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Wind power study sparks renewable firm backlash

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 05, 2013

The Government is over-investing in onshore and offshore wind farms, according to a think-tank

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Too much money is being spent on wind power that will fail to meet the energy needs of future generations, according to a new report.

The Limits of Wind Power report by the Adam Smith Institute claims Government investment in Britain is misguided.

The right-wing think-tank said wind energy would "never be suited as the lone or primary source of grid electricity due to its variable nature and will not deliver the environmental benefits expected".

But the report has been heavily criticised by renewable energy advocates in the South West, who said wind energy is an "accessible and obvious" way to reduce fossil fuel emissions.

The report, released jointly with the US company Reason Foundation, claimed "wind energy is intermittent and therefore these back-ups are needed to avoid blackouts".

The authors said wind energy requires expensive energy storage facilities or reserve power generation facilities to provide for its users.

The paper argues that the practical upper limit for wind power's contribution to an electricity grid is 10% of the total energy mix – rather than the 2020 aim of 8%-15%.

"Very high wind penetrations are not achievable," said William Korchinski, author of the report. "As wind's share increases, system reliability will be adversely affected disproportionately – unless adequate reserve power is available. That power reserve is expensive and lowers any possible environmental benefits."

Johnny Gowdy, programme director at renewable energy champions Regen SW, said: "No one is saying wind is the sole source of renewable energy. It's in the mix with other renewables types needed to manage the supply and demand of energy.

"Wind turbines have well-proved success in reducing carbon fuel emissions to tackle climate change. Both on and off-shore wind energy is an accessible and obvious way of reducing energy costs."

He said there were less than 140 "meaty" turbines producing at least 250kw of energy across the whole of the South West, including South Gloucestershire.

Mr Gowdy added: "So, the argument that the Westcountry is turning into a pin cushion is slightly exaggerated."

Bob Barfoot, North Devon chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), said: "Wind power cannot continue to supply the needs of energy.

"If the wind doesn't blow there is no energy. There will be wholesale blackouts if the Government continues on the path it is going.

"Every time there is a wind turbine application, an opposition group is set-up. People realise they aren't doing any good and they are not stupid enough to believe anything they hear."

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  • bullocks400  |  February 05 2013, 7:31PM

    The red arrows tell a story. Too many people making loads of money from the whole wind and renewable energy scam. The ordinary common sense view of the people who are paying these grotesque subsidies (the whole population) is given no weight. As ever, the 'powers that be' know what is best for us. Personally I am fed up with the mostly useless getting fat on the back of the ordinary person. Bring on the revolution.

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  • letigre  |  February 05 2013, 4:56PM

    Why does the article say 'right-wing think tank'? What's that got to do with the price of fish. Why should it matter their political position with regards to on or off-shore wind? Do those who vote to the left like wind and those who vote to the right not like wind? I think you will find that action groups represent a full spectrum of voters, ages, gender etc. My main concern with onshore wind is that I think we've reached saturation point in Cornwall, shoehorning more, bigger turbines next to dwellings does nothing for the overall renewables cause moving forward.

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  • merrythought  |  February 05 2013, 3:48PM

    Do we realy need a think tank to tell us the obvious. We can tell them without any cost involved!!

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  • johndavies  |  February 05 2013, 3:08PM

    Trudie Here are Some useful tools re windturbines For a totally unbiased view of their cost effectiveness, please link to these DATA only sites. For how much they give…. see – Map of Europe showing RWE's 'green' plants – live output production data – [It's a manual refresh] – nb capacity in MW but output in kW http://tinyurl.com/c5b35rn • • • How much we need & use – http://tinyurl.com/6ja8btf This site gives UK Grid status - demand & generation by fuels.….. now + Day, Wk, Mth, Yr, history. * Caution *, scales are all different so don't compare dials at first glance !! Look at the figures !! • • • For how much money they take…. See- http://tinyurl.com/ajcmpde - for a flavour of the ROC subsidy's WE are being forced to pay to (mainly foreign ) windfarm developers. Expand the map to see the area you are interested in. Click on a site, Click on 'View details'. Totals are at bottom of page. Sit down before you read them (& have smelling salts handy), …. these are the OFGEM monthly payment figures. • • • Now make up your own mind if wind is cost effective. You are entirely correct about the sea as an untapped source, NOT wave as thats wind powered so intermitent but - Tidal flow. As long as the moon remains in the sky, harnessing the tides means we can predict the amount of energy available for extraction on an hourly basis – (it will vary according to season/spring/neap tides, etc) - for close to a millennium. We have difficulty predicting how much energy we can extract from wind beyond 24hrs. here are a few general links to get you started- http://tinyurl.com/a4ftrwm & http://tinyurl.com/lw8nz http://tinyurl.com/ac6z5bd

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  • trudie2010  |  February 05 2013, 2:09PM

    I don't know too much about all the renewables, but I have read many times that wind farms are the least effective. We should be harnessing the sea, after all we have plenty of that.

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