Contrary to what Matt Ridley and the Tory commentariat would have us believe, last week’s grid problems were caused not by a lack of wind but an over-reliance on a small number of fossil fuel suppliers
Published in the Guardian 12 November 2015 by Chris Goodall and Mark Lynas
Our green obsession with windmills is bringing Britain’s electricity system to its knees, if Tory press commentators writing about last week’s grid problems are to be believed. In the Times, Matt Ridley demanded an electricity policy “rethink”, blaming the “emergency” on investment in renewables and the fact that “the wind was not blowing on a mild autumn day”.
Over at the Telegraph, in a column headlined “The obsession with global warming will put the lights out all over Britain”, Charles Moore observed that “there was almost no wind” during the day in question, noting without irony in his climate denialist piece that it was nonetheless “very warm for the time of year”.
Not to be outdone, Peter Hitchens thundered in the Mail on Sunday that the “pseudo-scientific dogma” of climate science is turning the UK into the Soviet Union, complete with accompanying (intellectual) gulags, and that because of “warmists armed with windmills” (to quote from the headline) “we came within inches of major power blackouts”.
It all sounds very worrying, and no doubt the rising tide of elite Tory opposition to Britain’s decarbonisation policies will be noted in both Downing Street and by ministers at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. There’s only one problem: it isn’t true.