Eco madness: a case study

One of the few watchable TV programmes – for me – is Grand Designs, with the appropriately sardonic Kevin McCloud. The usual scenario is the faintly smug and inexplicably rich (“it was only £750,000) couple in their forties, building/renovating their unique dream home.

Here comes the eco couple: mostly DIY, concrete floors, breeze blocky walls, no central heating, lots of glass and insulation, colossal rainwater storage tank, wooden bath etc etc. You get the picture. Then the tense bit, their wind turbine needs planning permission, the neighbours object, the council meet (there’s no way they’re going to turn it down on TV), permission granted, tears of joy!

So up goes this massive turbine, and it’s not one of the pretty ones. It looks like a mobile phone mast. We’re probably subsidising it (thanks in part to the now defunct Chris Huhne). Lots of clean electricity, and so on.

Except….Kevin comes back months later: admires the awful black home made work surface, the industrial aluminium roof, the admittedly nice curved doorway…but there’s a hitch.

The turbine doesn’t produce electricity. It moves, yes. It’s hideous, undoubtedly. The neighbours are still upset. It’s noisy. But no electricity to speak of.

Which is exactly what numerous climate sceptics have said for years: these ugly expensive monsters, paid for at OUR expense, are actually shit at producing electricity. They’re token gestures, and someone’s making money out of them.

It’s nice to be right sometimes.


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