Thursday, March 22, 2012

the great wind fallacy

The world has progressed and prospered through time on the basis of the development of cheap, accessible energy.  To replace existing power sources, any new energy will have to be similarly both cheap and accessible, something existing supposedly "green" candidates are not.

As Matt Ridley aptly summarizes, the situation with wind power is that the option is both ineffective, inefficient and irrelevant:
  • To the nearest whole number, the percentage of the world's energy that comes from wind turbines today is: zero. Despite the regressive subsidy (pushing pensioners into fuel poverty while improving the wine cellars of grand estates), despite tearing rural communities apart, killing jobs, despoiling views, erecting pylons, felling forests, killing bats and eagles, causing industrial accidents, clogging motorways, polluting lakes in Inner Mongolia with the toxic and radioactive tailings from refining neodymium, a ton of which is in the average turbine - despite all this, the total energy generated each day by wind has yet to reach half a per cent worldwide. 
Too often, contemporary environmentalism fails to acknowledge that nothing is sustainable if there is a failure to fully integrate the economics of life with both its social and environmental imperatives.  There is no prospect for a future energy policy premised on a culture of poverty.  Poverty is the default condition of the world. It does not need to be created: it is.  Wealth has to be created.  Prosperity takes development in all its manifestations: social, cultural, environmental and economic.  There is a world of difference between efficiency of resource use and wise use of the environment implicit within the construct of sustainability, and the deprivation and pious imposition of censure and the morally induced poverty emblematic of contemporary environmental ideology.