The anti-wind Blobby

Posted by Graham Thompson — 17 June 2013 at 4:49pm - Comments
One of John Constable's colleagues
All rights reserved. Credit: unknown
One of John Constable's colleagues

The Telegraph is yet again trying to pretend that Noel Edmonds’ anti-wind lobby, the cosmically ordered Renewable Energy Foundation, is a reliable source of data. In case you don’t remember, this is the organisation which produces nonsensical made-up ‘reports’ attacking wind power, whilst claiming on their home page to be in the business of promoting renewable energy.<--break->

It's an organisation whose very name is an obvious lie. And this is the source of the Telegraph’s latest big anti-wind scare. A new report from the REF. Here we go again.

Please do click on the links. I wouldn’t believe this stuff without checking first.

The latest REF ‘report’ comes from the same author as their last ‘report’, their director John Constable.

The last 'report', published last month and debunked here, here, and here, claimed that the big problem with wind power was that it created too many jobs, and this would drag living standards in the UK back to ‘the pre-coal era’.

Unbelievable? You ain’t seen nothing yet. Buckle up, because things are going to get a lot less credible from here on in.

Just to establish that last month’s REF paper really was that daft - and I’m not just making stuff up here - the Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc) responded to that ‘report’ by saying they did not recognise the numbers Constable used, that he had failed to factor in efficiency gains, and that all those green jobs would bring prosperity. 

This is how the REF responded to that last argument:

Finally, DECC argues that increasing numbers of jobs in the green energy sector will bring prosperity. However, it is precisely this assumption that the paper tackles head on. No one doubts that subsidised green energy will employ very large numbers of people. But this simply tells us that renewables are a low productivity sector; high employment indicates that the energy is expensive to produce, and that wages will be low.

Check it out, it’s real, and it’s here.

So they really are saying that that renewables, the sector they exist to promote, creates too many jobs, and so is a bad thing.

But perhaps there is something to this argument. Perhaps it isn’t as stark-staring bonkers as it sounds.

No there isn’t, and yes it is.

I know this, because ‘report’ author John Constable told me so, in his new ‘report’, published this month, just one month after the last one. It says, according to the Telegraph, that the problem with wind energy is that it doesn’t create enough jobs.

That’s what the Telegraph claims it says. I haven’t actually seen the new ‘report’, and I sorely doubt that I’ll be feeling inclined to read it when I do, so I’ll just quote the Telegraph’s editorial:

The wind-power industry is expensive, passes costs on to the consumer and does not create many jobs ... And what is the benefit of all this expense? In terms of jobs, disappointingly little ... That is worrying because – aside from concerns about the damage to our countryside – our report shows that this industry is expensive, passes costs on to the consumer and does not create many jobs in return.

Presuming the Telegraph’s interpretation of the new report is somewhere close to representative (and I think we can all agree that such a  venerable, respectable paper would never deliberately mislead their readers), we have the very same chap, the director of an allegedly pro-renewable ‘think tank’, issuing a report in May 2013 claiming that wind energy is bad because it creates too many jobs, and issuing a report in June 2013 claiming that wind energy is bad because it creates too few jobs.

And the Telegraph splashes with both of them.

I don’t know how to respond to this. I feel as though I should be flinging a few choice insults about, but this has rather shaken me. 

The UK’s only remaining broadsheet newspaper has enthusiastically endorsed two ‘reports’, published a month apart, both from the director of the same organisation, saying the exact opposite of each other.

But they both attack the wind industry, so let’s publish and be damned.



To clarify, Noel Edmonds was the founding chairman of the REF, but resigned in 2010. 

Follow Greenpeace UK