exactly???

    Wind power is unpredictable and more often than not produces next to nothing.

    Why would a nuclear power like the UK or France buy Irish wind power when wind energy is so much more expensive.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,361 mgmt


    Like how privatisation worked so well in the UK rail and bus network ? Or how Eircom improved the national telecoms backbone after being privatised ?

    I don't think it's as black and white as you make it out to be.


    Private industry built the railways in the UK and Ireland remember!!! What has CIE built???


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,511 ✭✭✭✭ FreudianSlippers


    corktina wrote: »
    AT what cost to the enviroment and economy of building them?

    They use more resources building them and shipping them into the country than they would ever generate, not to mention the maintenace/renewal and the visual danage to the countryside.

    Costs and environmental impact are going down. Plus, why not invest in the ability to make them here?!
    The visual damage argument is nonsensical IMO. I find them beautiful additions. IMO that argument was garbage in Medieval times as much as it is today.
    mgmt wrote: »
    How exactly???

    Wind power is unpredictable and more often than not produces next to nothing.

    Why would a nuclear power like the UK or France buy Irish wind power when wind energy is so much more expensive.

    http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=82838&CultureCode=en


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,361 mgmt




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  • Registered Users Posts: 20,511 ✭✭✭✭ FreudianSlippers


    mgmt wrote: »
    "Subsidizing renewable energy in the U.S. may destroy two jobs for every one created"
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a2PHwqAs7BS0

    Wind Power has never closed a fossil fuel plant.
    http://www.cepos.dk/fileadmin/user_upload/Arkiv/PDF/Wind_energy_-_the_case_of_Denmark.pdf
    I thought we were discussing Ireland? I don't care about US or Denmark wind production. We have possibly the strongest winds and waves on the planet and should be using these instead of burning oil and gas.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,361 mgmt


    OisinT wrote: »
    I thought we were discussing Ireland? I don't care about US or Denmark wind production. We have possibly the strongest winds and waves on the planet and should be using these instead of burning oil and gas.

    I was pointing out wind energy has not worked out well in Denmark where it produces Europes highest percentage. It also does not make financial sense either.

    Look at todays wind power production. It is at a fraction of the theoretical maximum wind power installed (1731MW).


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,361 mgmt


    OisinT wrote: »
    I thought we were discussing Ireland? I don't care about US or Denmark wind production. We have possibly the strongest winds and waves on the planet and should be using these instead of burning oil and gas.

    Wave energy is a pipe dream. The sea is too powerful and destroys any mechanism installed in it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,511 ✭✭✭✭ FreudianSlippers


    mgmt wrote: »
    Wave energy is a pipe dream. The sea is too powerful and destroys any mechanism installed in it.
    The Oyster 2 has been quite successful as have the Wave Energy Converters in Portugal for the past 3 years. What about the tidal power being generated in Strangford Lough?


  • Registered Users Posts: 308 ✭✭ veritable


    Like how privatisation worked so well in the UK rail and bus network ? Or how Eircom improved the national telecoms backbone after being privatised ?

    I don't think it's as black and white as you make it out to be.

    It is black and white. Compare any business that started as a privately run company against any government run company.

    The cases that you use are not valid. Both examples involve companies that the private sector inherited from the government.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,361 mgmt


    OisinT wrote: »
    The Oyster 2 has been quite successful as have the Wave Energy Converters in Portugal for the past 3 years. What about the tidal power being generated in Strangford Lough?

    hmm Strangford Lough is protected from the full forces of the sea. Besides limited number of places exist with a high enough tidal head to warrant a tidal turbine.

    Oyster 2 hasn't been successful as it hasn't been launched yet. Pelamis failed.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭ LeinsterDub


    mgmt wrote: »
    How exactly???

    Wind power is unpredictable and more often than not produces next to nothing.

    Why would a nuclear power like the UK or France buy Irish wind power when wind energy is so much more expensive.

    Not when combined with reservoirs which is what we should be doing


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,361 mgmt


    Not when combined with reservoirs which is what we should be doing

    What the "spirit of Ireland"???

    http://sustainability.ie/pumpedstoragemyth.html


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,229 ✭✭✭ LeinsterDub


    veritable wrote: »
    It is black and white. Compare any business that started as a privately run company against any government run company.

    The cases that you use are not valid. Both examples involve companies that the private sector inherited from the government.

    Enron V ESB?
    Fox V BBC?


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,361 mgmt


    Enron V ESB?
    Fox V BBC?

    Strawman


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