We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

To the nearest whole number, the percentage of the world’s energy that comes from wind turbines today is: zero.

– Matt Ridley hails The Beginning Of The End Of Wind. Let’s hope he’s right. The piece is quoted from at greater length by Bishop Hill and at WUWT.

See, or rather, hear also: Matt Ridley’s eloquent recorded talk a while back, on the general subject of environmental scaremongering, of the sort that has been used to excuse the wind farm disaster, also linked to by Bishop Hill.

15 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • PersonFromPorlock

    The older I get, the more convinced I become that the likeliest explanation for subsidies is venality. Any proposal that involves a government subsidy ought to be vetted from the start with the presumption that its sponsors are corrupt.

  • Ed Snack

    And yet, oddly enough, in certain circumstances wind power can be valuable. Particular example is in New Zealand where the majority of power generation is Hydro, with the particular problem that in dry years the available hydro storage can be inadequate and additional storage is not readily available.

    Wind in limited quantities can be used to conserve water supplies, and hydro can readily be used to provide a form of “spinning reserve” for the wind.

    Limited quantities only, and needs good windy sites so enough power gets generated (and these exist). I presume that Norway could probably use the same, or anywhere with a lot of hydro power and some limitations on storage (if no limitations why use wind anyway).

  • Bruce Hoult

    We do have quite a lot of wind here in NZ, and turbines are being installed all over the place. The interesting thing is that the wind farms are largely being installed by local electricity retailers rather than by traditional generation companies, and there is no government subsidy on wind farms. The decision to build them, or not, is a purely commercial one.

    It will be interesting to see whether it proves to be a correct one.

  • Hmm

    I agree with Ed, wind power has proven itself as a useful power source for low tech pumping of water. England could have made great use of this to fill its ever-emptying reservoirs. Instead they plonked to go with high-tech stupid. Doh!

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    Here in Australia, over 100 years ago, we grew wool that was quickly shipped to Britain by wind power- the convection system known as The roaring Forties. Those winds are still there- we should be able to build lots of reliable turbines in Bass Strait. This would be especially good if we then used the electric power to create Hydrogen from the seawater, to be used as a really clean fuel. The oil will run out one day, if not for a while yet, after all.

  • Mr Black

    How does a piece in the futility and uselessness of wind power attract comments on the theoretical value of windpower. Go back and read the article lads.

  • 'Nuke' Gray

    Not everything is Black v White, so to speak. Some places on Earth really would be good for windpower schemes. Try a Black+white viewpoint. I always do!

  • PaulM

    I don’t think we’ll ever run out of oil, more likely is that as reserves are harder to find the price will rise, and keep rising until another form of lower cost energy will be used.
    From here it looks like it might be shale gas or similar.

    So we won’t actually run out of oil, we just won’t be able to afford it.

  • llamas

    Nuke Gray wrote:

    ‘Here in Australia, over 100 years ago, we grew wool that was quickly shipped to Britain by wind power- the convection system known as The roaring Forties.’

    Yes – but there’s a reason that the Pamir and the Passat don’t sail any longer, even though they had the advantage of all that ‘free’ energy. It’s the same reason that there’s no point in putting a lot of turbines in the Bass Strait and using them to make hydrogen – the amount of ‘free’ energy you can get is not worth the cost involved in getting it in a place and time where it is of use.

    Australia still grows a bunch of wool and wheat that’s shipped to the rest of the world – it’s just done much-more efficiently and economically using modern motor transport ships.



  • Hmm

    Mr Black, its a death signal for a highly expensive governmental fraud that was conceived and sold as useful and “green” and productive – yet was none of those things.

    If you put up the story that wind power in itself is futile and useless – it is easy to prove wrong, because it has been useful at certain times and in specific applications.

    The story really tells a tale of ideology, politics, government and fraud.

  • thefrollickingmole

    Heres a shocking example of the green hype industry in full swing.

    From the Australian governments own figures on land usage (dated 2009 or thereabouts.)

    Amount of Australian land mass under active conservation/national parks, 6%

    Amount of Australian land mass classed as “built up” including open cut mines, .3%.

    Include another 13% under native title/traditional ownership, and greenie “were destroying the environment” looks like what it is, pure crap.

    Ive never seen these figures used by greenpeace, WWF or any other “concerned” agency, why?

    Might be worth looking at your own countries figures if they are accessible.+

  • Richard Thomas

    Just to be pedantic, a percentage is a fraction. So to the nearest whole number, anything below 50% is zero.

    That was all I was going to say. But to be less pedantic, even something under 0.5% would not necessarily be bad for a new and emerging technology were it being provided by the free market and not massive government subsidy.

  • the other rob

    Up here in the Texas Panhandle, we have both types of wind power: the useful type, small windmills pumping water to cattle troughs and the other type, giant windmills pumping our wealth to crony capitalists.

    Even though T. Boone Pickens abandoned his plans for a giant wind farm up here, after discovering that he would be unable to transmit viable quantities of power to people who wanted to buy it, it’s still very common to be stuck driving behind a slow moving lorry, carrying parts for yet more of the beasts.

    Construction continues on acres of windmills, generating power that, as far as I can tell, goes nowhere.

  • Laird

    Somehow, I doubt that anyone in the Texas panhandle besides the other rob refers to a truck as a “lorry”!

  • the other rob

    Heh! You might be right at that, Laird! 🙂

    Incidentally, Orlowski has a decent piece in The Register, today, looking at two new reports on the economics of wind power: (Link)