“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Vestas, world's biggest wind energy group, losing sail.

A Danish Nordtank wind turbine suffers a brake failure 
( manufactured by Vestas ). Hard to understand why anyone would object to this in their neighborhood.

Care to speculate how many billions will get blown in US wind dreams and boondoggles?


Britain's only wind turbine plant to close

Vestas is to shut down its Isle of Wight factory in the face of collapsing demand from a wind-farming industry hobbled by the recession and red tape

Tim Webb, Tuesday 28 April 2009 13.13 BST

The UK's only wind turbine manufact uring plant is to close, dealing a humili ating blow to the government's promise to support low-carbon industries.

Vestas, the world's biggest wind energy group, said today that it would close its Isle of Wight facility, which employs about 700 people and makes blades for wind farms in the US.

The group had planned to convert the factory in Newport so it could make blades for the British market, but said this morning that the paralysis gripping the industry meant that orders had ground to a halt. Such low demand could not justify the investment, Ditlev Engel, the chief executive, told the Guardian.

He said the group would consult with the workers for the next two to three months, adding that there was a glimmer of hope investment in the plant could still go ahead if orders picked up soon.

Engel said last week's budget, which increased subsidies available for offshore wind farms, as well as recent moves to free up the sluggish planning process, could boost the industry but it was too early to say whether orders would pick enough to rescue the plant.

"The government has tried to improve the situation," he said. "Whether it's enough I don't know."

In early March, Gordon Brown convened a low-carbon industrial summit aimed at finding ways to help low-carbon manufacturers lead the UK out of recession. Vestas representatives attended the meeting.

Engel said the group was in "constant dialogue" with the government and had informed it of today's move. He admitted that no aid or assistance had been offered by Whitehall to try to save the plant. But he reserved his fiercest criticism for local politicians who he said were holding up projects, particularly onshore, giving the UK one of the lengthiest planning processes for developers wanting to build wind farms anywhere in the world.

"Since last summer, the order intake in the UK market has dropped significantly. Therefore it would be very difficult to substantiate the investment as we had already planned.

"The UK has large wind resources and it's a priority for the government but the orders didn't move. That's why we're telling employees that we're not reinvesting there.

"We are waiting to see in the coming period if the government initiative announced last week will get the market to move again. At least it gives some hope but it's too early to tell."

Engel said the weakness of the pound had also had an effect, making it more expensive to build wind farms in the UK, but the major problem lay in planning application.

"It is extremely time consuming and extremely complicated. Some of our developers, customers, will tell you it is so difficult. In the UK nimbyism is a huge challenge. This is outside of Whitehall territory.

"People talk about big offshore parks. Why not put in onshore parks? The cost of installation is half compared to offshore."

The Isle of Wight facility will stop making blades in June. The R&D department, which employs about 150 people, will remain open.

Engel admitted that if Vestas makes its skilled workers redundant but sees a pick-up in orders later in the year, it would be harder to reopen the plant because it would have to find a new skilled workforce.


  1. Never seen the ones in Palm Springs spin like that.

  2. NIMBYism has been affecting ol' bob too, but not much, having sheep on two sides, and they don't give a wool, and mostly vacant land on the third.

    However, the city planner is a nincompoop, and another matter. He denied me the R-4 (intensive residential) I wanted, for the most part, on the grounds it would cause too much traffic for the arterial street to handle, then insisted I give access to a guy nearby (the vacant land) who already has 30 acres of R-4, to dump his traffic through my place. Go figure this out.

    So I called my Jewish lawyer.

    That's simple, bob, he's a moron, says he.

    So he is working to craft a compromise that's actually better for the city, and meets my requirements too. Don't believe it if someone tells you there is competence in some of these city governments. I know you won't.

    To avoid future NIMBYs, I am designing the entire project in six stages, all to be accepted at once. Thus, people who buy in will be precluded from NIMBYing around in the future.

    But, it drives one nuts dealing with these folks.

    My lawyer has a place in Phoenix where he winters. Says he bought a place on the southern part that was surrounded by irrigated cotton fields just a few years ago, converted to homes now. Which are going begging. Says they are selling, if they sell, for less than the cost of building them, and will take five or six years to work off. Some nice new golf course in the area too, a big new attraction.

    If you want a nice reasonably priced home with a golf course nearby, try Phoenix, he says.

    Obumble's administration will crumble on the energy sitution, is my prediction. There will be some kind of blow up, prices go sky high, people will scream bloody murder, the house of cards comes tumbling down. I hope. For change.

  3. Say Bobal, in about two weeks we're heading out to Coulee City overnight to play the quarter slots there. Maybe we'll see some windmills out there in the desert.

  4. At Pace West School, Earth Day was also a day to remember Alexis "Lexie" Glover. Students, faculty and staff gathered in front of the school to plant a tree and garden in Lexie's name.

    Lexie, a seventh-grader at Pace West, went missing from Central Library in Manassas on Jan. 7, sparking a massive search for the girl. Her body was found in a shallow creek near the McCoart Administration building in Woodbridge two days later.


    Ms. Brenda, one of Lexie's bus drivers, wrote, "You really touched my heart. And I will miss having you on my bus run.
    Pace West

  5. Sri Lanka said it will prevent Tamil Tiger rebels rebuilding during the army’s halt to combat operations, as U.K. and French envoys visit the island nation to discuss the plight of civilians caught in the conflict.


    The report didn’t mention Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, who said yesterday he was denied a visa when he was scheduled to travel to Colombo with the envoys.


    Sri Lanka’s decision on Bildt is a “grave mistake” that “will have repercussions in Europe and will influence the further relations between the government and the European states,” the Czech Republic’s Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, whose country holds the rotating six-month European Union presidency, said yesterday.
    Envoys Visit

  6. I can't see the big deal with calling a Pakistani a Paki.
    It's just the same as calling an Australian an Aussie, a Scotsman a Scot or a Frenchman a C*nt.

  7. A group of researchers at Ohio State University have discovered that conservatives are more likely to believe that Stephen Colbert, host of the wildly popular comedy show The Colbert Report, actually means what he says when he slams liberals on air.


    “By contrast, liberals perceived Colbert as just kidding and did not perceive the source as conservative, Republican, or disliking liberals,” the researchers went on to say.

    Disappointingly, however, the study offers no indication whether any conservatives have tried “Formula 401” – Mr. Colbert's “premium man seed,” which he markets on the show for women looking to conceive.
    Stranger than Fiction?

  8. Masato Tashito told a group of Japanese reporters that "various conditions have gradually been put in place" for the WHO to raise the global pandemic alert to the second highest level.


    Tashiro indicated that a shift to phase 5 would likely be triggered when cases of secondary infections become evident in regions outside North America, currently the most infected area of the swine flu epidemic that originated in Mexico.

    Tashiro also warned that the risk of a pandemic from a lethal bird flu strain "has never been reduced."
    Alert Level

  9. Beautiful Downtown Coulee City.

    If you see windmills out there you will have seen something this Sancho Panza didn't see.

    Go south though and see where Lake Missoula came a ripping through in the big floods.

  10. Dry falls of the great waters of long ago.

  11. See the Dry Falls if you go to Coulee City, Xena.

    Dry Falls

  12. Been there. Impressive place.

  13. Banks Lake is man-made. Was a coulee that they flooded when building the dam.

  14. That would be one serious rafting trip.

  15. Quiz time T and Bob. What's the geographic center of Washington?