So as you know, along with all the other greenwash, I decided to take a look. The initial thrust was to simply see what energy policy was feasible for a carbon neutral UK.
The answer was ultimately that as far as I could see, there was only one practical option. Nuclear power and electric transport.
However the windmillers started to scream and create and say that windpower could in fact do the job.
And for very sceptical report there are ten glowing 'windpower is the answerer' articles on the net..so I looked deeper.
The more I looked the more deeply sceptical I became.
The negative issues surrounding wind power were simply not addressed by its proponents.
This article contains a good summary
essentially blowing the gaff on the hidden costs associated with large scale introduction of wind power.
Not to mention the rank subsidies
"According to Ofgem, the Labour government's wind subsidies currently stand at £485 million a year."
"Wind farms get around three times as much in subsidy - a mixture of selling ROCS [renewable obligation certificates] and a share of fines paid by non-renewable plants - as they do from selling electricity"
A rather more scholarly and dry critique is here:-
and as far back as 20004
A totally unexpected downside comes from here:-
You may THINK that its unlikely the Iranians or the Russians would come in low across the North sea, or up the thames estuary.. but a hijacked airliner? no problem.
It seems that pretty competent people are starting to cry out against this monumental waste of taxpayers money
But leaving that aside, and leaving the fact that the power actually generated by windmills is estimated to be (at the point of generation) somewhere between 20% and 400% of the cost by any other means (including carbon free nuclear) the real downsides only become apparent at high levels of wind farm generation..typically more than 20% of total capacity.
This is because windfarms don't operate at full capacity. Indeed at windspeeds below 9mph, they don't operate at all, nor can they be used at over 55mph. They disintegrate if not shut down.
So although the AVERAGE load capacity - the AVERAGE output with respect to the peak is somewhere around 35%, for a significant proportion of the time any given windfarm is not producing anything at all. Possibly up to 15% of the time.
The windfarm proponents will counter this by saying that that is fine, because when its flat calm in Feltham, its a gale in Galashiels..
And skip the most fundamental points: that a gale in Galashiels is all very well, but the power needs to get down to Feltham. This means some pretty hefty upgrades to the Grid..at somebody else's costs. Because the grid is required to take their energy, whether they want it or not.
As wind power gets an even higher proportion of the total it gets even worse. Even if on a calm cold winter's - or a blazingly hot summer's - day some power IS being produced somewhere, and even if its coming down a massive supergrid from Orkney..it still wont be enough..unless the total generating capacity is so over specified that in order to cover the shortfalls of calm weather, it has to be overspecified by a factor of many times. Probably around 6:1. So instead of your windfarm load factor being a nice 35%, in reality it has to be operated much lower than that - say 16% or so, OR you have to back it up with conventional gas turbines, run at disadvantageous cycling, and efficiencies.
So not only does the wind power suddenly double in actual costs, since as it reaches a high proportion of grid capacity it has to be operated at a lower factor, it also needs far more infrastructure to transport the energy from where the wind blows (typically scotland) to where its needed (typically the south east). OR it has to be backed up with a huge amount of conventional and fast cycling capacity, which probably menas that in the end the carbon gains are negligible: Certainly this seems to be the Danish and German experiences.
I can only conclude that, like so much else in the climate change lobby, the whole thing is driven by politics. Nuclear energy is never considered 'renewable' and huge subsidies are given to 'renewable' to meet self imposed targets..and the only 'renewable' source that is remotely feasible is wind, so we have wind.
The fact that at a national level it probably does nothing for fossil fuel consumption at all, looks ugly, is bloody expensive, and reduces the value of local houses to nil,. is never mentioned..
We seem to be, essentially, paying taxes - or higher electricity bills - in order to meet paper targets that don't and wont affect CO2 production at all!
Sigh. Just like every other climate change initiative the governments of Europe have come up with in fact.