Wind power FAIL in England

In case you think I’m a naysayer on sustainable (green) power generation, I assure you, I am not. I believe that we should be pursuing such technology. What I don’t believe is that the government should force it upon us while it is still clearly not sustainable. We should be looking at these technologies for the long term while, at the same time, investing in new technology for recovering and enhancing our current energy production. Let’s face it – until there are major breakthroughs in wind and solar power technology, we need to focus more resources on gas/oil/coal to get us through the short term. Electricity and fuel production capacity in the US is strained to the breaking point and green power will not address this problem.

I have posted on this before (here, here, and here) and this article (from the Daily Mail) is yet another example of green government FAIL. More than half of the wind farms built in England were placed in areas where there isn’t enough wind. They are operating at less than 25% of their rated power, costing taxpayers millions.

It’s not exactly rocket science – when building a wind farm, look for a site that is, well, quite windy.

But more than half of Britain’s wind farms are operating at less than 25 per cent capacity.

In England, the figure rises to 70 per cent of onshore developments, research shows.

Experts say that over-generous subsidies mean hundreds of turbines are going up on sites that are simply not breezy enough.

Britain’s most feeble wind farm is in Blyth Harbour in Northumberland, where the nine turbines lining the East Pier reach a meagre 4.9 per cent of their capacity.

Another at Chelker reservoir in North Yorkshire operates at only 5.3 per cent of its potential, the analysis of 2009 figures provided by energy regulator Ofgem found.

The ten turbines at Burton Wold in Northamptonshire have been running for just three years, but achieved only 19 per cent capacity.

Europe’s biggest wind farm, Whitelee, near Glasgow, boasts 140 turbines. But last year they ran at less than a quarter of their capacity.

The revelation that so many wind farms are under-performing will be of interest to those who argue that they are simply expensive eyesores.

So in the rush to get this green technology on line, apparently no one considered the little detail that you actually need some wind to spin the turbine so it makes electricity.  What motivates this foolishness? Government subsidies – from the taxpayers.

Under the controversial Renewable Obligation scheme, British consumers pay £1billion a year in their fuel bills to subsidise the drive towards renewable energy.

Turbines operating well under capacity are still doing well out of the scheme, but Professor Jefferson, of the London Metropolitan Business School, wants the cash to be reserved for the windiest sites.

He said: ‘There is a political motivation to drive non-fossil fuel energy, which I very much respect, but we need more focus.’

He suggests that the full subsidy be restricted to turbines which achieve capacity of 30 per cent or more – managed by just eight of England’s 104 on-shore wind farms last year.

There are several major problems with this buffoonery. First, the public is paying twice for this: on the consumer level in the form of higher energy prices, and on a taxpayer level in the form of subsidies. Second, the government subsidies wasted on this could have gone toward more efficient gas/oil/coal recovery and production – goals which are more realistic and attainable. By not addressing the immediate needs for more power and less dependence on foreign sources, we are facing an energy shortage in the immediate future.

The pursuit of failure is inexcusable.

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One Response to “Wind power FAIL in England”

  1. […] power FAIL in England Despite the massive documented failure of wind power (more here and here) that has done nothing but create “green jobs” in China and increase the cost […]

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