UK Energy Minister Chris Huhne MP
Like organic vegetables, 'green' energy is a luxury of the metropolitan gullible with more money than sense. The rest of us are quite happy with the old fashioned stuff with tiny residues of healthy, honest pesticides and herbicides and electricity made from coal. This is why I'm astonished that the Conservatives, the party of the free market, is proposing to distort the energy market to the extent of costing us from £300 to £5,000 a year depending on whose figures you use.
It's as if the blessed St Margaret had banned Mothers' Pride back in 1979 and decreed that the nation should eat wholemeal tofu lentil-bread instead.
On a decent July day with a wodge of high-pressure sitting comfortably over the British Isles, each of those two hundred foot high wind turbines with blades the size of 747 wings will produce about enough electricity to boil an egg. To make Sunday lunch for six, you need the combined output of eleven of them. And if you want to get the drill out in the afternoon for some DIY, you'll need to call the National Grid to divert the output of all Wales' turbines to your 13 Amp socket.
Meanwhile, we've barely scratched the seams of our coal reserves. From the earliest Tudor drift-mines to the deep post-war mines, including the entire output that fuelled the Industrial Revolution, drove British industry and powered the world's largest Naval and Merchant shipping fleets, we've mined about 25bn tonnes so far.
Coal in-place, that is coal in seams over two feet thick and less than 4000 feet from the surface, excluding the 25bn tonnes already mined, is estimated to total some 190bn tonnes. Recoverable reserves, that is coal that can economically be mined now using current technology (and Polish labour) is estimated at 45bn tonnes.
Coal is versatile stuff. We can burn it to generate electricity, or pyrolise it in gasification plants to provide an inflammable substitute for natural gas. We can also turn it into diesel and heavy bunker oil for the merchant fleet. We can turn it into Hydrogen to power a new generation of motor vehicles. We can even burn it in our grates to provide attractive space heating and the means of reaching a minimum temperature fire-base on which to incinerate household waste.
So why the hell are we turning England's landscape, the landscape of Housman, Elgar, Malcolm Arnold and Clare, into some garden gnome legoland travesty of hideous excrescences on the skyline? Excrescences that are about as effective as an Afghan drug squad? Have we all gone completely, utterly mad?