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Wind Power Is Free, Says Silly Little Telegraph Reporter

August 18, 2018

By Paul Homewood


Today’s offering from the dumbed down Telegraph is from silly little girl called Lucy Mangan:


I’m on holiday in Norfolk at the moment, and was standing on the beach with a friend looking out to sea at the majestic crop of wind turbines on the horizon. He made a noise of disgust and delivered a small rant about giving in to eco warriors. I was reminded why I only see him once every very many holidays.

Because of all the things I don’t understand about enviro-sceptics (and I am not wholly unsympathetic, believing as I do that as with everything else under this – increasingly carcinogenic – sun, there is always at least un peu d’exaggeration on every side) it is the objection to getting stuff for free. Which is, essentially, what renewable energy is. The sea’s there. The sun’s there. The wind’s there. You build some stuff to capture it and – it’s yours. Forever. It just keeps coming.

You don’t have to keep digging it out of the ground, ferrying it about, or finding somewhere to keep your radioactive isotopes. How can you object to this? It’s so clever, so neat, so satisfying. And if you hate nature, you can easily think of it as getting one over on the bugger. Am I missing a step? Or are they?


She is probably referring to Sheringham Shoal wind farm, just off the Norfolk coast. Perhaps she ought to read my post on that wind farm from two years ago:





Dave sent me this piece from the EDP, although he has not found it on line yet. It relates to the Sheringham Shoal wind farm, and gives a useful insight into the offshore market.

Sheringham is owned by Scira Offshore Energy, and is the latter’s sole activity, according to Scira’s Annual Accounts.

Scira is in turn owned by Statoil (40%), Statkraft (40%) and the Green Investment Bank (20%).

The following information can be gleaned from the Accounts, available here.

1) Revenue for 2015 was £140.0 million, and is split:


In other words, more than two thirds of income comes from ROC’s.

The Accounts also state that production last year was 1.17 TWh, so we can calculate unit revenue at £34.71/MWh for sales of power, and £83.90/MWh for the ROC’s, which is the subsidy element eventually passed on to consumers.

2) Profit after tax was £18.9 million, on equity of £447 million, giving a return on capital of 4.2%. However, there are also shareholder loans of £450 million outstanding, on which interest is paid.

It is therefore more sensible to look at profit before interest, which was £52.0 million. As the original capital cost amounted to £1366 million, the overall return last year, including interest, was 3.8%.

Whether they can maintain this level of profit is debatable. Although they say prevailing windspeeds were lower last year, capacity utilisation was up at 42%.

There is also the fact that they are now paying the Climate Change Levy. This could knock another £3 million off profits.

What all of this shows is that offshore wind is still an inherently expensive way of producing electricity.

  1. August 18, 2018 6:11 pm

    Wind is free, but converting it into electricity isn’t and requires subsidies. Which part of that is the reporter struggling with?

    • George Lawson permalink
      August 19, 2018 10:24 am

      Oil and coal are also free until you start to take them out of the ground!

  2. Sheri permalink
    August 18, 2018 6:12 pm

    Amazing how many people fail to understand the difference between “The fuel is free” ( and worth exactly what you pay for it) versus “The energy is generated for free”. Math, science and economically illiterate fools.

    • A C Osborn permalink
      August 18, 2018 9:20 pm

      It is also not “Forever” as they only last 15-20 years and that will include a lot of Maintenance.

  3. August 18, 2018 6:35 pm

    Just imagine what intermittent “free” food would do to the viability of farming.

  4. Joe Public permalink
    August 18, 2018 6:38 pm

    “She is probably referring to Sheringham Shoal wind farm …”

    Wherever you are along Norfolk’s 62 miles of coastline, it’s likely at least one windfarm will spoil the view.

    • Dave Ward permalink
      August 18, 2018 6:51 pm

      And every time I’ve ever looked at them, there is always (at least) one set of blades not turning…

      • Joe Public permalink
        August 18, 2018 10:25 pm

        Driving towards Gt Yarmouth along the Acle Straight, and Scroby Sands wind farm is just to the left of eye-line for many minutes. I can’t recall ever seeing all spinning at once.

      • Sara Hall permalink
        August 19, 2018 12:50 am

        Sailing along the coast of the North Sea from Calais to Kiel last year (and back again), I lost count of the number of offshore turbines that weren’t turning. I’d post videos as evidence, but there’s absolutely nothing useful to see!

  5. Harry Passfield permalink
    August 18, 2018 6:49 pm

    Well done, Paul. I do hope Lucy gets to read this. Even better, I hope she gets some education from it, otherwise that Cambridge education of hers has been wasted.

    (Just a thought: I don’t do Twatter but if anyone does I bet they can point this article in her direction)

  6. Malcolm Bell permalink
    August 18, 2018 6:51 pm

    I think it naughty to be rude about these people, surely we are above “silly little girl”? Such things destroys the strength of our case, implying our pnly weapon is abuse. Trumpism.

    But by her argument that wind is free then so is oil – just drill a hole and up it pops; free. She also hasn’t noticed all the wires dangling round the vountry or all the roads and ships to the windmills.

    Like almost every one else those things are not turbines, look the word up. A turbine is a fan in a tube, a critically important fact. The greens call them
    turbines to sound modern and technical, but the fact is they are wind mills. Admittedly very high tech, but mills no less.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      August 18, 2018 9:01 pm

      They also call them windfarms instead of wind industrial complexes.

  7. August 18, 2018 7:38 pm

    Well, no, Malcolm, I am afraid they are turbines. Mills are used for milling and most windmills mill grain. Admittedly those in the Netherlands pumped water – but then the Dutch didn’t call them windmills, only Max Bygraves.

    • dave permalink
      August 20, 2018 9:12 am

      According to my Little Oxford Dictionary, a turbine is a rotary motor driven by flow of liquid or gas; and is a fanciful and late (1834) coining from the Latin word for whirling. So the things that litter the country-side are properly called wind-turbines when working. Water-wheels on running streams are likewise water-turbines.

      What we call wind-mills are really wind-turbines with a grindstone inside.

      A tube serves for the passage of a fluid, and so a tube with blades inside might be a part of a turbine. It is common in the development of the words of a language for a part to be taken as referring to the whole, but not in this case, I think.

      • dave permalink
        August 20, 2018 10:23 am

        Actually motor is not quite right either, since the whirling things – usually – run backwards, to be generators. The proper term is transducer.

        Technically, they are nothing at the moment since, according to Grid Watch, they are asleep, producing just 0.4% of the UK’s electricity supply.

  8. Broadlands permalink
    August 18, 2018 7:40 pm

    What is so remarkable is this absurd statement:

    “The sea’s there. The sun’s there. The wind’s there. You build some stuff to capture it and – it’s yours. Forever. It just keeps coming.”

    No it is only forever if you NEVER use it. Remember please it’s a fuel designed to replace the fossil fuel that is extracted from the ground. The result is the same… CO2 is added, not buried forever.

  9. August 18, 2018 8:02 pm

    oil, coal, gas, uranium all free…just costs a packet to capture, convert & deliver .

    She says “Am I missing a step?”
    Yes, an education in how life works.

  10. Robert Jones permalink
    August 18, 2018 8:12 pm

    I have taken the Daily Telegraph since God was an apprentice so I am naturally keen to act with due mindfulness, but have you thought of sending your rebuttals to the quoted reporter by name (without sticking yourself irretrievably up her nose) to let her know that there are aspects that she may not to have taken fully into account.

    I have become saddened by the Telegraph’s recent sally into blind AGW but sense that it could become a strong supporter, reminded of the hard facts. Don’t forget, Lucy may harbour ambitions to be a SPAD and then an MP, so timely pump priming could promote reality dividends?

    • Duker permalink
      August 19, 2018 12:25 am

      her wikipedia profile lists her [old] job as TV Critic at the Guardian ! Now she seems to be one of those columnists who jot about events in their life- mainly to connect to a female readership. It seems she went to Cambridge and then ‘qualified as a solicitor’ – left unsaid is what prevented the next step of obtaining a practicing certificate

      • dave permalink
        August 19, 2018 12:22 pm

        ‘…qualified as a solicitor…’

        Her agent says “spent two years training as a solicitor, but left as soon as she qualified…”

        An odd way of putting it. Trying to imply she would have been a solicitor except for some technical last step?

        As a non-law graduate, the usual path would have been two years cramming for preliminary legal exams. She might have done this.

        My guess is that she never did much, if any, actual law work.

    • George Lawson permalink
      August 19, 2018 10:37 am

      The Daily Telegraph these days is a product of the growing press release industry. They publish press releases no matter how stupid the content. It is far cheaper than employing a qualified journalist to research and write sensible articles on the subject of the press release. A recent story for example referred rather stupidly to a whale which had been found dead on the beach, and when it was opened up they purportedly found over 80 pieces of plastic in its stomach. No supporting picture and no way to verify the truth of the article, but it makes a good low cost story.

  11. Green Sand permalink
    August 18, 2018 8:31 pm

    DT again:- Bruce Carnegie-Brown is chairman of Lloyd’s and the insurance industry absolutely loves the premium increases ‘global warming/climate change’ myths bring.

    ‘The heat is on and we must deal with $1.8bn cost of rising temperatures ‘

    “This year the northern hemisphere has been in the grip of a heatwave with large parts of North America, Europe and the UK seeing record temperatures. “

    Absolute bollocks, there is nothing record breaking about temperatures in NH this year.

    • mikewaite permalink
      August 18, 2018 9:57 pm

      If the insurance industry , working in concert, demands greater insurance premiums on a distorted version of historical data is there not a risk of another huge mis-selling compensation crisis. The basis of the current PPI mis-selling compensation action was that finance companies and banks were demanding insurance protection that was not needed.
      If the insurance companies are working together on this then they also risk running foul of the EU competition and anti trust laws surely.
      I would like to think that the penalties for directors found guilty of such behaviour would include imprisonment but I expect that that is too much to hope for.

      • Green Sand permalink
        August 19, 2018 10:05 am

        ‘The $82 Billion Prediction’

        “The Sarasota Herald-Tribune has an revealing article today about the creation in 2006 of a “short-term” hurricane risk prediction from a company called Risk Management Solutions. The Herald-Tribune reports that the prediction was worth $82 billion to the reinsurance industry. It was created in just 4 hours by 4 hurricane experts, none of whom apparently informed of the purposes to which their expertise was to be put…….

        …….Joining them was British climate physicist Mark Saunders, who argued that insurers could use model predictions from his insurance-industry-funded center to increase profits 30 percent…….”

  12. MrGrimNasty permalink
    August 18, 2018 8:58 pm

    “increasingly carcinogenic sun” what? Is that an ozone hole reference or just complete ****?

    You can’t really blame people for falling for the cheap/free renewables line, it’s all they’re ever told by politicians and the media and activists.

    Most people don’t have the time or the inclination to search out more detail. And who can really understand the issues and costs for energy supply and in the energy market? Paul does an immense job trying to shine a light, but it’s far too complicated for most.

    • Broadlands permalink
      August 18, 2018 10:32 pm

      I suspect that the “increasingly carcinogenic sun” is a reference to the putative depletion of ozone by CFCs. Here is another of her misunderstandings. The total column ozone is no lower now than it was in 1957…somewhere near 300 Dobson units. She, like many others has forgottten (or never knew) that ozone rose steadily for 22 years before declining for about five.

      • Athelstan permalink
        August 19, 2018 12:50 am

        ChloroFlouroCarbons another BS climate chimera, sunlight makes Ozone when it’s dark – it doesn’t – simples innit.

  13. Gerry, England permalink
    August 18, 2018 11:58 pm

    ‘I only see him once every very many holidays.’

    Lucky guy, and if he could just escape that once…..

    • dave permalink
      August 19, 2018 10:12 am

      The ENGLISH appalls as much as the content.

      “I only see him once a year every very many holidays.”

      Presumably the vague mess that went through her head was something like this:

      I only see him “once a year,” err, I mean, “every now and again,” err, I mean “not very often,” err, I mean “mainly on holidays,” err, I seem to have typed “many” instead of “mainly.” Phew it ain’t half hot ‘ere! Half a shandy goes to a girl’s head! Hit the “send button.” Somebody will clean it up at the office. I shall go to sleep in the sun…probably risking carcinogenic plague…ha,ha…snooze.

      • dave permalink
        August 19, 2018 11:35 am

        “The ENGLISH appalls…”

        I have just looked her up on the internet.

        Firstly, she is forty-four. Secondly, she comes to us courtesy of The Guardian newspaper. Thirdly – and astonishingly – she has a Cambridge degree in English.

  14. August 19, 2018 12:07 am

    This is very good. All these commentators fathom the fairy tale of “free wind and sunshine” and I learn I am not alone. Wind is free in the same sense that oil is free. Grass, apples, pigs and iron are free: gifts from Mother Nature that need but our intelligence and labour to provide our heart’s desire.

  15. Athelstan permalink
    August 19, 2018 12:46 am

    Lucy Mangan, even if she could find the switch to her brain, she wouldn’t be dangerous but if she and God help us did manage to persuade one person about the benefits of whirlygig birdmincers – then that, certainly would, make mangan dangerous.

    think on Lucy – even if it’s just for a day.

  16. HotScot permalink
    August 19, 2018 12:52 am

    “under this – increasingly carcinogenic – sun”

    Effing stupid, ignorant, ill informed tart.

    Go and read Malcolm Kendricks views on the benefits of sunlight to the human heart. Vitamin D is absolutely vital to our health, not supplements, but 20 minutes a day in sunlight.

    Why is heart disease so rife in Glasgow and the West of Scotland? Nothing to do with deep fried Mars Bars (assuming they’re deep fried in animal fat, not poisonous vegetable oil) and more to do with lack of direct sunlight and the benefits of vitamin D derived thereof.

  17. M E permalink
    August 19, 2018 6:37 am

    It should be obvious that the windmills she saw are manufactured articles from some industrial area and made from materials produced themselves by labour in mining and manufacture.

    . They are brought by sea and land transport to their positions with labour costs They are assembled and set up, using sea vessels , presumably.with labour costs
    They need constant maintenance as they are exposed to the vagaries sea and wind with labour costs. The connections will need to be set up by labour and materials produced by manufacture. as above.

    Putting all this expenditure together the only free component is the wind.

    If we had a slave economy and had the labour for practically nothing except feeding the slaves, we would still need fuel and materials for manufacture and transport. and that would cost , so I don’t think the wind power is free at all.
    I think the article was written in haste to fill column inches at the behest of an editor, and it is of very little merit for that reason.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      August 19, 2018 9:04 am

      And all of that is done with the power/money/leverage of fossil fuels. If you had to build and install the windmills on windmill power alone and power the rest of the country too ……………well it would never happen.

      As per an article linked on GWPF Twitter I think, there has not been an energy transformation to renewables, there has been a [pretty pointless and expensive] small renewables addition!

    • dave permalink
      August 19, 2018 9:21 am

      “…it just keeps coming…”

      Yes, the smug, ineffably stupid, stream-of-conscious rubbish she produces.

      “…increasingly carcinogenic sun…” and the suggestion of a commenter that she is obscurely wittering on about the ozone layer {which absorbs UV-B (but not UV-A)}.

      The amount of total ozone in the atmosphere over Norfolk beaches in Summer is down about 2% compared to fifty years ago. Terrifying!

      Single blistering episodes, rather than steady exposure to sun, is generally thought to be the real carcinogenic trigger.

  18. August 19, 2018 9:55 am

    Here’s an example of ‘free’ wind power – get the EU to pay for most of it.

    Renewable resort: Greek island to run on wind, solar power
    August 19, 2018

  19. Coeur de Lion permalink
    August 19, 2018 10:00 am

    You have to appreciate that she’s a Woman. What else needs to be said?

  20. August 19, 2018 10:02 am

    The “it’s free” claim has become standard, parroted by intelligent people all over the place. The trouble is, these people simply have no understanding of economics, and no desire to examine their own superficial understanding of things.

    Perhaps Ms. Mangan should ask herself why her energy bill is substantially higher than it was before we had all this “free” wind and sun? Surely in her world it should be much lower?

  21. Michael Ioffe permalink
    August 19, 2018 6:23 pm


  22. Michael Ioffe permalink
    August 19, 2018 6:26 pm

    All people on the earth must understand: THEORY THAT GREENHOUSE GASSES ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR CLIMATE CHANGE – is a huge mistake in the science.
    PROPERTIES OF WATER are cooling the atmosphere, despite water vapor is a greenhouse gas. For more details

  23. August 19, 2018 11:52 pm

    She has obviously never heard of EROEI.

    • dave permalink
      August 20, 2018 8:35 am

      ” …never heard of EROEI ”

      She makes me suspicious. It hardly seems possible for a human being, outside of an institution, to be this dumb.

  24. August 20, 2018 12:38 pm

    Most of that free wind has gone missing today.

  25. tom0mason permalink
    August 21, 2018 2:18 am

    A poem that seems to fit Lucy Mangan so well —

    The Glad Child

    This child of curious tendencies
    To your acquaintance add.
    Her smile is permanent, for she’s
    The gladdest of the glad.
    Come battle, famine, flood, or fire,
    The cheery little one
    Accepts it as her heart’s desire,
    And says, “Ain’t we got fun?”

    The joy of living fills her cup;
    Of hope, she’s never rid.
    Imagine how she’d brighten up
    Your household — God Forbid!
    The bitter ills of her fortune send
    She sprinkles smiles galore on;
    It seems to me our little friend
    Is something of a moron.

    But if I had her author’s pelf,
    I’m sure I’d be glad myself.

    ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯Dorothy Parker¯¯¯¯¯¯¯

    Note: The word “pelf” refers to money with a connotation of unprincipled acquisition.


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