I\’m sorry Mr. Lean but this is just lying

Certainly the wind industry does not help its case. It should have a lot going for it: wind power produces no carbon dioxide or other pollution.

Onshore wind CO2 production has, over the entire cycle, CO2 emissions around and about the same as hydro and nuclear. Because you need energy to smelt the metals that they\’re made out of (and no, no one is running furnaces from wind or solar, it\’s simply not possible). And you do pour an awful lot of concrete to anchor them into the ground. Concrete being made from cement the production of which is, last time I looked at least, 6% of all man made CO2 emissions.

Wind power produces no CO2 is simply a lie.

Turbines can quickly be removed when no longer wanted, leaving uncontaminated land behind,

And I suspect that that is a lie too. Digging up those concrete foundations isn\’t going to be an easy thing to do…..

And where in buggery did this come from?

And though wind is subsidised, as are all energy sources, it is much less so than fossil fuels: just one fifth as much in Britain, OECD figures indicate.

I\’m sorry, what? Wind, in the UK, receives one fifth of the subsidies that fossil fuel in the UK does? What the hell is this nonsense?

Yes, I\’m well aware that fossil fuels receive large subsidies globally: $100 billion a year in Iran alone recently. But that\’s not the same as subsidy in the UK.

Can anyone track down where this absurdity comes from? Provide a list of fossil fuel subsidies in the UK as against wind subsidies in the UK?

14 thoughts on “I\’m sorry Mr. Lean but this is just lying”

  1. Just do a google image search on “abandoned wind farms” and you’ll see how hard they are to remove.

  2. I assume he’s using the currently popular trick of counting the 5% VAT rate as a subsidy. And then comparing the total ‘subsidy’ for each category with no account for total production.

    Do you expect fair dealings from Lean?

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    What he also does not mention is that there is no obligation on the power company to remove said concrete block at the end of the turbine’s life. They can just leave it there. Which is fine I suppose as it will slowly reabsorb some of that CO2. If you have the patience to wait. However look at this site:


    They admit the base for their turbines will be between 15 and 25 metres in diameter. Say 20. So the surface area is some 1250 square metres. If it goes down into the soil any depth at all, you are talking about a lot of concrete.

    Their plan is for four turbines producing 9.4 MegaWatts. They plan for a capacity factor of 0.3. Which is pathetic, but at least they are honest.

    A nuclear power plant needs just under 200 cubic metres of concrete per Megawatt.

    Which means if those foundations go any depth at all, they are not just using more concrete per megawatt they are using grossly more. So much more concrete that I must have made a mistake somewhere as I figure they will be using over 3,500 cubic metres of concrete per megawatt assuming their foundations only go down two metres.

    I just googled Per Peterson at Berkeley. He has a more reasonable estimate of 850 cubic metres of concrete per megawatt. Still over 4 times as much as he estimates nuclear power uses.

  4. One area that greenies generally ignore when it comes to wind farms is the maintenance overhead.

    Just one example: the distributed nature of wind farms means that more people in CO2 emitting 4 x 4 vehicles are needed to carry out routine maintenance than would be required for a central generating sources, say a nuclear power station.

  5. Said this before, but there’s little point in criticising Lean because he’s in no sense a journalist. Go through any of his submissions & it’s obvious he’s just recycling press handouts from pressure groups. He’s at it again with this one. The usual trick of quoting the results of surveys without identifying who commissioned them.
    Essentially, he’s no different from commentators who pad their comments out with bunches of links. Wish the Telegraph would pay me to do that. I’ve certainly got a much higher recommend ratio than he has.

  6. & at 6 Simon touches on something interesting.
    Trundling up & down Europe a couple of years back, to alleviate the tedium of endless driving I kept note of the number of turbines not turning for any obvious reason. Around 8%. Subsequently, I discovered I wasn’t the only one doing it & others were coming up with similar figures. The is also, apparently, considerable reluctance in the industry to release out of service figures, presumably because if you take them away from the claimed production ability it buggers up the case for their viability.

  7. SMFS (#4), unless they’ve changed it since I was at school, I thought the radius of a circle was pi times the square of the radius.

    So for a 20m diameter (i.e. 10m radius) circle, the area is 314 square metres, not 1,250.

  8. Are you disillusioned by rising electricity prices, over dependence on the “green” dream [especially uneconomical and inefficient wind farms] and the destruction of our countryside then please add your support to get the Government to have a serious debate on this issue at


    or by GOOGLING “E-PETITION 22958” and following the link.

  9. & you’re not allowing for the access roads which’ll use maybe 1/2 m3 per m2 & from some I’ve seen, could account for more concrete than the pads.

  10. So Much For Subtlety

    Richard – “SMFS (#4), unless they’ve changed it since I was at school, I thought the radius of a circle was pi times the square of the radius.

    So for a 20m diameter (i.e. 10m radius) circle, the area is 314 square metres, not 1,250.”

    I knew I had done something wrong. A particularly stupid mistake at that. Thank you for the correction.

  11. This is not just a lie, it is a poisonous lie. North sea petroleum is taxed at an aggregate rate of 75%, and duty makes up over 50% of the pump price of petrol. On what planet are these punitive tax rates viewed as subsidies? Subsidies are cash donations by government and are prevalent in all forms of so-called renewable energy.

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