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The Sun columnist doesn’t seem to understand renewable energy at all

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Renewable Energy

In this week’s gossage, we take a look at a recent column in The Sun, as well as its fanciful claims and spread of misinformation surrounding renewable energy. 

All responsible newspapers employ fact-checkers. Their job is to ensure individual columnists do not publish inaccurate and ill-informed nonsense. Sadly, it appears that the UK newspaper The Sun no longer employs such staff. 

Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference last month, Prime Minister Johnson announced what was billed as a new target for offshore wind 10 years hence. In practice, it was all spelt out in the 2019 Conservative general election manifesto. 

That didn’t stop Sun columnist, and climate change denier, Rod Liddle writing splenetically about the reported £50 billion price tag of meeting the UK’s new offshore wind target, “You might as well spend it on unicorn tears”. Fair enough. That is his opinion. No need for fact-checkers.  

But it was how he sought to justify this hostility where Liddle’s imagination was permitted to run riot. He exploded, “Wind turbines, especially offshore turbines, are also expensive to build, expensive to maintain, polluting to construct and they need replacing very often indeed.”

Liddle provided no source for this claim. Actually, every reliable official estimate reveals that electricity from offshore wind will be far cheaper than gas and doesn’t require regular replacement at all. 

The ex-BBC Today programme editor then made an even more financially illiterate statement. It was that, “nuclear power is the way forward” for the UK, “even if nuclear power stations do cost a few quid to build.” A few quid? Just the proposed 3.2 GW Sizewell C nuclear plant will cost a reported £20 billion.  

Liddle then added that the targeted 40GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030 will, “satisfy less than 10% of our need.” The turbines will, in fact, generate around half the UK’s current electricity demand. More if that continues to decline. 

All of these last three Liddle pronouncements are quite simply lies. Any halfway competent fact-checker would have struck them out. 

I gather that The Sun’s circulation is dropping like a stone and is now two-thirds lower than it once was. If it continues to print rubbish like this, my guess is that the rest of Britain will shortly follow the example set in Liverpool and cease buying this rag altogether. Supplies of toilet paper are really not that short.  

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