According to a study published by the Royal Academy of Engineering, the only forms of electricity more costly to produce are wave power and chicken manure. The study estimated that wind power is 70% more expensive than nuclear or gas power.
Apart from cost, the biggest problem with wind power is its lack of reliability. Wind turbines are inactive most of the time. According to the Department of Trade and Industry, even in the best “wind” year, 1998, the wind farms only operated at 31% capacity.
Although we now have a total of some 5,000 giant wind turbines in the UK their output is only as much of one coal fired power station. Add to that the cost of having to have a coal fired station as a back up either when there is no wind or too much wind and they are spectacularly useless – worse than!
Only the other week wind farm companies were paid £3 million in ONE day not to produce electricity because, due to Hurricane Bertha, the wind was too strong and the wind farms had to be shut down. A further £1.1 million was given to other power stations to generate electricity to make up the shortfall created by shutting the wind farms down.
Those promoting wind turbines talk in terms of their capacity, which is how much electricity they could produce if the wind was blowing steadily 24 hours a day. However, as the wind is so unreliable, the most electricity they are likely to produce is about 1/3 of that amount. On cold, windless days in winter when we are in most need of electricity they produce nothing at all.
The German energy firm EON is to spend £2 billion on building 100 or so colossal turbines (up to 700 ft tall) in the English Channel, to supply ‘700 megawatts’ of power, enough to heat and light ‘450,000 homes’.
However they will struggle to reach 240 megawatts, for which EON will earn £325 million a year – £220 million of which are subsidies paid for by us through charges on our electricity bills!
Wind turbines are most definitely not clean, green or planet saving. Quite the reverse! If we were not forced to subsidise them through our electricity bills no company would want to build them.
Iris Dainton (Mrs)
The Old Rectory, South Somercotes, Louth