Tuesday, 28 September 2010
The Truth Emerges Albeit Slowly
The UK now has more wind capacity installed than the rest of the world put together since the turbines of the Thanet Offshore Wind Farm came on stream last week.
80% of the construction jobs for the Thanet farm went overseas and RenewableUK, the national body for Britain's wind industry, is warning 50,000 jobs could be at risk if manufacturers base their offshore wind operations outside the UK. Labour promised £60m to upgrade the infrastructure at Britain's ports to attract manufacturers to the UK but that money is vulnerable in the Coalition Goverment's Comprehensive Spending Review.
This means the thousands of jobs the Scottish government insist will be created in the Scottish renewables market may never exist. In Scotland Strathclyde university is one of the best engineering universities in the world , yet we're unable to produce windmills and have to out-source them to Europe and further afield. It doesn't make economic sense.
To add to our woes, the UK Energy Research Centre - a Government funded academic think tank - has reported it costs nearly twice as much to generate electricity from an offshore wind farm as it does from a conventional power station. Instead of costs falling as predicted, in the last five years the cost of buying and installing turbines and towers at sea has gone up by 51%.
The true cost of wind is likely to be much higher than the 15p a unit outlined in the report because wind is intermittent and the National Grid is forced to rely on a fleet of gas and coal power stations to back up the supply when the wind fails.
Yet we continue with the crazy plan of building more and more of these inefficient and costly windmills. When is someone going to shout stop?