When the Thanet offshore wind farm (consisting of a hundred turbines) was built near the North Kent coast, the operator, Vattenfall, said that its capacity was 300 megawatts. The project was launched with much publicity in September 2010, and we were told that it could power from 200,000 to 240,000 homes. It would also provide green jobs and would form an essential part of our 'energy mix'.
All three of these claims are untrue.
The wind farm's actual output is 80MW instead of the claimed 300MW.
This is one tenth of that of a typical gas-fired power station.
The turbines cost £780 million to build. They will receive subsidies of £60 million per year (for the next 20 years) and will receive £30-40 million for the electricity they produce.
For that amount of money, you could build a new gas fired power station which would give 1000 megawatts of power, continuously, 24 hours a day, supplying 240,000 homes with 4200W (4.2 kilowatts) each.
The wind power is therefore not only intermittent; it is 1000/80 times more expensive - about 12 times the price.
This does not include the multi-million pound alterations needed to the Grid infrastructure so that the wind power can be accepted onto the network. This extra cost should be debited to the wind energy producer (currently it is not) because it is a direct consequence of the wind energy programme.
The Government constantly talks about “green jobs” created through wind power but this is somewhat disingenuous.
We have no UK turbine manufacturers.
At the huge London Array wind farm in the Thames, to be opened next year, 90% of the contracts in the £2billion project have been given to overseas firms.
Lastly, an energy 'mix' is not improved by adding a component which is intermittent and twelve times the price.