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Matthew Parris Is Blowing In The Wind

January 15, 2020

By Paul Homewood


The grossly overrated journalist Matthew Parris has this piece in The Times today:




Well, Matthew, here are the actual facts, of which you seem oblivious.

The latest official figures show wind power contributing just 17% of annual generation.

There are naturally times when, as you say, wind power is supplying much more than this. But, equally, there are other times when it is supplying much less. (I presume you know what averages are?)

Just within the last month, wind output has fluctuated between below 5GW to above 10GW:



And when the wind does not blow, guess what happens then Mr Parris?

That’s right – gas power has to be ramped up!

Perhaps you might explain what we are all supposed to do when fossil fuels are banned, in your utopian green future?


You then go on to talk about wind power being expensive. I presume you are not aware that subsidies for renewable energy, primarily wind power, will cost £12.5 bn this year. That’s about £460 for every home in the country. Now that’s what I would call expensive, although maybe that’s pocket money for you.




As for your use of the stupid term mansplaining, I would suggest that most women would understand just as well as men that wind power is an utterly ridiculous way of supplying the nation’s energy.

One final question – do you actually get paid for writing nonsense like this?




Sorry for the confusion over the numbers, but it is £12.5bn (I missed the billion off!)

The number excludes £0.4bn for Warm Homes Discount from the table, as this is a subsidy for low earners and has nothing to do with renewables.

It also includes £1.1bn for RHI, which is excluded from the Environmental Levy total of £11.8bn because it is exchequer funded rather than added to energy bills.

  1. swan101 permalink
    January 15, 2020 10:37 pm

    Reblogged this on ECO-ENERGY DATABASE.

  2. Graeme No.3 permalink
    January 15, 2020 10:37 pm

    “You then go on to talk about wind power being expensive” I assume you meant to write INexpensive as the Greens always claim.

  3. Joe Public permalink
    January 15, 2020 10:39 pm

    If Parris can cherry-pick a date and time, so can we.

    Note that the generation sources of which the Greens approve, contributed just 8% towards demand!

    • Gerry, England permalink
      January 16, 2020 1:46 pm

      And how much of the import is coal power from the Netherlands I wonder.

    • January 16, 2020 6:03 pm

      I did something similar for the last month at 7pm each day. Wind contributed between 1.22% and 34.65% of our electricity but never seemed to reach its capacity. Coal powered generators provided between 2.15% and 9.43% and gas between 19.71% and 53.01%. At the time of greatest demand (25th December) wind was only able to provide 1.22%. (Data from

      • January 16, 2020 6:07 pm

        Sorry. Day of greatest demand was 17th December when wind managed to contribute 5.35%. 25th December was the day of least demand when wind contributed 1.22 %.

  4. January 15, 2020 10:40 pm

    “subsidies for renewable energy, primarily wind power, will cost £12.5 this year. That’s about £460 for every home” – I think you have omitted a word after the £12.5 – is it million?

  5. Fintan Ryan permalink
    January 15, 2020 10:44 pm

    Great stuff PAUL. I presume you were angry and hurried but you have some typo as regards expensive and amounts of money. I love your pieces, Best regards, Fintan Ryan

    Sent from my iPad


    • January 16, 2020 9:36 am

      Yes, it was a rush!

      The comment about expensive referred to his claim about what elderly males were predicting.

      • David A permalink
        January 17, 2020 5:13 am

        Paul, has anyone computed, WAG or otherwise, how much more conventional fossil fuel generation sources must charge to ramp up or down, ( thus losing revenue and adding to labor costs) when they are required to follow wind as an always secondary source?? My WAG is that fossil fuel generators must charge 20 to 30 PERCENT MORE then they would need to, if they could spin base load at will. This is a very large wind or solar subsidy, although rarely added to the numbers.

  6. Jackington permalink
    January 15, 2020 10:52 pm

    What a plonker! I suggest he arranges an interview with Dieter Helm to save himself from further embarrassment.

  7. Thomas Carr permalink
    January 15, 2020 10:54 pm

    Thank you , Joe Public. Who is sending this info to Mattlew Parris on a regular basis.? A one-off is not enough. He must be shown monthly accumulative figures at least. Just give him the facts and cut out the comment on his failings as it shows us to be childish and diminishes the impact of what we are saying.

    • Man at the Back permalink
      January 16, 2020 8:32 am

      He is a journo Thomas. Finding his own data is what he should be doing. He shouldn’t need us sending him info. But like many of his ilk he just takes the greenies handout of BS.

      I don’t personally see any problem with mildly pointing out his failings.

    • styleyd permalink
      January 16, 2020 9:05 am

      For January 2020 accumulative National Grid Wind Power is actually leading Gas (CCGT)… but there is a very strong 1040mb high forecast to sit over the UK for a week or so in a few days time. Wind power will be negligible during those days (as will Solar with the low sun)

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        January 20, 2020 12:47 am

        But curtailment subsidies are already at £21.8 million as at the 18th of the month. And the subsidies for wind production will be substantially more.

  8. January 15, 2020 11:09 pm

    The green energy companies should bare some responsibility for the costs of hydro. It is all about money

  9. LeedsChris permalink
    January 15, 2020 11:11 pm

    The other point is that each and every day it is gas that enables electricity supply to ramp up as we all get up in the morning and the day of work starts. No renewable source can do this.

  10. Mike O permalink
    January 15, 2020 11:42 pm

    I am an Australian researcher of the performance of generators on the eastern grid in Australia. It is very long the longest in the world starts up in Queensland goes down to Tasmania with an excursion to South Australia. Here we have a government body called the Australian Energy Market Operator, AEMO for short. They have a very valuable resource, it is public data of our entire dispatched energy to the grid every five minutes. So from it one can know what a particular generator dispatched in the first five minutes of any particular day. Okay this is about wind, comparatively speaking we have a very large installation for wind. If you look at the plate capacity near 7 GW but in 2019 wind dispatched 8.3% of our total which is over 200 TW hours. Worse than that it is not at all stable it varies from 0 to 82% of its plate capacity. Other forms of renewable energy are also of interest. Hydro decreased by 1.5%, wind increased by 1.3%, solar stations on the grid increased by 1% and rooftop solar that is private homes increased by 2.4%. Maybe that increase is true but my concern is it is an estimate. We still have 76% of our energy coming from fossil fuels. The activists are constantly pressing to close that immediately. There was quite a jump in renewables in 2019 of 4% quite a bit of which was rooftop. This will get harder and harder but even if this is not the case renewables would displace fossil energy in 20 years. But we would be left with something that various usually day by day or should I say minute by minute. In 2017 all of wind in Australia on the eastern grid stopped, not for long but it did stop. Australia is a fairly large place wind turbines operating then were in an area of 2 1/4 million square kilometres and had a plate capacity of 4 GW. We will never be able to rely on wind and solar on their own. Wind costs $250 million per hundred megawatts to that you need to add a large battery for the switchover to natural gas and then you need a natural gas power station of the same capacity it stops does it not. Of course this is going to be cheaper and by the way my other leg has bells on it.

  11. John189 permalink
    January 15, 2020 11:42 pm

    Despite having studied at both Cambridge and Yale Mr Parris does not seem to grasp the fact that wind generation constantly varies with…well, the wind. His tone is peevish and his content utterly inconsequential. Back in the world of realities I am not just concerned about wind variability, but also apprehensive for the future stabilty of the Grid as we shift towards more wind/solar.

  12. Mike Stoddart permalink
    January 15, 2020 11:51 pm

    Parris is arrogance personified.

    But should it be £12.5 billion?

    And I can’t see how that figure is derived from the table below.

    • January 16, 2020 9:40 am

      Yes, it’s billion.

      The figure excludes £0.4 bn for warm homes discount, which is a subsidy for low earners, so nothing to do with renewable subsidies.

      It also includes £1.1bn for RHI, which is excequer funded, so kept out of the Environmental Levies total.

      I’ll add an explanatory note

  13. john cooknell permalink
    January 16, 2020 12:01 am

    I was involved with renewable energy back in the 70’s when Arab – Israel war was threatening long term oil production.

    We never got wind to work reliably (why would you) too intermittent, too many problems.

    We got our wave thing to work OK, but the next Government cancelled it!

  14. January 16, 2020 3:04 am

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  15. January 16, 2020 3:58 am

    An analysis of electricity prices in Europe show that wind and solar power is 9.2 times of that from other sources. See the money graph

    An article explaining the graph is at

    Here I copy a part of the article:
    The cost of other sources of electricity that is not used for solar and wind backup is much less expensive than the electricity used for backup of solar and wind power. Backup power is usually provided by natural gas fired power plants. Combined cycle natural gas power plants can operate at about 55% efficiency when running near continuously. New “H class” gas turbines with a triple pressure heat recovery steam generators can run at 60% efficiency. However, if these plants are forced to provide backup power and are cycled off and on, the changing temperatures of the power equipment cause significantly increased maintenance costs. Instead, simple cycle (also called open cycle) natural gas plants are commonly used as backup, but their efficiency is only around 35% (a range of 32% to 38%). A 35% efficient single cycle gas plant uses 57% more fuel (and emits 57% more CO2) than a 55% efficient combined cycle gas plant producing the same electrical output, calculated as 55%/35% -1.

  16. January 16, 2020 6:35 am

    “… Not so long ago we were harrumphed by (mostly) elderly males, mansplaining the wind doesn’t blow all the time (gosh really) …”.
    There’s that favourite alarmist ‘nosism’ again: ‘nosism, from the Latin nos, “we”, is the practice of using the pronoun “we” to refer to oneself when expressing a personal opinion’ (Wiki).
    Not being a Times subscriber I’d like to know what Matthew (age 70) goes on to mansplain what his solution to the acknowledged intermittency of wind energy is.

    • January 16, 2020 6:40 am

      Sorry for the mangled syntax:
      Not being a Times subscriber I’d like to know how Matthew (age 70) goes on to mansplain his solution to the acknowledged intermittency of wind energy is.

  17. January 16, 2020 6:46 am

    Unfortunately Parris (two r’s – careful how you say that) also gets paid by the Spectator for writing a weekly column. For the last year or so he has been railing against Brexit, how wonderful the EU is and what a mistake it was to let the common and ignorant people have a say in the future of the country. I expect that from now on he will be using his scientific and engineering expertise to inform us all about climate change and the wonderful and cheap renewable energy schemes ready to “tackle (or combat) climate change”.

    • Gas Geezer permalink
      January 16, 2020 10:31 pm

      I can’t imagine any Spectator subscribers read his column , I’ve always skipped it ,the best column is Jeremy Clarke’s Low Life.

  18. angryscotonfragglerock permalink
    January 16, 2020 7:58 am

    He has single-handedly coined a new word – heterophobia 🤣! He was a pathetic MP and is a worse journalist. I do get fed up with these small-brained worms having broadsheet space to put forward their idiotic thoughts.

    Talking of idiots, Attenborough is headlining the usual propaganda on the BBC today bleating about all the ice in Greenland melting.

    • January 16, 2020 8:47 am

      Atten_bore loves to get on the air. What was that Parris said about elderly males?

  19. MrGrimNasty permalink
    January 16, 2020 8:25 am

    Having, over the last year, ramped up the hysteria and mobilised the child armies for the glorious supra-national eco-fascist socialist revolution, the BBC announces the final push.

    BBCR5Live is at it again this morning – relentless off the scale delusional climate propaganda BS (Global travel by electric airplanes, wildlife saved by windmills, meat is evil – world to be saved by veg., Glasgow to be carbon neutral by 2030,…..)

    • angryscotonfragglerock permalink
      January 16, 2020 9:03 am

      But Scots, and Glaswegians in particular, are well known non- vegetable eaters 😂😂😂😂

  20. January 16, 2020 8:34 am

    He needs to also explain that 34% is getting very near to the point where lack of inertia causes instability and system blackouts, which because of that very lack of inertia are not easy to restart. Sounds a good blueprint for a prosperous Britain! But Parish will presumably just ge5 on a plane to somewhere the lights are still on!

  21. Davy permalink
    January 16, 2020 8:35 am

    Last week Mathew…


  22. Crowcatcher permalink
    January 16, 2020 8:39 am

    Very noticeable that Addledborough has started his nonsense again today – absolutely loved by Aunty of course!
    I always have a question ready for alarmist “What evidence do you have that 2C above 1850’s that is in any way a disadvantage to our world?, because I have (at least) 550 million year’s evidence that warmer is better”
    That shuts them up.

  23. Sensescaper permalink
    January 16, 2020 8:40 am

    This is a great pity, as in the past Parris has actually had some useful things to say and highlighted the plight of people on low incomes during the early years of the Thatcher government. It seems though today, as if there is a divide coming – where you must be on the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ side of any debate by virtue of use of the right ‘terminology’ (and don’t even get me going about ‘mansplaining’) or stance – rather than employing data, facts, and other grounded input in order to structure a discussion and come out with a fair outcome. This is not liberating – it’s controlling – and I’m disappointed that Parris is now on this bandwagon. For what it is worth – I have shared some of the posts of this forum in groups where we are all supposed to be ‘liberated’ and ‘inclusive of all perspectives’ – only to find myself demonised and ridiculed. Oddly though – as a terribly ‘untrendy’ ageing white heterosexual male – it only serves to make my resolve stronger.

  24. Coeur de Lion permalink
    January 16, 2020 9:02 am

    I don’t suppose Matthew looks at much so will not have noticed that vile detested coal ramps up with wind as grid operators worry about the lack of grid inertia in wind – hence the recent blackout caused by the drop off of the Hornsby offshore wind farm where 1 GWh is costing you and me £158 while market price is about £55.

    • David Ashton permalink
      January 16, 2020 2:34 pm

      Good comment, but it is £155/MWh

      • David Ashton permalink
        January 16, 2020 2:36 pm

        Sorry, £158/MWh

  25. January 16, 2020 9:18 am

    The question is not how much wind power was produced last Saturday, but how much will be produced next Saturday and the Saturday after that.

    If Parris was running a factory on wind, it would not perform well compared to the adjacent factory powered by gas. No need for any mansplaining.

  26. January 16, 2020 9:49 am

    Not long to go to see if my prediction comes true, though we still have February to weather.

  27. Roy permalink
    January 16, 2020 10:40 am

    Paul’s response to the article should be given the same exposure as the original in order for Times subscribers to form their own opinion.

    It won’t and never will, therein lies the problem

  28. 2hmp permalink
    January 16, 2020 11:45 am

    Matthew Parris really does appear to have lot his marbles. How many windturbines had to be shut down during storm Brendan ?

    • Sensescaper permalink
      January 16, 2020 5:02 pm

      Given the ideal max (steady) wind speed required for optimum generation is 30mph, and that the turbines will be damaged over 50mph – a fair number – especially in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Be good to see this data shared transparently with the general public – as this will allow people to get the full picture and understand over a quarter – how much wind really does contribute. I’m not going to hold my breath mind…

  29. A C Osborn permalink
    January 16, 2020 12:33 pm

    Paul, can you correct the spelling of Parris in the headline please?

  30. January 16, 2020 6:35 pm

    Perhaps even Parris could understand this simple parable (not mine): You engage a milkman to deliver 2 pints a day. He delivers 2 on Sunday, none on Monday, 1 on Tuesday, 3 on Wednesday, 1 on Thursday, 3 on Friday, and 4 on Saturday. Job done, you have had your weekly ration of 14 pints. An average of 2 pints a day.
    To date windfarms in Scotland have been paid nearly £650,000,000 to switch off because they’re generating too much. Like the milkman, they give us too much or too little and occasionally just right. What we need is electricity available 24/7 for when we need it.

  31. Paul Taylor permalink
    January 16, 2020 8:16 pm

    Are you missing a billion here Paul? .”I presume you are not aware that subsidies for renewable energy, primarily wind power, will cost £12.5 this year”

    Paul Taylor Customerwise Ltd e: t: 01392 984224 m: 07812 043645


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