105 of 119 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2009
John Etherington explains the shortcomings of wind energy with a clarity that cannot be refuted. Only environmentalists of the sickest green hue could find anything to argue with in this book.
The Wind Farm Scam answered all my questions, it laid out in clear, easy to follow tables and charts the reason why we should stop building wind turbines today. Technical details which I have previously found hard to get to grips with were explained in plain language, clarifying the mystery of such things as the national grid and load factors.
If all of our politicians read this book we might at last get a well balanced and realistic policy on energy for the UK. For too long we have been subjected to propaganda from the wind industry trying to convince us that the only way to save the planet is to cover all of our wild uplands with machines reminiscent of H G Wells 'War of the Worlds'
Please read it and come to your own conclusion. The government is advised on energy by the very people who stand to benefit from the subsidies. How can that be right?
67 of 80 people found the following review helpful
on 18 November 2009
Dr Etherington's book explains, at the technical level, what many people know at the level of common sense - that wind power can't possibly save significant levels of CO2, that wind cannot produce reliable base load energy and that wind power is hugely expensive compared with other main forms of energy production. For arguments sake, lets suppose a fleet of wind farms can produce between 10GW (when wind is blowing at its optimum speed) and 0GW of electricity (when the wind is not blowing much at all) - where is the shortfall of electricity going to come from? You've got it, it has to come from dependable power stations which can be cranked up quickly to fill the gap, and the only power stations that can do that are fosil fuel ones. But hang on, what happens to their output when the wind farms are producing their maximum 10 GW? If you down scale the fosil fuel (best being gas) generators which have been built as dedicated back up for wind, then not only are they going to be run incredibly inefficiently, but they are going to operate at a whacking great loss - unless of course they are heavily subsidised by the general public, just like wind farms.
The bottom line is that for every GW of wind energy generated we have to duplicate that investment by building dedicated back up fosil fuel generators which will be run very inefficiently because of the need to constantly ramp them up and down in order to fill the wind energy gap. This will inevitably lead to near zero saving in CO2 emissions and a cost of electricity (remember to add on the billions of pounds required to upgrade the electricity distribution system) which will force millions in the UK into fuel poverty.
If you have swallowed the wind industry and political propoganda that wind energy is the answer to our energy and CO2 problems, then read Dr Etherington's book which I am sure will change your mind.
46 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on 5 October 2009
This is a timely book! The UK government is trying to drive through a massive programme of wind farm construction over the next 10 years - usually in the face of huge, democratically-expressed, local opinion against them. The population at large up till now has been willing to go along with this policy, which threatens to despoil large tracts of our beautiful countryside and cause misery to those who are obliged to live close to the huge new generation of turbines around 400ft in height, because it seems the 'green' and 'noble' thing to be doing. But will this policy actually make a real difference to the UK's carbon emissions? What is its real cost to the consumer? Will this policy prevent the lights going out? Do wind farms actually produce the goods?
In the face of the stream of propaganda from politicians and energy companies telling us how wonderful wind farms are, there has been a lack of authoritative independent advice for those who want to come to a balanced judgement. Now Dr John Etherington, a former editor of the 'Journal of Ecology', has produced this handy 200 page summary of the key issues involved. His conclusions are clear from the title of the book: it is a 'scam'!
What do you think? If you care about the despoilation of our countryside; if you care about the direction of our country's energy policy; if you are threatened with a wind farm development (and make no mistake, they are coming soon to a field near you); then read this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 August 2012
A well-written and persuasive book. It explains wny the UK and Scottish Governments' obsession with wind power is leading to precious landscapes blighted by industrialisation and the transfer of enormous amounts of electricity consumers' money into the hands of wealthy landowners for a very insignificant saving (if any)of carbon dioxide emissions. The Scottish Government in particular should hang its head in shame for what it is doing to Scotland.
39 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on 27 November 2009
For many years I've had this gut feeling that wind power cannot be the salvation to our future energy crisis that it is made out to be, due to its unpredictability as a power source.
I knew I needed facts, and John Etherington provides them in abundance in this fascinating book which, despite the title, is low on hype, simply letting the facts speak for themselves.
Virtually every statement is supported by source literature as noted in the footnotes at the end of each chapter. It must have taken John years to have unearthed so much information - on the inefficiency of Aerogenerators (as he says, they're not turbines); the numbers of birds and bats killed by blades moving at tip speeds of up to 150mph; the huge subsidies paid to companies to build these towers (or they wouldn't be built); the noise nuisance; the need for the building of more thermal backup power stations 'just to be on standby', and much, much more.
Every politician; each and every member of each County's planning committee in England, Wales, Scotland & N. Ireland needs to read this book to understand just a little of the complex delusion which is being foisted on us all. There is more to the story than John has been able to cram into this 190-page book, but it is simply a must-read for anyone who is prepared to step out from the all-encompassing bandwagon of 'Climate Change' hysteria to learn some of the facts for themselves.
'The Wind Farm Scam' provides one of the most concise routes to understanding some of the truths about 'Global Warming', and the current deeply flawed and supremely expensive schemes being used to attempt to address this current challenge. I can't recommend John's book highly enough.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 21 February 2010
There is little to add to the positive reviews about this wonderful little volume except the following: Concerning presentation, literary style, clarity of argument, logical structure, etc., etc. this book is certainly one of the very best I have ever read. It's all straight to the point, no waffle or superfluous information whatsoever. This volume is - in a word - lean!
A must read!!!
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 1 January 2010
Wind turbines are currently thought to be one of the technologies with which we can generate
'clean' electricity. The UK government is planning that by 2020 15% of the total energy used will be generated from renewable sources: with current technology most of this must come from the generation of electricity using wind power. Therefore the plan is to generate 30-40% of UK electricity from wind power; currently (2009) 1.3% of our electricity is from wind turbines and to meet this target more than 4 large wind turbines (4 MW) need to be built each day.
This is a venture into the unknown, so Dr Etherington's book is a much needed, well written, introduction to the problems involved. His central thesis is that wind power on this scale is an expensive option that will not necessarily provide a reliable source of electricity, and may not even reduce carbon dioxide emissions significantly; hence in 2020 we could be in a worse predicament than now.
The first three chapters provide an excellent, brief introduction to wind turbine technology, including a discussion of the problems associated with the vagaries of wind energy. The following seven chapters set about debunking the conventional wisdom that wind turbines provide an important and relatively painless method of carbon-free electricity generation. There are good discussions on landscape degradation, the effects on wild-life, noise, shadow and flicker effects and on property prices.
Of all of these problems perhaps the most important is the effect of intermittent generation on the complicated system that generates and supplies our electricity, which most of us take for granted. It is this, and the relatively low load factors of UK wind energy, about 26%, that makes wind energy expensive.
Climate change issues are rarely reported dispassionately, and this book is no exception, so one is tempted to be sceptical about many of the assertions made, despite the evidence provided. However, there are many current discussions, on the Web, about the Danish and US experience of wind energy and all those that I have seen support Dr Etherington's case; moreover, apart from the official wind energy web sites, I have not seen serious counter arguments against his case. For the UK the 2008 House of Lords report "The Economics of Renewable Energy" suggests that by relying on such a high proportion of wind energy we are moving into unknown territory and, at the very least, electricity costs will be far higher than is otherwise necessary. The implication is that in the absence of a break-through in electricity storage the UK should rely on only a small proportion of wind energy; which is, I think, consistent with Dr Etherington's view.
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a serious discussion of the important problem of the UK energy supply.
33 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on 14 October 2009
Thank goodness for this timely contribution. As a professional engineer and academic I was recently faced with the task of educating myself and fellow villagers on the numerous issues surrounding industrial wind turbines. We needed to rapidly acquire and assimilate the information on turbine capital costs, electrical output, revenue streams, subsidies (including the Alice-in-Wonderland `renewables obligation certificates'), health issues (particularly noise) and claimed contributions to carbon-reduction.
All this was required to counter the `steamroller' tactics of developer and lobby groups, both apparently determined to despoil the new South Downs National Park landscape and (as it transpired) to charge us for the privilege! We spent many weeks collating information, then promulgating to residents and planning authorities and at public inquiry. Dr. Etherington's monograph would have dramatically eased and speeded our learning experience.
Etherington's book will surely come to be recognised as the immediate source of reference for communities such as ours when faced with proposals for industrial wind turbine farms. From painful experience our community now knows that they are indeed a `scam'.
Hopefully `The Wind Farm Scam' will also be required reading for all MPs in the 2010 intake; particularly so for ministers who thus far have failed spectacularly to grasp the scientific and environmental issues which John Etherington so adeptly assembles and analyses.
It is no exaggeration to say that none of our legislators (with the honourable exception of Lord Lawson) has thus far grasped the futility of wind turbine economics. If appropriate early action is taken to modify current policies it would save our nation tens of billions of pounds that we can ill afford - and all this with no harm to the environment!
We all owe Dr. Etherington a debt of gratitude for his timely publication - let us not waste the opportunity to revise our strategy.
Dr. Tony Parker
The Wind Farm Scam
An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming
Scared to Death: From BSE to Global Warming: Why Scares are Costing Us the Earth
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 14 April 2013
As the author is an accomplished ecologist I expected a lot from this book. In line with another reviewer, I expected the writing to be solidly referenced in an authoritative way...not least because of the author's background. So naturally I expected the chapter on landscape degradation and wildlife to be a mine of information and opinion with perfect referencing. What's there is good but it could and should be far better. There are far too many references to newspaper articles throughout which seriously affect my confidence in the text. There are also many quite lightweight (but nevertheless useful) references to planning and legislation which are of limited use to support debate or argument. The engineering information is more detailed than the ecology (strange) and seems from my limited experience to be quite good...however after reading it I have found myself asking the question...could I use this book as the basis for establishing arguments against windpower (by using the information and referencing therein)? My conclusion is no... there is not enough here at the right level to use or build upon. It may be that the author has had limited time or space and needed to lightly challenge the oft repeated statements about how good windpower is, as it does seem to romp through a lot of the pro-wind stuff we often hear. It's a useful introduction to the opposition viewpoint but it is not as good as I wanted it to be.
on 4 April 2013
This was a very accessible case against wind generation. Referenced and citing case study after research paper after real life example it is a relentless deconstruction of every lie told by those seeking to profit from subsidy payments levied against the bill payer.
The section on the generation of electricity allowed me to form the solid foundation to deconstruct recent Scottish Government propaganda surrounding a proposed offshore wind farm in Aberdeen and the rest of the book has opened my eyes to just how destructive these plants have been and will continue to be.