Renewable Energy Foundation - Under Attack

The Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) is in the pocket of no-one.

Not the government, industry,academia or the media.

They provide expert, rigorously researched data to anyone who wishes to have it. No obfuscation. No spin. Just solid data with an expert commentary and opinion which is based firmly on that data.

They report on all forms of renewable energy. Their funding comes from a number of sources, some industrial, some not. But nobody calls the shots.

Their research has led them to be heavily critical of on-shore wind generation and particularly the Klondike style gold-rush to install ineffective and intermittent on-shore wind turbines in ever more inappropriate and damaging locations.

This though, obviously does not sit well with the companies and "trade associations" that have much to lose from the REF's stance. Then of course we have the wind lobby's unthinking and unquestioning admirers in the media.

Take this Leo Hickman Guardian Environment Blog Entry. Dear Leo is apparently an unblinking fan of Wind Turbines. While the latter part of his Guardian article is a reasonable exchange between him and a REF spokesperson the front end is full of innuendo and supposition. If you read it, get past the blinkered opinionated front end with its veiled character assassinations. Then read the exchange with blinkers removed.

Interestingly, the front end of Leo's blog entry presents unchallenged criticism of REF from the likes of the quaintly named British Wind Energy Association ( now more fashionably renamed "Renewables UK" ) But Leo fails to mention that this is not just a supporters group, it is actually the so-called "trade association" for the wind industry.

Some call it a trade association, personally I would call it a cartel.

This is the same organisation whose members routinely refuse to release wind data and noise data to council planning departments. Let alone concerned individuals.

Unlike the REF there is no transparency, no openness. The data is secret. Unless that is, you are prepared to risk everything by taking them to the high court like good old Mike Hulme did ( See this Post )

The attitude and tactics of the Wind Turbine lobby get ever more like the attitude and tactics adopted by the big Tobacco companies in the 1960's. Back then, not only was the truth suppressed but anyone attempting to reveal the truth had their career ruined.

Perhaps that is the next port of call for these huge Corporate wind turbine companies.

Maybe after REF they will apply pressure and get NETA Data removed or filtered, especially that pesky section half way down - "Peak Wind Generation Forecast", and its equally pesky partner "Wind Forecast Out turn". Then  nobody else, like the John Muir Trust can criticise them. ( Access their report HERE)

As for poor old Billothewisp, without the NETA data or the REF data, posts like This One, or in fact, any of These posts, would not be possible.

We would all be in the dark while the the huge international corporations and their "Oh aren't we green" front companies rake in the profits from the outrageous subsidies.

What is more, if we continue to allow these gold-diggers to continue brow beating and undermining legitimate groups like the REF we probably will all end up in the dark.

That will be when the wind stops blowing, and the lights go out.    


Unknown said...

... the comparison with the tobacco industry is frightening, looking at the "Renewables UK" website, particularly the membership list, I don't think government will be up to the challenge of calling the industry to account.

How much is the industry ripping off the public I wonder ?

Anonymous said...

Ha ha, sorry Willo, you've been had there old son.

The Renewable Energy Foundation is a front for biofuels and energy intensive industries, they are anti-wind as it may damage they own interests.

REF's secretary is Mike Starkie, formerly group vice president and chief accounting officer of oil company BP Plc, but now he is a non-executive chairman of biofuel company Clenergy.

Also registered at REF's address in London is a limited company called REF Ventures Ltd., which sounds like it could be the trading arm of the charity.

However, this is listed as 'dormant' at Companies House, where the name was registered in 2006.

REF Ventures has three listed officers. One of these is Cambell Dunford.

Dunford is a director of W4B, a company with two projects that involve burning imported palm oil to generate electricity; one in Portland, Dorset.

REF's chairman, Guy de Selliers, has little to do with renewable energy.

He is a member of the board of directors of Solvay S.A., a global group of pharmaceutical and chemical companies that makes, amongst other things, plastics and cellulose acetate fibre as used in cigarette filters. It has a new energy arm, founded last year - which is involved, at least partly, in biofuels – specifically, sugar cane operations in Brazil.

He's also been a director of an energy-intensive nickel processing company.

REF Trustee Colin Davies is also the president of the Aluminium Foundation. He recently complained to the House of Lords about the “the huge costs facing energy-intensive industries"

Another trustee, Dr Carol Bell, is heavily involved in the oil and gas industry.

She is a board member of Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS), which helps oil companies find oil and gas reserves offshore worldwide.

The celebrity Noel Edmonds was a founder of the REF and is listed as an officer of REF Ventures. His involvement is explained by the fact that he is a vociferous opponent of windfarms. He told the Guardian in 2004 that he helped found the REF "because of the threat near his home in Devon".

Other donors to the charity are known anti-windfarm campaigners, including Sigrid Rausing, heiress to the Tetrapak fortune (the family is among the richest in the country and owns an estate in Sussex and another in Scotland).

Sorry about the length of this post but felt you ought to know.

BilloTheWisp said...

Dear Anonymous,
Thanks for the comment. It is interesting. Although initially your comment looks somewhat selective in the its representation of some of the facts I will look into some of the stuff you mention and comment back. Not tonight though!

BilloTheWisp said...

I said I would reply , and so I will.

But, Where to start...

I was going to comment line by line but then everyone would just get bored.

So let us look at the broad run of your comment instead. This may sound harsh but I think it is accurate and succinct.

First off, standing back from the argument, all I see is a spiteful set of character assasinations liberally sprinkled with innuendo rumour and supposition.

It addresses and challenges none of the issues raised by REF concerning the ineffectiveness of this junk energy of yours.

All you can do to try and overwhelm the facts presented by REF is to try the basest form of villification.

Seriously: The REF is a bio-fuel conspiracy against wind turbines?? Do you realise how utterly stupid and presposterous such a statement is?

The bio-fuel scam is essentially the other side of the same coin as to the wind farm scam.

Bio-fuels are complementary to wind. They both feed from the same subsidised trough.

They both ruin the environemnt and prey on the poor. They both return next to nothing in environmental benefit.

I do not know whether it was you or someone else who conducted this "investigation" into the the individuals mentioned. Neither do I know if some of the REF personnel have somewhat dodgy backgrounds. But I do know the REF presents tightly argued and accurate data - much to the dismay of RenUK.

Really, if you or the RenUK's only reply to that data is character assasination and rumour your arguments are truly and utterly bankrupt.

As to the individual who crafted this "investigation" perhaps he/she should give Rupert Murdoch a ring, evidently he employs a lot of people with their particular skill-set.

As I said in this particular post:
"The attitude and tactics of the Wind Turbine lobby get ever more like the attitude and tactics adopted by the big Tobacco companies in the 1960's. Back then, not only was the truth suppressed but anyone attempting to reveal the truth had their career ruined."

You comment appears to bear out what I said.

Anonymous said...

Dear reader, take a look at the above and make up your own mind.

Is saying that Noel Edmunds (a founder of REF) is anti wind a character assination?

Is saying that REF secretary Mike Starkie is a former group president of BP and now a non executive chairman of a biofuel company a rumour?

Is saying that Cambell Dunford, a listed officer of REF Ventures and director of W4B who are planning a biofuel plant in Portland merely supposition?

Is saying that biofuels and wind are competing in the same energy market really an "utterly stupid and preposterous statement"?

Lets look at who is doing the character assisinations and villifications here.
Come on Billo, have some self respect.

No doubt the anonymous comment above was a little too close to the mark.

BilloTheWisp said...

Dear Anonymous,

Ranting about who does what to whom, and when, is a complete smoke screen so you do not have to address the FACTS about how totally useless wind power is.

The problem with your argument is that you simply cannot address the negative issues surrounding wind.

I would suggest that is because you are so wedded to this hopeless fashion statement technology you only see it through rose tinted glasses.

If you could come up with a rational and detailed reason why the dismal performance of wind turbines is OK I would perhaps be more receptive.

But lets face it that is not going to happen.

Resorting to tabloid style expose's really is not going to suffice.

I could, no doubt with a little similar "News of the World" style digging flush out some unedifying facts about some individuals in the wind industry. Looking at the membership list of RenewablesUK I don't think it would even be too difficult.

But I am not going to start slating individuals but lets talk companies as an example...

Take Infinergy - owned by Koop Duurzame Energie (KDE) who in turn is owned by holding company KOOP.

A KOOP subsidiary (Nacap - see do a very nice line in large oil pipe lines. They appear to specialise in running pipes across virgin desert and undersea.

Actually though KOOP seem to have seen the writing on the wall and are trying to flog off KDE before the sky falls in on the Wind farm scam.

(Mostly) wind and bio-fuels DO compete in separate markets. Bio-fuels, particularly bio-diesel and ethanol is supposed to replace mineral diesel and petrol for transport, just as wind power is supposed to replace electricity generation. True - bio-fuel can be used for power generation like at the folly at Portland but that is a subsidiary use.

In any case I should point out that for both wind and bio-fuels the word COMPETE is totally out of place. Both are dismal, resource gobbling and debilitating technologies.

Actually, I am somewhat concerned about possible connections of some members of REF to bio-fuels but that is because they should know better rather than there being some bizarre CIA style secret plot against your beloved wind mills.


Anonymous said...

Billo says - "If you could come up with a rational and detailed reason why the dismal performance of wind turbines is OK I would perhaps be more receptive."

it's really simple, every MW a wind turbine produces is a MW that a fossil fueled power station doesn't have to.

and before you start, don't give me the guff about spinning reserve, wind is reasonably forecastable 24 hrs in advance and accurately forecastable in 2 hrs.

BilloTheWisp said...

Dear Anonymous,

Sadly you are mistaken. While it would be nice to think that there is a straight swap, that does not a happen. I won't challenge you with any tedious maths but the term you need is called Capacity Credit. (No that is not capacity factor, although they are related as is spinning reserve)

The Capacity credit is an indication of exactly how much value and how reliable the resource is.

Example: a CCGT has a capacity factor of (these days) about 85% but a capacity credit of less than 80% - due to down time/ plant failure etc.

If you took the best performing off-shore wind turbine in the UK and optimistically said it had a CF of 35% its Capacity credit is about 20%. So actually for every MW the turbine generates it displaces about 0.6 MW other generation.

I am actually doing a post on this in the near future. It is based on a document called the Intermittency Report by UKERC.

The problem is that saving carbon with wind turbines is like trying to bale out a sinking boat with expensive and fashionable silver spoons.
Yes. They do shift some water but the resources used are massively out of proportion to the gains made.

At the end of the day, because you have squandered your limited resources on your silver spoons (or wind turbines) you cannot do the things that really do make a difference.