Useless wind farms

I spotted this in yesterday’s FT (not the picture!):

Renewable Energy Generation, the green energy developer and operator, blamed “abnormally low wind speeds across the UK” for widening pre-tax losses.

REG, which runs 10 onshore windpower projects in locations including Cornwall, Yorkshire, Cumbria and Cambridgeshire, said lack of wind knocked £1m from its interim profits.

Andrew Whalley, chief executive, said: “December was the worst month in 10 years for wind in the UK, and January was pretty awful as well . . . but it goes in cycles.

“We’re not seeing a long-term reduction in wind speed, it’s just that the past 12 months have been a really bad period for wind.”

Aim-quoted REG has a goal of investing £100m in the sector by the end of 2012, which Mr Whalley said the group was on target to achieve. “We’ve got lots of projects, lots of cash, and we’re ready to invest it in UK wind.”

That just about sums up how useless wind energy is. In the coldest December since the 1960s, wind energy couldn’t deliver the energy we needed to heat our homes. Brilliant! When does it deliver energy? When it’s windy of course, which usually means Atlantic depressions and mild weather. The last sentence also fills me with horror.

I also found some interesting stuff on Denmark the other day. Denmark generates about 20% of its energy from wind. Have a read of this and weep. One of the startling observations is that because wind fluctuates wildly, it causes instability in the electricity grid. Obvious when you think about it. Will Alex Salmond/Jim Mather/Ed Milliband/Chris Huhne look objectively at wind power? Don’t bet on it.

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14 thoughts on “Useless wind farms”

  1. Unfortunately I cannot see the politicians backing down from wind power. They have hung their hats on wind energy and will be reluctant to lose face.
    It really annoys me when the press blithely report that such and such a wind farm will produce enough energy to heat, say, Blackpool. That will be under 100% perfect conditions which we never have!

  2. That’s a very good article Robin. For a similar but perhaps better explained piece your readers could try this article written by a chap quoted in the piece above; Dr John Etherington. It explains in relatively simple terms the mats behind the various claims on both side of the wind debate and demonstrates realy clearly why wind is a complete nonsense. It’s a downloadable pdf “The case against windfarms” written by Dr John Etherington from the site http://www.windfarmaction.com/

    An excellent piece that I recommend everyone should read.

    1. Thanks, Alan, I shall read it. Unfortunately, Huhne is drawing the wrong conclusions from the Japanese nuclear accident. If you build nuclear plants away from geologically active areas they are not going to suffer from the effects of earthquakes. Doh!

  3. “We’ve got… lots of cash…”

    So why do they need subsidies? If these things are so profitable, why do they need to be fed cash like a steam loco needs to be fed coal?

    Surely that cash should go towards paying back the green tax that Joe Public has been having to surrender to fund these contraptions and schemes.

  4. A timely post. I have just witnessed the first of four huge turbines being erected along my regular evening cycle route along Leicestershire’s quiet lanes. It is enormous and totally out of keeping, dwarfs the nearby village church and is visible for many miles, see the following:

    http://rogerhelmermep.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/wind-farm-gives-the-lie-to-localism

    I don’t have the understanding about these matters that you obviously have, but what I’ve seen here has made me so sad. I love this area, and no it’s not remarkable like any national park, but what is happening here has demonstrated to me that by apparently saving the environment we are actually doing just the opposite.

  5. We have a few wind farms in Co Antrim, on the one hand they change the landscape but it’s been in a constant state of change for 100’s of years anyway. The problem is that like history we want to stop or start the clock at a time of our choosing and I’m no different, I’d personally prefer the landscape to remain untouched as I know it.

    Given the demand for electricity, a demand for which we’re all responsible to varying degrees thanks to our fondness for technology we can hardly complain about the sacrifices that need to be made to meet demand…

    But, and this is the main issue for me, wind farms simply can’t meet the demand, we live in a world with 21st century technology and we aren’t going to turn the clock back so the only answer is a 21st century means of generating electricity and whether people like it or not that means nuclear, not coal, not oil, not solar and most definitely not wind.

    Of course I don’t want a nuclear power station in my back yard regardless of how far it is from a geological fault line.

  6. Its another good article Robin, but I’m a bit lost for words. Some seem intent on shooting themselves in the foot with talk of nuclear. Single issue campaigns stand a remote chance of winning, lobbying for nuclear doesn’t have a hope. Unless of course, yr aiming to pit one lobby group against another, and lose more wild land in the process, but to power stations instead of wind turbines? If that’s the case, your playing with bigger boys than yourselves.

    lets keep it simple. wind doesn’t work. and it trashes wild land. and they are ripping us off. end of. otherwise you are just preaching to the converted, and u can’t build a campaign that joe public will even consider..

  7. I must know the history of that photo, was it a lucky shot or what? I mean; really what are the chances of getting an action shot of a wind turbine exploding?

  8. Robin, good post. One thing though: the 20% claim about Denmark. As far as I know that’s a spurious claim. Nominally, Denmark gets 20% of the electricity *produced* in that country out of turbines. But the electricity they can *actually* use is about 10/11%.

    What happens is, the turbine produce a lot of excess electricity when it is not needed (mild, stormy weather, just as you note). Denmark sells that electricity to places like Norway *at a loss*! And then they import electricity from Norway and Germany when they need it and the turbines can’t deliver.

    So, it’s always been a dirty trick used by wind supporters to claim that Denmark gets 20% of their needs from wind. They don’t. The usable stuff is only about 10%.

    I don’t expect it would be much different in the UK. The famous claim that we have 40% of the wind resources in Europe has recently been proven to be a fabrication. And if the past two years were anything to go by, we may well be in for a spell of calm weather over all.

    After all, the global warming crowd have been warning us for years that climate will become unpredictable. It’s part of the unpredictability that it might become becalmed for years to come. In Scotland, we haven’t had a really major storm in years.

    So what do we do at a time of meteorological unpredictability? We put all our eggs in the most unpredictable form of energy production of all, wind. Basket case indeed.

  9. I dissagree. While winds can come and go, we also have the common sense to utilize the other parts of mother nature that can compensate and there by generate the necessary amount of energy to power our homes

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