Earlier this year Alison Hood was made redundant from Airvolution as a result of the UK Government’s policy shambles.

Her communication skills and dedication to the cause are impressive, underlined by her winning the RenewableUK award for excellence at the Gala Dinner last week.

Far from lamenting her position, Alison took the fight to the UK Government by launching a crowdfunding bid to fact-check the Energy Bill, to ensure that the Government was held to account on its stated objectives. 

I not only donated to the cause, but I encouraged others to do so, because I thought that it was so important to hold the Government to account, and to do so in an independent, non-partisan way.

Trouble in Paradise

So far, so good. The project met – and exceeded – its target, and Full Fact were duly commissioned to undertake the work.

Naturally I was extremely interested in seeing the outcome of the checks, so when the first update was posted, I was one of the first to read the results.

Imagine my surprise and consternation to find that – apparently – nuclear is more reliable than wind.

What Full Fact had done is taken the load factor for the two technologies and equated that to reliability. Patent nonsense; according to this approach solar energy is incredibly unreliable because the sun doesn’t shine in the night. Perhaps Full Fact assume there’s only a 50/50 chance it’s going to come back up again in the morning!

It was a rookie error, and one I was happy to correct. So, following the guidance on the website, I emailed the team, and then tweeted with some information about Portfolio Theory which should have helped them understand their error.

That was last Friday.

To my great disappointment, the erroneous information is still up on the website despite correspondence to Full Fact from myself and a number of other individuals and organisations.

Rather than note that there *might* be an issue with their conclusion and withdraw the section from the website, their only communication to me has been that they’re internally reviewing the statement.

And all the while, people clicking on the page are blithely taking at face value the ‘fact’ that nuclear is a reliable choice, and that wind just lets us down time after time.

It’s a terrible indictment of an industry which now generates more than 10% of the UK’s electricity, and does so reliably and incredibly cost-effectively.

The naivety of Full Fact in allowing this slur to stand – particularly when it’s been pointed out by numerous sources – is astonishing. 

The question stands; who fact-checks the fact-checker, and are they even listening?

Update 28th October 2015

It seems that Full Fact are at it again – this time on popularity of wind against other energy types. This time they‘ve taken a single Survation survey of 2013 to discuss the popularity of wind *against other renewables*.

Two problems with this; firstly, their data source is crap. Why not use DECC data which publishes independent statistics on exactly this topic each quarter?

(My mistake – they had used DECC data at the end of the article, sorry.)

Secondly they’re only comparing renewables with each other. We know that renewables are insanely popular compared with fossil fuel and nuclear technologies, so it’s no surprise that onshore wind isn’t top. So why restrict the discussion to renewables alone given the title “What do Brits think about wind farms”.

Perhaps Full Fact Partial Opinion have taken money from Alison Hood to carry out the work, but have a higher calling to support nuclear and fossil fuel companies?!

I’m a strategic, long-term thinker who specialises in information management, sustainability, digital strategy and governance. Get in touch if you’d like to chat about how I can help your organisation prepare for the future.

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