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Wind energy “capacity” – just hot air?

Prime Minister Gordon Brown is endorsing a “flagrant perversion of the truth” around wind energy, according to journalist Christopher Booker in Sunday’s Telegraph.

In a video for the British Wind Energy Association Brown stated:

“We are now getting three gigawatts of our energy capacity from wind power, enough to power more than 1.5 million homes.”

But Booker claims Brown deliberately confused capacity with the actual amount of electricity wind produces as the government’s own figures show wind turbines generate, on average, only 27 to 28 per cent of their stated “capacity”. That would mean the 2,000 wind turbines in the UK would produce an average of 694MW and not the three gigawatt figure endorsed by Brown. The report said:

“Far from producing ‘enough to power more than 1.5 million homes’, it is enough to power barely a sixth of that number, representing only 1.3 per cent of all the electricity we use.”

The full article is here.

1 Comment

  • Peter
    Posted October 28, 2008 at 11:00 am

    So, here’s a surprise. In one corner a pretty extreme climate optimist. And in the other the leader of our country, a very smart man… who spins on his own axis pretty much whenever the political winds shift. Currently a bastion of ‘green’.

    Who to believe? No help from the Telegraph. Any experts out there who can help. It’s just numbers after all.

    Max/min/average ratings. Wind speeds. Efficiencies. Maintenance schedules. Lifespans. Etc.

    With a few less clear influences as work: Targets. Bonusses. Subsidies. Fines. Lobbying. Etc.

    So… what delivers an enviROI from construction through to decommissioning that has an enviROI my kids’ futures can depend on?


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