Friday, October 30, 2020
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Boris the blowhard

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BORIS Johnson’s assertion that we can have every British home running on offshore wind-powered electricity by 2030 has generally been dismissed as bonkers

Even Zion Lights, a former spokesman for Extinction Rebellion, believes he’s talking a load of overblown guff – although she puts it rather more politely

She says data company Aurora Energy Research has calculated that to reach Johnson’s target of generating 40 gigawatts by 2030, one new wind turbine will have to be installed around Britain every weekday for the entire 2020s – at a cost of some £50billion in capital investment. 

So we’ll gloss over the Prime Minister’s ridiculous claim in his Conservative conference speech about Britain becoming the ‘Saudi Arabia’ of wind power.

Then there’s his equally fatuous waffle about: ‘Your kettle, your washing machine, your cooker, your heating, your plug-in electric vehicle: The whole lot of them will get their juice cleanly and without guilt from the breezes that blow around these islands.’

Well, I for one can’t wait to make a guilt-free cuppa.

It’s when Johnson gets to his compulsory flight of historical rhetoric that he’s really talking nonsense. ‘It was offshore wind that puffed the sails of Drake and Raleigh and Nelson, and propelled this country to commercial greatness,’ he tells us.

Well, yes, up to a point. But what the Prime Minister didn’t mention is that the ships of all those great English sea heroes became becalmed when the wind didn’t blow.

In battle, this could leave them sitting ducks for the enemy. The only options were to sit it out and wait for a breeze, or launch the rowing boats and use muscle power to try to tow the ship to a windier location.

So it is with wind turbines. The clue is in the name – they produce electricity only when the wind blows. Once those whooshing, bird-mincing blades aren’t whizzing round, they’re as useless as a becalmed ship.

Let’s hope that before the kettles won’t boil, the washing machines won’t wash, the cookers won’t cook, the heaters won’t heat and the electric cars stand useless on our driveways for want of guilt-free power that Johnson changes tack.

Zion Lights, now director of Environmental Progress UK, says nuclear power is the only hope of safeguarding our future energy supply.

Why can’t that obvious, urgent message get through to the increasingly woke and woeful Johnson? Okay, there might be a place for wind power in Britain’s generation strategy. To rely on it to the extent he’s suggesting is simply unrealistic.

Someone had better get the rowing boats out and tow our Prime Minister to sanity on this issue before we all end up on the rocks.

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Henry Getley
Henry Getley is a freelance journalist.

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