For the last 25 years governments around the world have pumped hundreds of millions of dollars in tax incentives and subsidy into wind "farms" and about 30,000 wind turbines have been built. Their installed capacity is 8,000MW, but because of the intermittency of wind-dependent generation their combined average output is about 2,000MW - the equivalent of just one medium-sized gas power station. The early players in the field like California have more or less abandoned the idea of wind power.
Why, therefore, does Michael Meacher, the Environment minister, have such an attachment to wind turbines? Could it be that to do something really effective to tackle the emission of so-called greenhouse gases - draconian restrictions on motor traffic and heavy pollution taxation - would be economically and politically costly? Turbines, however, being 300ft high, make a highly visible "green" gesture while opinion polls show that, except in the communities where they are built, they have reasonably wide public support.
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