Login Register

Clearing up inaccuracies

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 29, 2013

Comments (3)

THE letters from Adrian Davies (Have Your Say, January 4) and E Adere (January 5) contained a number of inaccuracies.

Modern wind turbines pay back the energy used in manufacture within 2 to 10 months, depending on the wind speed onsite and the type of turbine used.

Most turbines have a life expectancy of 20 to 25 years, so they will generate at least 24 times the energy used in manufacture and installation.

Wind farms do indeed receive subsidies, as do all types of renewable energy.

They are a necessary incentive, protecting and encouraging investment in all low-carbon energy technologies and ensuring a secure, cost-effective supply in the future.

However, the public subsidies for wind power in the UK are dwarfed by the tax breaks enjoyed by fossil fuels.

Data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD) reveal that the oil, gas and coal sectors in the UK were subsidised in 2010 to the tune of £3.6 billion.

Compare this with the £0.7 billion received by all onshore and offshore wind in the same year.

Most increases in electricity bills are due to rises in fossil fuel costs and the cost of electricity generated by wind is low.

Ofgem's figures show that the current cost to UK households of developing all forms of renewable energy, including wind, is less than £20 a year.

Most wind turbines will be active and producing power for about 70 to 85 per cent of the time, albeit not at full capacity.

A typical turbine is expected to generate approximately 20 to 35 per cent of its theoretical maximum output over a year.

Contrary to popular perception, conventional power stations are also limited in their power generation, in 2011 producing only 46 per cent of their maximum theoretical output according to UK Government figures.

Conventional power stations are also highly inefficient, with between half and two thirds of the input fuel being discharged to the environment as waste heat.

Advances in weather and power forecasting mean that it is inaccurate to describe the output from wind energy as 'unpredictable', as concluded by a recent report from the IPPR (Institute of Public Policy) which also found that wind energy can play a major role in a secure and reliable future electricity system.

The ostrich that Mr Davies refers to has more in common with those who ignore the cost, subsidies and health impacts of fossil fuels, than those who champion clean, cost-effective wind energy, which also supports small businesses across Wales during development, construction and operation.

Wind energy is simply the best and most economical way that we have of increasing our energy system resilience, combating climate change and improving environmental quality across Wales.

Sara Powell-Davies

Communications Manager

RenewableUK Cymru

Read more from South Wales Evening Post

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

max 4000 characters

3 comments

  • johndavies  |  January 30 2013, 12:23PM

    Sorry, - my postings appear in reverse order. Oops

    Rate 0
    Report
  • johndavies  |  January 30 2013, 2:34AM

    cont - 5 - You say :- ( "A typical turbine is expected to generate approximately 20 to 35 per cent of its theoretical maximum output over a year. Contrary to popular perception, conventional power stations are also limited in their power generation, in 2011 producing only 46 per cent of their maximum theoretical output according to UK Government figures." ) Well NOT according to Department of Energy & Climate Change ( DECC ) & Grid figs ( Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics ( DUKES) http://tinyurl.com/n4k7n8 ) See Pages 121, 140, 144, 160, 186 Shows the UK Capacity factors, (also known as Load or Production Factor) ( It's the % of possible output, that is ACTUALLY produced) Coal = 42 %, Gas = 62 %, Hydro = 35 %, Nuclear =61 %, Pumped storage = 14 %, Solar = 8 %, Wind = 27 %, 6 - You say :- ( "Wind energy is simply the best and most economical way that we have of increasing our energy system resilience, combating climate change and improving environmental quality across Wales." ) What a silly statement you make !! If it's "simply the best" why is it 2nd from bottom of list of Production Factors ?? If it's "most economical" why does it need such massive subsidy ?? How does it "increase our energy system resilience", when it's a parallel generating system requiring fossil fuel generators to be run inefficiently as back-up. How does a machine that has a Production Factor of just 27% change the climate ?? How does ripping open peat bogs (carbon sinks), disrupting water courses, laying hundreds of 1,000 tonne reinforced concrete foundations, building roads, disrupting wildlife habitats etc, improve environmental quality across Wales ?? John Davies

    Rate   2
    Report
  • johndavies  |  January 30 2013, 2:32AM

    Sara, You head your article "clearing up inaccuracies" so it is rather surprising that as a 'Communications Manager' there are so many inaccuracies in what you have written!! (But then we have come to expect that from employees of the renewables sector). 1 - You say :- ( "Modern wind turbines pay back the energy used in manufacture within 2 to 10 months, depending on the wind speed onsite and the type of turbine used." ) 2 - You say :- ( "Most turbines have a life expectancy of 20 to 25 years, so they will generate at least 24 times the energy used in manufacture and installation." ) Please supply figures & sources to substantiate claims 1 and 2. There has recently been a study of several thousand windturbines, suggesting that the life expectancy is closer to 12/15yrs. See - http://tinyurl.com/bf8rm9f 3 - You say :- ( "Data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD) reveal that the oil, gas and coal sectors in the UK were subsidised in 2010 to the tune of £3.6 billion. Compare this with the £0.7 billion received by all onshore and offshore wind in the same year." ) You mention the subsidy levels for various generators for 2010, allow me to expand on them. As always the devil is in the detail !! Wind - £0.7bn per year for 2.6% of our electricity = £0.27bn per % delivered. Nuclear - £0.5bn per year for 20% of our electricity = £0.025bn per % delivered. Oil, gas and coal - £3.6bn per year for 75% of our electricity = £ 0.048bn per % delivered. So, the subsidy wind receives is an order of magnitude GREATER than Nuclear or Fossil fuels. In excess of £1 billion in wind subsidies was given away in 2012, … and the ROC & FIT schemes will continue to pay cash to developers at these levels, increasing year on year until 2037. 4 - You say :- ( "Most wind turbines will be active and producing power for about 70 to 85 per cent of the time, albeit not at full capacity." ) But very often not producing even enough for it own needs - All turbines use grid power to do some or all of the following depending on size / design – Rotate blades to prevent damage to main bearings, Warm oil in winter, Cool oil in summer, Charge batteries for emergency systems, telecoms, internal safety lights, navigation lights etc, Run Air Conditioning plant for electronics, Heat blades to prevent icing, Run the 'Yaw motors' to turn head into wind, Operate blade control. Energize the generator, Synchronize with the grid, These are 'Must Have, Must Run' Services The requirement can be 6 – 40kW / machine. If the machine is not producing (no wind or too much wind ), that energy is drawn from the grid (showing up as negative production), until production restarts. In light winds the machine may revolve but not produce enough for its own service needs, so it still draws from the grid. cont

    Rate   1
    Report

      YOUR COMMENTS AWAITING MODERATION

       
       

      MORE NEWS HEADLINES