Boris Johnson’s wind power plans are a lot of hot air. The UK has emerged as a leader in wind farms, little thanks to Mr Johnson, who described them as “white satanic mills“and”moaning slicers“. “No one seriously believes that wind turbines are the answer to our electricity shortages,” he wrote in 2013. Instead, he recommended nuclear and shale gas. Don’t laugh. The problem is, being the Saudi Arabia of the wind is not easy. Saudi Arabia exports oil. It has a state oil company that operates a lot of it. UK companies do not build most of our wind farms or manufacture the turbines. We are a windy place, yes, but other countries are also windy. Our farms do not yet cover our own homes. Mr Johnson believes the latter point is fixable. “In 10 years, offshore wind will power every home in the country,” he said. “Your kettle, your washing machine, your stove, your heater, your rechargeable electric vehicle – it all.” But that’s not quite how wind power works. The wind is wonderful, but it is irregular, sometimes too strong, sometimes too weak. Saying you will get 100% of your wind power is like saying you will get 100% of your calories from pasta. At least, until there is a way to inexpensively turn excess wind power into hydrogen.
FT 10th Oct 2020 read more »