Sunday, 16 December 2007

Wind power con trick

UKIP has always questioned the wisdom of wind power and UKIP party policy is pro nuclear on the grounds that there is no really viable alternative. Last week the government announced the UK will build 7,000 giant offshore wind turbines by 2020, equivalent to one every half mile of coastline. To achieve this will require two of the 2,000 ton turbines to be commissioned every working day until 2020. Denmark, the world's largest offshore wind generator, has never managed to build more than two a week.

The turbines will have a capacity of 33 gigawatts. However, as wind blows intermittently, they only generate on average a third of the time. Wind power therefore needs other back up sources that can come on and off line at a moment's notice to balance supply and demand. The proposed UK Turbines will require a grid system capable of withstanding power swings of up to 33GW. Unfortunately the only outside backup on which our island grid can depend is a 2GW connector to (nuclear powered) France.

Denmark, the country with the highest concentration of turbines in the world, exports more than 80 per cent of its wind-generated electricity to prevent its grid being swamped when the wind is blowing. When the wind is not blowing Denmark then needs to re-import power from Sweden and Germany. The Danes learned their lesson and decided in 2002 to build no more turbines. We British have still to learn that wind power might be appear green and cuddly and please the tree huggers but is not a viable large scale alternative. Remember "green" not only means environmentally friendly, it has another meaning: someone who is naively foolish and dangerously gullible.

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