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Έγγραφα > The backup problem > Ireland in green trouble?

Dear EPAW,

Here are some of my thoughts on the GREEN ECONOMY presently being developed in Ireland.

Green Vision or Engineered?

In a Nutshell:


The Ventomobil (above) designed by the University of Stuttgart that won the international Aelous race in Holland in August 2008 with a record speed of 24 km/h. However, it required a wind speed of 36 km/h (20 knots), which is nearly double the average wind speed in Ireland. The second day of racing did not provide sufficient wind for the same vehicular speeds to be reached again.

This is a cute University experiment. However, the rest of us have to go to work, pay the bills, educate the children, hope they will get a job, etc! And we do need vehicles that work.

Unfortunately, most Irish politicians seem to be blind to such needs. They have approved in 2008 a massive project in the order of 30 billion Euros to build a second duplicate electricity system that is wind powered. Despite the huge expenditure it will only deliver significant power when the wind is twice our average strength. 70% of the capacity we have paid for will not deliver any power.

Wind energy is the cornerstone of the Green Economy. Such a programme is not part of the pragmatic approach of EU Environmental Policy; indeed despite this massive expenditure on wind energy Ireland will not meet EU environmental targets and electricity prices soaring to the highest in the world will lead to unsustainable losses in manufacturing industry.

Like the property bubble, there will be winners, those that get in early in the distorted economy and make the quick money on the pyramid schemes before the whole unsustainable edifice comes crashing down. However, the overwhelming majority of us will be severe losers.

And as the wind does not blow constantly, we will continue to operate our fossil fuel power plants - but now in a highly inefficient fashion : on a variable output to match the highly volatile wind generation. It is like driving a car in the city instead of on the motorway, it burns an awful lot more fuel for the same kilometres travelled. This sums up the windpower madness.

Why have the Irish turned their backs on their engineers and scientists, the very specialists who developed the high technology manufacturing sector that gave birth to the Celtic Tiger? Why have they decided that the future direction of their energy policy should be in the hands of journalists and populist politicians?

It's a mess, and all because people can't accept the facts and figures. Instead, they insist on their visions, and abuse those who do not conform to their ideology. Competence has become irrelevant: as in the Middle Ages, faith is trumping science.

Pat Swords, BE CEng FIChemE CEnv MIEMA

Biography: Pat Swords is a Fellow of the Institute of Chemical Engineers and a Chartered Environmentalist. Since graduation from University College Dublin in 1986 Pat has worked in developing the high technology manufacturing industry in Ireland. His work experience has also included projects in over a dozen other countries throughout Europe and North America. Since 1999 he has worked extensively on EU Technical Aid Projects in Central and Eastern Europe helping to implement EU Industrial Pollution Control and Control of Major Accident Hazards legislation.


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