13 Dec 2007
Aha! Offshore Wind’s Fatal Flaw.
I picked up a copy of the free paper Metro yesterday. In the light of the recent announcement that the Government plans to expand the amount of offshore wind as part of its half-hearted attempt to assure everyone that business as usual is still possible, the usual tired old rubbish wheeled out against wind power has been aired once again on the radio and in the papers. A letter in Metro however, raised an argument against wind power that I have never come across before. A letter from David Hill of the World Innovation Foundation, ran thus;
Government business secretary John Hutton’s announcement that Britain could have one wind turbine every half mile along the nation’s coastline by 2020 is a terrorist’s dream come true. For, if we are to become so reliant upon this isolated energy generation, there is no way to protect them.
I have since been wracking my brain as to how a terrorist cell might actually set about making any meaningful impact of thousands of wind turbines situated out at sea. They might hijack an airplane and crash it into, at most, 4 turbines, a somewhat pointless exercise. They might attempt to haul a large amount of welding equipment out to sea, with a generator, in order to try and fell a turbine, a pretty momentous task, and one that would presumably be spotted remotely pretty quickly. They could sail out with a boat full of semtex and then sail from turbine to turbine setting explosive charges. Beyond that I am pretty non-plussed as to how even the most dedicated and maniacal terrorist could have any significant impact on thousands of wind turbines located off shore.
I have heard some daft arguments against wind turbines in my time, but I think this is by far the silliest. It is if a terrorist cell decides to target a nuclear power station, or even a coal-fired power station that we need to be extremely worried, as the results could be catastrophic. Surely the terrorist threat is a reason to support wind, not reject it. Or have I missed something here?!
I wonder if the same logic, that decentralised energy systems are somehow an inherent magnet for terrorists, extends to other technologies? Does putting solar panels on the roof make you more or a target for terrorists? Would a wood pellet boiler mean that you could be targetted? If Mr Hill has any specific information, I think we should be told.