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James Delingpole : Going Underground

James Delingpole hardly ever sets his delicate foot in Wales, the country he archaically refers to as “the Principality”, apart from, ooh, about ten days a year when he holidays there, but nonetheless, feels he has some kind of inherited ex-colonial right to be affronted that large electricity generation and transmission infrastructure are going to be built there :-

He gets top marks for being rather offensive himself – achingly rude, in fact, about the Welsh Assembly, besides his getting untethered about the wind farms and pylons for the transmission cables :-

“…The wind farms are bad enough on their own. But to make matters far worse […], in order for these bird-crunching, bat-chomping, view-blighting, rent-seeking monstrosities to be connected to the grid a huge 400kv power line is going to be constructed all the way from Montgomeryshire through some of Britain’s most spectacular scenery to the equally beauteous Shropshire…”

James, James, you really ought to calm down, dear. Your caring State will put up some lovely, smart metal giants, and after a while you won’t notice them any more, honest. You’re never there, anyway, to be able to notice them in the first place. The National Grid so desperately need this new infrastructure to enable the new nuclear power station at Wylfa to get connected efficiently to the UK grid. Yes, that’s right – some of the new transmission cables and pylons are to integrate new nuke power :-

Well, OK, it’s also to cope with the power feeds from new offshore and onshore wind farms as well, but, if you will keep leaving all your lights on at home when you’re out, what do you precisely expect, Britain ? People are not voluntarily changing their behaviour, taking the hint that less is more, so new generating capacity has to be put somewhere. And pseudo-democratic anti-wind farm protest groups don’t convince me, especially if the allegations are true and they’re being financed by a TV personality…We can’t go on relying on Middle East or Norwegian Natural Gas to keep the turbines turning :-

It’s not really much use anarchic farmers taking up their pitchforks, and the master landowners taking to their Land Rangers to protest this – new infrastructure is required, whether the people want it or not.

It’s all been in the public domain for years – start with the ENSG “vision” and TAR reports – so it’s a bit rich stirring up public sentiment against it now :-

If we continue to pump carbon dioxide emissions into the air, the precious landscapes will suffer irreversible Climate Change – just look at the South East of England this Spring and imagine the same kind of drought in lovely Wales. It would rapidly turn James Delingpole’s holiday horizon into a bleak post-agricultural dustbowl wasteland.

We have to go low carbon, and we have to choose wisely, and spread the benefits and deficits as fairly and as logically as possible. This is what the experts and engineers have been planning for a while now. If the various anti-wind farm campaigns could come up with something credible as an alternative, we should hear it; but simply shouting “no” and waving a few placards doesn’t cut it as rational.

Yes, yes, I agree, the new transmission cables should go underground, and it should be done properly first time. The new cables should be laid into chambers that have capacity to take new cables as time goes by – as more power comes on-stream from the sea, from Ireland and Scotland.

I suppose the alternative is that Wales could fully devolve and instead of permitting massive “industrialisation” of the landscape, in order to sell the power to England, they could build local, resilient grids for themselves. They might find they produce way too much juice, and still be looking for an export market, but they’d be lucky if they could sell power to Ireland, where the economy might just fall through a hole in the road.

On the other hand, if the economy in Ireland recovers after the “austerity measures” that have deliberately impoverished the country, then Ireland would be building their own wind farms on their West coast and could sell the power to Wales.

So Delingpole could keep his pristine camping horizon, but he’d need to bolster Ireland’s economy somehow, or incite Wales into declaring full independence, including energy independence, from England.

And if he really, really wants England’s economy to completely crumble, he might want to persuade Scotland to go it alone, too. They’ve got oodles of electrical generation already, and more from renewables will mean they could win back the wealth they lost from giving away the North Sea oil and gas to England.

What’s it to be, James ? Continued enslavement to multinational oil and gas companies ? Or energy security and a strengthening of the Union in the Kingdom ?

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