What’s the cost ?

Is wind turbine enrgy as Free and Green as is often claimed? not according to Tony Lodge of the Centre for Policy Studies. http://www.cps.org.uk/search/default.asp . The Danes have often been held up as the pioneers in Wind Farming; In this paper he discusses the Danish Experience and shows that far from being Green, the Danish use of coal increased through the inefficiencies caused by their coal-fired power stations having to track the wind farms. And that Denmark cannot use much of the wind generated electricity and exports it at a loss. He also discusses the cost to the population of Denmark of subsidising the buiding and electricity generation of Windfarms.

Free ?

The UK government has recently announced that it will spend in the region of £100,000,000,000 on achieving EU Targets < http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/1/hi/uk_politics/7474592.stm > This is about the same as the current spend on the NHS :

NHS Spending

2002-03: £65.4bn
2003-04: £72.1bn
2004-05: £79.3bn
2005-06: £87.2bn
2006-07: £95.9bn
2007-08: £105.6bn

The war in Iraq is costing the UK £80 million per month, that is just under a billion pounds (£1,000,000,000) per year.

British consumers pay £1bn a year in fuel bills to subsidise renewable energy. Inflation busting hikes in electricity prices – which were supposed to pay for a massive expansion of wind power – have boosted the profits of power companies instead. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-512280/British-consumers-pay-1bn-year-fuel-bills-subsidise-renewable-energy.html

EU global warming crackdown will cost every UK family £730 a year to fund plans to tackle climate change, it was claimed yesterday. Under laws proposed by Brussels, Britain will be forced to generate 40 per cent of its electricity from green sources within 12 years

Green ?

From BWEA (British Wind Energy Association) website:

Myth: Wind energy needs back-up to work
Fact: All forms of power generation require back up and no energy technology can be relied upon 100%. The UK’s transmission system already operates with enough back-up to manage the instantaneous loss of a large power station. Variations in the output from wind farms are barely noticeable over and above the normal fluctuation in supply and demand, seen when the nation’s workforce goes home, or if lightning brings down a high-voltage transmission line. Therefore, at present there is no need for additional back-up because of wind energy.
Even for wind power to provide 10% of our nation’s electricity needs, only a small amount of additional conventional back-up would be required, in the region of 300-500 megawatts (MW). This would add only 0.2 pence per kilowatt hour to the generation cost of wind energy and would not in any way threaten the security of our grid6. In fact, this is unlikely to become a significant issue until wind generates over 20% of total electricity supply.

From E.ON:

2008 June 4th Energy giant E.ON has launched its new energy manifesto, warning that if the UK is to meet its target of generating 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, it will still need to develop a new generation of fossil fuel-fired power plants.

The company said the UK would require 50GW of renewable energy to meet the EU target, but that would require up to 45GW of backup capacity from coal and gas-fired plants that could be used to ensure energy supply when renewable energy supplies are not available. http://www.channelweb.co.uk/business-green/news/2218181/calls-fossil-fuel-back


The Mouthpiece of the British Wind Farm Industry claims up to 500 MW max conventional backup will be needed. One of the big UK power companies, itself a windfarm operator, admits up to 45 GW of conventional back up. This is 100 times greater !

E.ON’s statement that we need 50GW to meet the EU target, and 45 GW of backup leaves me wondering just how big is the green factor really going to be ?

reviewed 4th May 2009