Wind turbines fail to generate predicted amount of electricity

This is a summary of the report by Charles Clover in the Daily Telegraph on 9 Dec 06.

An independent study by the Renewable Energy Foundation shows that despite millions of pounds being spent on wind energy, England and Wales are not windy enough to allow large wind turbines to work at the rates claimed for them. Few wind farms are producing as much energy as the Government has forecast.

The foundation is a charity which aims to evaluate wind and other forms of renewable energy impartially. It based the study on data (from around 500 working turbines) supplied by companies to Ofgem, the energy regulator.

FINDINGS: % of rated capacity - some examples

31.5% Southern Scotland
32.9% Caithness, Orkney and Shetland
32.6% Offshore: North Hoyle
32.6% Offshore: Scroby Sands

24.1% Cornwall, west-facing coasts
23.8% Mid-Wales
24.9% Yorkshire Dales
25.9% Cumbria

8.8% Glaxosmithkline, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham
7.7% Kings Langley, Herts, near the M25

The report concludes that the best place to site the turbines is at sea near major cities, so that transmission losses are minimised.

John Constable, an adviser to the Foundation, commented that the Government's targets are based on wind farms running at 30% of capacity, and that for turbines built anywhere south of the Scottish border, the targets will not be met.

Regarding the Glaxosmithkline turbine, he said "we are really talking about a garden ornament, not a power station. These are statements about the company's corporate social responsibility, not efficient generating capacity".

ND comment:

....I wonder if the figures above are measured (megawatt-hours of electricity delivered to the grid), or worked out in some other way....we would welcome input from any wind farms on this subject.

Let's have more data made available so we can have a decent energy policy based on evidence. Making wrong decisions benefits no-one.

Nigel Deacon / Habitat21 website

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