A few days ago I was crossing e-swords on a newspaper website with wind turbine enthusiasts. The debate came up because the government is said to be thinking about reducing the subsidies offered to those who erect the giant windmills.

My problem with wind turbines is that they are intermittent at the best of times and, because you can’t rely on the electricity they generate, you still have to have conventional gas-fired power stations on standby. At the end of last year, for example, during the extra-harsh cold snap, the UK’s turbines fell silent for days as windless weather settled over the country.

So I posed a question to those on the newspaper forum whose thinking on the matter did not extend much past ‘just build more wind turbines’.