Falling to Bits: Turbines or Daily Mail stories?

OK , I promise not to rant about the Daily Mail and wind turbines any more, so this is by way of a swansong.  After the famous burning turbine in the gales, we got, on the 6th January, a couple of broken blades on turbines in Yorkshire. These broken blades, the Mail averred , were ‘sweeping away any remaining allusions that strong winds simply mean more electricity being generated’.  And the Mail added, for good measure, ‘adding to such concerns will be the revelation that wind farms in Scotland were paid nearly £300,000 in the first five days of this year to close down because it was too windy.’ So that’s it. No good, fall to bits, don’t produce any power, have to be shut down when it’s windy.

But then the story (unlike most turbines) started to fall to bits itself in the space of a paragraph.  Later in the piece: ‘In Scotland, the £300,000 payments over the first five days of this year were shared by four turbine operators.  The controversial ‘constraint’ payments were made because they produced more energy than the National Grid could handle and had to be shut down.’  Eh? Run that past me again. So they do produce lots of energy in high winds. It’s the grid and the shape of the energy market that maybe are at fault?

And the Mail were, to be kind, probably just just too baffled to report or include the press release from RenewablesUk on the same day congratulating the Grid for ‘handling the large volume of electricity generated by wind farms over the festive period.’  Indeed, on December 29th wind farms provided a new record of 12.2% of  UK electricity demand.

But all these ‘facts’ seem somehow irrelevant when you’ve got two pictures of a broken turbine blade to feed your  predjuduces.  The person who wrote the piece, by the way, was one Tamara Cohen. It would be interesting to hear whether she did so because she believes it all or because she was told to do so.

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