turbineStrictly for the birds

SPECTACULARLY POOR RETURNS

Newly released numbers from Germany, collected and analysed over several years, show what disappointed investors have long surmised: around half of wind parks are doing so poorly, investors will be lucky to get their initial investment back after the 20 years.

Investments in renewable energy that were supposed to deliver annual returns of up to 20% have been averaging around 2.25%. German renewable energy firm Prokon is in fact insolvent, and fears are mounting that Merkel’s green energy promise will never be able to meet expectations. In courts around the country, complaints are mounting from wind park investors who haven’t received a dividend disbursement in years, or whose parks went belly up.

While the results are predictable (poor generation levels and high maintenance costs have been a fact of wind-power for decades) they are a triumph for those observers who said Merkel must be mad to promise ditching nuclear in favour of Green. And they leave Britain’s massive investment in wind turbines looking very sick indeed.

In Ireland too, wind  power is a central plank of energy policy: but a rural revolt, with local protest groups uniting through social media, is out to stop it. The Green claim is that Ireland will export power to Britain, but here too experts ridicule the objective. Turbines up to 180m (590ft) tall – half the height of the Empire State Building – are cropping up as part of a drive to meet EU green energy targets and generate 40% of Ireland’s electricity from wind.

More than 100 opposition groups have sprung up against new wind farms – all in rural areas – claiming the turbines will ruin the landscape, with noise and shadows blighting homes nearby. But reality is, it seems, finally setting in: wind power simply isn’t commercially viable.

We’ve got so much of it in Britain thanks to the clueless environmentalism of Ed Miliband. Researchers in Scotland have found a way to burn our abundance of coal almost pollution free…but the Government has abandoned it. Owen Paterson is investing in even more offshore wind power – the worst commercial model of the lot. And whose targets are we trying to reach? Why, those of the EU. Naturally.

Professional politicians these people might be, but in every other walk of life they are rank amateurs.

Last night at The Slog: Signs that we live in funny times