Wind energy viability

  • Is Temple Hill needed?

“The investment this country needs in this technology is already largely on the table …” said Charles Hendry of the Department of Energy & Climate Change in June 2012. The government’s target is 13GW for onshore wind by 2020. 5GW is already up and running, 6GW is consented and 7GW is in planning already. So the proposed wind farm at Temple Hill is not needed. It is being proposed because there is a compliant, absentee landowner and because of the government subsidies paid to (in this case) foreign owned energy companies.

  • Are wind turbines efficient?

We won’t go into all the details (though if you’d like to know the maths please email us!) but the basic answer is NO. The huge development at Temple Hill would only power around 800 kettles. 

According to a definitive study on the costs and benefits of wind power ( “They require a huge commitment of investment resources to a technology that is not very green, in the sense of saving a lot of CO2, but which is certainly very expensive and inflexible. Markets have to be rigged in order to persuade investors to fund the investment that is required.”

  • Is a wind network effective?

Wind power by its very nature is intermittent, meaning that extra coal and gas-fired power stations are required to plug the gap in wind farm output. This is less efficient than if the traditional power stations were supplying a predictable demand, resulting in increased CO2 emissions. This inability to match generation with demand means that the National Grid will have to be expanded (more pylons) if more wind farms are built.

RWE’s own group CEO Volker Beckers put this succinctly when opening a new gas-fired power station in Wales in Sept 2012: “Gas is the fuel of choice, and with more renewables on the system you do need gas stations which are highly flexible and highly responsive.”

See how much energy is being generated by wind in real time here.

  • Can the grid cope?

The government is about to invest £100bn in a new ‘smart grid’ in order to integrate wind energy more effectively. And this at a time of austerity when the country can ill afford such a scheme.