I met the man himself last week, in Reading at our Green Park wind turbine – David Cameron was in the ‘hood’ doing local political stuff and asked to have a closer look at our mill – so I showed him round. I’m glad I did.
We talked about the 1,000 homes the turbine can power every year and other bits and pieces, how often it doesn’t work (mere days per year) how much time we spend on maintenance (two days per year), that kind of stuff – a brief exploration of the myths of wind energy I guess. The lack of noise was one thing he remarked on, from the turbine I mean, the M4 is just awful there.
I took him into the machine itself – followed every step of the way by photographers and film crews and I could see he was so very used to that, his face and his body language were always just right (not like mine). This is no criticism just an observation, he’s always on camera after all. Hey maybe I should have had a shave…. Nah.
We talked briefly about the Tories idea to introduce Feed-in Tariffs to the UK – as an answer to the lack of Renewable Energy progress we’re all making. It’s the second time this week I’ve been asked how I think this might work (or not), the Guardian also asked, so I’m going to write a short piece on it – and blog it.
Basically I think it’s the right answer to the wrong question, but more later.
I mentioned (I just had to), more than once but always in context… :-), that planning was actually the only real problem for onshore wind – the only thing standing in the way of us hitting our targets. And I pointed out the anomaly that wind is the only major generating source whose planning decisions are made by District Councils. Oil, Gas, Coal and Nuclear decisions are made elsewhere, with a different outcome.
It’s easy enough to see how wind got to be in that situation, the planning system being designed for bigger concentrations of power before wind came along with its decentralised smaller scale nature – but it’s hard to see why wind has been left in this situation for so long. Except for the fact that it would take guts to change the system in the face of the hysterical NIMBY mob….
Don’t think I made any headway with that one – no politicians in the UK have the guts to tackle it in my opinion, but I don’t stop trying.
On Feed in Tariffs though, I detected an interest in what I had to say. Hope so it would be a bad policy for us all – you can read more on why in this post.
Anyway, nice enough half hour spent with the man that might be our next prime minister. I quite liked him.