Opposing wind farms is “irrational”, claimed Liberal Democrat MP Vince Cable at his party conference yesterday.
Actually, no. Here are some reasons why anyone who doesn’t oppose wind farms is most probably either deluded, criminal or insane.
1. Wind turbines kill bats on an industrial scale – nearly 30 million a year in the US alone, according to some estimates. This is somewhat ironic since most of those pushing for more wind are ardent greenies, who presumably understand that the reason bats are such a heavily protected species is that their breeding cycle is so slow and their life cycle so long – making them especially vulnerable when a breeding pair is killed.
2. Wind turbines kill birds on an industrial scale. Between 110 and 330 birds per turbine per year, according to the Spanish conservation charity SEO/Birdlife – though other research puts the mortality rate as high as 895. In the US, they have killed tens of thousands of raptors including golden eagles and America’s national bird, the bald eagle. In Spain, they threaten the Egyptian and Griffon vulture. In Australia, they have driven the Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagle close to extinction. Yet bizarrely wind farms are supported by bird charities including the RSPB, because their ideological commitment to “clean energy” trumps the interests of birds, apparently.
3. Wind turbines produce Low Frequency Noise and infrasound, which can cause those who live nearby a range of health problems including insomnia, raised cortisol levels, headaches, panic attacks, tachycardia, nausea, mood swings, palpitations, depression. The corrupt wind industry has known about this for years. – with the complicity of certain tame acousticians – contrived to cover up the problem, recognising that if ever the word gets into the public domain the lawsuits are going to be immense.
4. Wind turbines have terrible impacts on animals besides birds and bats. They have caused stillbirth and deformations in livestock; they can turn healthy, responsive dogs into nervous wrecks. In Denmark they caused the premature births of 1600 mink at a fur farm. In Canada they caused the closure of an emu farm popular with tourists, because the turbines made the docile birds (which cost $3,000 a pair) aggressive.
5. Wind turbines kill jobs. According to research by Gabriel Calzada Alvarez of the Rey Carlos university in Madrid, they destroy 2.2 jobs in the real economy for every Potemkin job (“green job”) created by government malinvestment. Separate research suggests that the damage in the UK may be even higher: 3.7 real jobs lost for every fake green one created.
6. Wind turbines are like a reverse Robin Hood, lining the pockets of the rent-seeking rich – such as Prime Minister David Cameron’s father-in-law, Sir Reginald Sheffield, Bt, who makes a £1000 a day just for sitting on his arse while the eight turbines on his Leicestershire estate turn idly in the breeze – at the expense of the ordinary energy user. If this were free market capitalism, fine. But it’s not: it’s the exact opposite – crony capitalism in which economic favours are handed out by the market but by government fiat. This is the kind of state-endorsed social injustice of which bloody revolutions are made.
7. Wind turbines – as any rural community which has tried fighting the heavily-rigged planning system will know – are disruptive, divisive and unjust. They turn neighbour against neighbour. They force country folk who really would have preferred to do other things with their lives to expend vast quantities of money, time and energy trying desperately to preserve the character and charm of their neighbourhood by fighting wind projects with all their might. Often – that rigged planning system – they fail. So one local person gets rich, earning perhaps £30,000 a year per turbine on his land. But everyone else suffers in the form of blighted views, reduced property values, noise disturbance etc.
8. Wind turbines are economically pointless. Because the “energy” they produce is unreliable, unpredictable and intermittent (sometimes the wind blows; sometimes it doesn’t; sometimes it blows so hard that the turbines have to be switched off) it has no genuine market value. Electricity users want electricity as and when they need it, not when the wind deigns to blow. That’s why it has to be so heavily subsidised by the taxpayer – because without bribes no developer would risk the capital outlay on something so unproductive. And it’s why wind energy has constantly to be backed up by more conventional power like coal, gas and oil. One 25 hectare fracking site and one medium sized fossil fuel power station can produce the same amount of energy as ALL the wind turbines in Britain.
9. Wind farms are partly responsible for the thousands of people who die every year of fuel poverty. (Plus, of course, all those people who’ve been fatally injured in turbine fires, air crashes, or by flying blades – for full details see here.) This is because, being so disproportionately expensive – between roughly twice and three times the cost of conventional fossil fuel power, depending on whether we’re talking onshore or offshore wind – and being, by government order, a compulsory part of our “energy mix”, they drive up energy to artificially high levels. The carbon saving benefits of wind farms are largely imaginary; the effects on “global warming” marginal to illusory; but the people who actually die each year, unable to afford their rising fuel bills, are very, very real.
10. Wind farms are a blot on the landscape. They just are. And don’t give me any of that “Well I think they’re rather handsome actually” crap. Your warped personal aesthetics ought not to be anyone’s problem but your own.