Chris Huhne and his Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) propose building 32,000 more wind turbines. This construction programme would transform Britain’s landscapes, with an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 new turbines needed onshore and up to 25,000 offshore.
Britain already has 3,400 onshore and offshore turbines which only generate 1-2% of the nation’s power. Wind turbines, along with nuclear power, are regarded as the most economically viable green energy sources.
Professor David MacKay, chief science adviser to DECC has calculated that even if 10% of the country was covered with wind turbines, it would generate only a sixth of the nation’s energy needs. All types of renewables generally produce about 2.5 watts of electricity per square metre. A nuclear power station, by comparison, produces about 1,000 watts per square metre.
A joint report just published from the Adam Smith Institute and the Scientific Alliance, argues that the government’s focus on renewable energy sources is misguided. The report, Renewable Energy: Vision or Mirage, says: “as renewable energy sources produce power intermittently, they cannot replace gas, coal and nuclear generation, even with further development”.
The storms last week highlighted this raising concerns about the reliability and cost of wind turbines. In Scotland, the wind turbines were generating more than 2,000 megawatts, but as the wind speed increased, the turbines started to shut down. By midday, output had fallen to 708 megawatts. Funnily enough, the turbine operators had predicted they would operate normally.
Sir Bernard Ingham, secretary of the pressure group Supporters of Nuclear Energy, said: “They are no good when the wind doesn’t blow and they are no good when the wind does blow.”
Energy experts say the unreliability of wind turbines means extra expenditure is needed to ensure they are always backed up by other power sources. John Constable, director of policy and research for the Renewable Energy Foundation, said: “it is a very expensive way of generating power because this shows you need two systems running in parallel.”
Is this just another example of a politician wanting to leave their stamp in history? Guess who pays for the politicians grand plans, the paying consumer!! Why not just build more nuclear power stations.