Sunday, June 5

Wind Turbines and Hugh McNeal

According to a Telegraph article this weekend "England not windy enough, admits wind industry chief".

The wind industry chief is Hugh McNeal. So what does the article actually say?

  1. McNeal thinks that there is a case for more onshore wind farms in parts of the UK despite withdrawal of financial support via ROC (Renewable Obligation Certicates that the Telegraph refers to as subsidies).
  2. Without ROC further onshore wind farms in England are probably not viable.
  3. Wholesale electricity prices are to low to invest in new generation, but the government is subsidising gas rather than supporting onshore wind energy to build new generation.
  4. Wind energy is the cheapest form of new electricity generation in the country.

So basically the headline does not reflect McNeals comments or views. The government according to the Telegraph is subsidising gas despite onshore wind energy being cheaper. Even without ROC system support, onshore wind farms can be built and would be cheaper than any gas fired power station.

Plus this doesn't even take into account that new technology and economies of scale reduce costs further.

And then there is the Climate Change factor. The Telegraph does not include the 'energy' costs of dealing with Climate Change damage. Although economists, politicians and journalists like to keep things simple because their poor old brains will hurt if they are overloaded, the fact is the damage that Climate Change will have should be factored into the equation of whether wind farms are economical or not.

There is a cost to doing nothing or not doing enough about Climate Change. Something that the owners of the Telegraph  probably don't care about in their island fantasy home.

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