Sunday, March 23, 2008

Is this a wind up? Sadly not.

In The Telegaph, Christopher Booker lays out a stark contrast between wind power and nuclear.
The director of renewable generation for Centrica, our largest windfarm developer, last week revealed that the cost of this plan to create 33,000 megawatts (MW) of capacity has doubled in three years, from £40 billion to £80 billion.

But since, thanks to fluctuations in the wind, offshore turbines generate on average only 27.5 per cent of capacity, the actual power produced by these turbines would be only 9,000MW, putting its price at £8.8 million per MW.

The latest nuclear power station being built in Finland at a cost of £2.7 billion will produce 1600MW, 24 hours a day, representing £1.7 million per MW. In other words, six nuclear power stations could produce more electricity than all those windfarms for only a fifth of the price.

If Centrica really wants to help Britain keep its lights on, it could, for £80 billion, build 30 "carbon-free" nuclear power stations to generate 48,000MW of electricity, more than the average 47,000MW now produced by all Britain's power plants.

But since this would not count towards meeting our EU renewables target, to do anything so sensible would put us in serious breach of EU law.

Stand by for those lights to go out.

Quite so. Timmy points out the obvious.
But if [if the figures are correct] then it’s rather an indictment of the idea of letting politicians pick and choose amongst technologies, isn’t it?

Indeed it is. In fact, your humble Devil has examined the viability of wind power—or, rather, it's lack of viability—on a number of occasions, most recently in January when I concluded thusly:
So, have you got that? To provide the electricity that we need, we would have to build £40 billion worth of turbines and then we would have to build conventional powerstations to underwrite 90% of the power that those turbines are supposed to generate!

Does anyone think that wind power is still a good idea? Apart from the fuckwits in the government, of course.

As Booker says, stand by for the lights to go out.

What will be interesting is whether the government of the day does actually blame the EU for this failure or whether they will desperately attempt to conceal that organisation's involvement (as all parties have been doing over the Post Office and rubbish-collection furores)...


The Creator said...

I have a feeling that the wind farm scam may yet prove to be what rescues us all from the great global warming con trick.

Slice the numbers any way you like: wind farms produce pitiful quantities of unreliable power at prodigious expense.

Nuclear energy, by contrast, is proven and cheap. It is also, to the spluttering fury of the eco-loons, infinitely more environmentally desirable.

These numbers point so clearly in one direction and one direction only that, given time, they must prevail.

That said, no one should underestimate just how much emotional effort the lefty-liberals have invested in their championship of turbines and just how difficult it will be to dislodge them from their insistence that they must be right. Their credibility is at stake and they will fight tooth and nail to defend it.

But keep making the point that wind turbines cost a fortune and produce very little and even the nuttiest eco-fascist will eventually be reduced to impotent, enraged silence.

Well, that's the theory anyway,

Anonymous said...

I think you are unnecessarily harsh about wind power - solar is a very strong challenger:

£700 million pounds or so for a power supply sufficiently reliable as to be comparable to a back-up generator for a school, and this in Southern Spain. Solar truly is the fuel of the future and always will be!

Newmania said...

I don’t suppose a dead eyed anarchist like you will care but I deeply resent the despoilation of our countryside with these pointless white elephants .The spirit of the nation to be found in its in its landscape the deep down freshness that all the English return to eventually .Now these concrete monsters will be looming out of the mist as reminder of the folly of state . It makes me come over all Brian Sewell and that cannot be good

This is not C Bookers first surgical attack on the whole Billion Dollar Brain style fantasy I have a few clippings . I was able to speak to him briefly once . What a magnificent journalist he is , and another great post from DK…defending the landscape , helping Boris …now your talking .

Devil's Kitchen said...


Yes, I covered solar here (based on that Depleted Cranium post).


I do believe that these windmills will ruin the countryside too, but I try to avoid such purely personal aesthetics in my posts.

However, it's worth pointing out that nuclear power stations aren't the most beautiful objects either: the difference is that they actually do the damn job that they are supposed to do, i.e. produce consistent power.


Anonymous said...

Coming all over Brian Sewell cannot be good, in my book ;)

Maybe you missed my point - It was a joke. I am equally against pointless windmills as I am against solar panels capable of powering little more than calculators, until the day comes when such methods of power production raise more money than they cost to generate.

The Remittance Man said...

At least there's some hope on the horizon. With our own local electrical supply problems, South Africans are becoming quite adept in the practicalities of reducing consumption (as opposed t the purely theoretical and ideological). Doubtless when the lights start going out in Britain, SA entrepreneurs will make a tidy sum hawking themselves as "power usage consultants".

Anonymous said...

What damage to weather patterns do wind farms do? If I remember phyics you cant create energy only convert it so taking energy out of the wind to create electricity must slow the wind down will this make it rain in odd places causing the very problem they are supposed to stop.
Or have i missed something?

Anonymous said...

Mitch - the combined surface area of the turbine blades of thousands of wind farms are capable of converting only a minuscule fraction of the total available wind power. Unless the enviros 'discover' some hitherto unbeknownst to science 'positive amplification' effect on the climate from such means of power generation, then you can sleep safe.

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