Allister Heath

Is the case for wind power running out of puff?

As regular readers will know I abhor wind power.

It is for a number of reasons…visual pollution, noise pollution, their bird and bat destroying un-green-ness and the fact that wind power doesn’t work unless it is subsidised.

The UK more than most countries has ‘invested’ billions in wind technology, which has proved spectacularly useless at producing power.

UK electricity demand hit its highest level this winter on Monday – while wind turbines generated their lowest output, official figures show.

Cold weather saw UK demand hit 52.54 gigawatts (GW) between 5pm and 5.30pm, according to National Grid.

At the same time, low wind speeds meant the UK’s wind turbines were producing just 573 megawatts of power, enough to meet only one per cent of demand – the lowest of any peak period this winter, Telegraph analysis of official data shows.

Earlier on Monday wind output had dropped even lower, generating just 354 megawatts at 2pm, or 0.75 per cent of Britain’s needs – the lowest seen during any period this winter.

The analysis will fuel concerns that despite receiving billions of pounds in subsidies, Britain’s wind farms cannot be relied upon to keep the lights on when they are needed the most.

Britain now has about 12 GW of wind capacity installed on and offshore – meaning during Monday’s peak demand period, wind farms were generating less than five per cent of their theoretical maximum output.

Gas, coal and nuclear power plants instead provided the vast majority of the UK’s electricity needs.

A spokesman for National Grid said that Britain’s spare margins – the safety buffer between supply and demand – had remained “adequate”.

On average, UK wind farms produce about 28 per cent of their theoretical maximum power output.

But critics warn that cold snaps when demand soars can often coincide with periods when the wind doesn’t blow.

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When old media loses its audience

Again, as it is so often now it surely can’t be a coincidence, news from the UK closely mirrors what is happening in New Zealand.

James Delingpole at Breitbart discusses the problems that are dragging down the Telegraph. Loss of focus on core customers and their wants and needs and following a left wing path to mediocrity…all reducing their readership and value as a result.

If you change out Telegraph for NZ Herald you will realise the same malaise is besetting our biggest paper in NZ.

Speaking as one who spent most of his journalistic career on the Telegraph – I joined in 1988 and worked variously there as an obituarist, diarist on the (defunct) Peterborough column, and arts correspondent – I can’t say this affords me any Schadenfreude. I loved the Telegraph: for at least two decades it was the only paper to which I subscribed because its generally pro-small-government, pro-tradition, pro-personal-responsibility, pro-freedom, pro-country politics aligned most closely with my own.

But I can’t pretend it isn’t good news for the operation here at Breitbart London. And to understand why all you have to do is look at some of the comments below our posts.

Many of them come from disgruntled ex-Telegraph readers, furious at the studiedly centrist direction their paper has taken, yearning for more of the red-meat conservatism and/or libertarianism which these days they can find almost nowhere in the UK mainstream media but which is Breitbart’s raison d’etre.

It wasn’t always this way. And it didn’t need to be this way. Not so long ago, the Telegraph had a secret weapon in the form of the superb, incisive, tell-it-like-it-is blogs section established by Damian Thompson. Thompson’s unspoken ambition – in sly defiance of the print paper’s increasingly centrist stance – was to create a kind of UK online answer to Fox News. To this end, he recruited a roster of some of the finest right-wing commentators in the business which, at various stages, included: Thatcherism’s living conscience Lord Tebbit; MEP Dan Hannan; Toby Young; Douglas Murray; Ed West.

I was on the list too and, for a period, Telegraph blogs was the only place to be. At least it was if you thought that the media desperately needed a counter to the almost overwhelmingly left-wing online narrative provided by HuffPo, Slate, Salon and the Guardian’s Komment Macht Frei. It was, indeed, like the Telegraph used to be in its glory days, only more colloquial, funny, snarky and up-to-the-minute topical. The traffic was huge; and growing. For example, when it helped break the Climategate scandal, its post garnered over 1.5 million hits.

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