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Wind energy’s viability in question

Research conducted by the Renewable Energy Foundation has revealed that the UK failed to meet its 10% renewable electricity target for 2010. Specifically, only a 6.5% share of the UK’s 2010 electricity came from renewable sources.

Elsewhere, a report carried out by Stuart Young Consulting indicated that wind farms are much less efficient than claimed, producing below 10% of capacity for more than a third of the time.

The report concluded that turbines “cannot be relied upon” to produce significant levels of power generation, a claim hotly denied by the wind industry. Given that billions of pounds in subsidies have been spent on renewable energy and especially the wind industry, which accounts for more than £5bn of subsidies since 2002, the value for money of this investment is being called into question.

Onshore wind energy has typically been something that has attracted opposition from local communities due to the size and perceived ugliness of the turbines used to harness the energy. The counter argument has often centered on their supply of renewable, clean energy and the UK’s need to move towards a decreased dependence on non-renewable sources. The data from the latest reports into the industry is likely to provide ammunition to those opposed to the construction of wind farms and local communities, as well as single-issue NGOs in and around planned construction sites. An additional issue with which the wind industry has to contend is the amount of subsidies it is receiving via consumers’ electricity bills.

This article was written by Nicholas Chrysanthou, energy consultant analyst at Alva and released in full on Energy Business Review.

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