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)...