Saturday, 2 October 2010

The Waning Wind

The Department of Energy and Climate Change said this week that lower than expected wind speeds and rainfall had led to a 12% fall in renewable electricity generated between April and June compared to the same period in 2009.  This is the second fall in renewable energy production this year and follows a smaller but still notable decline between January and March, again compared to last year.

With a sharp drop in output from nuclear power stations as well, greenhouse gas emissions from each unit of electricity generated will inevitably have risen, at a time when the UK has pledged to cut such pollution and is pressing other countries to do the same.

Speculation is mounting that the government is considering cutting the feed-in tariff subsidy for small scale renewable equipment and 69 industry figures and other experts have sent an open letter to the government warning such a move would 'shatter' confidence and put future investment in 'mortal peril'.

A spokesman from RenewableUK, the industry lobby group, said: "Clearly we need to deploy more renewable devices if we expect to get more in the energy mix.  Hydro and wind power will vary from year to year, as do other technologies, but we know that they can and do contribute significant amounts of electricity."

They really don't have a clue do they, yet I (and you) will continue to pay subsidies to those folk who have installed a couple of solar panels on their roofs, or a windmill in their back garden, after having been taken in by the propaganda.

photo: offshore windfarm near Prestatyn, north Wales


Joe Public said...

Just wait for the EcoLoons to refrain from claiming a side-effect of Global Warming & Climate Change will be less-windy days.

Oh what a dilemma they face.

subrosa said...

Joe, you're always one step ahead of me. :)

RMcGeddon said...

Oh dear. Climate change may cause a reduction in windspeeds. Quick, someone tell Alex Salmond..

Woodsy42 said...

I don't know about climate change having any effects whatsoever but windmills must.
No matter how the greenies define 'renewable', the conservation of energy is a physical fact so any electricity generated by windmills has to be extracted from the wind - thus reducing the air movement. So fill the hills with windmills and the valleys, where towns tend to be, will get less wind, making them hotter and with more air pollution and affecting their weather.
Next to start worrying about the way tidal schemes slow the earth's and moon's rotation.

John said...

It is not a question of numbers of windmills. If 100 are not producing because of too high/insufficient wind then 1000 will do no better.
I also learned today that offshore fans require a 250 ton concrete base. What is the carbon cost to produce and transport that?

Oldrightie said...

Since the miserable maritime dominant air masses mid-decade we have for nearly three years seen our pressure pattern more dominated by polar continental flows. Drier though mainly colder northerly weather looks set for a continuance. Already Scotland has had snow this winter.If you don't reckon that's relevant check out the gas price rises!

subrosa said...

Very true John. I should have made that point in the post. That fact rings a bell with me. A few years ago I attended a meeting about turbines and the installation costs were brought up. Nobody at the top table answered the question.

subrosa said...

OR, gas prices are my nemesis.

Apogee said...

Hi SR. Long before it was fashionable, a few of us in Tasmania were investigating wind power as an alternative, but using batteries as storage devices. this was on a separate installation per house and its practicality depended on the amount of power you needed, peak load and when.This was in the early sixties and was to find out if we could make it work.
We came to the conclusion that it was possible, but would probably need a petrol or diesel generator as a backup, remember we intended to use batteries as storage, and the total power required was nothing like the usage in the average house today.
We were aware of the problems and pitfalls then,so it is extremely unlikely that the current companies were not aware !
Much more likely is people selling and buying the idea were suffering from 'inflation' of expectations,for different reasons and didnt take the possibility of changing weather patterns seriously enough. That does not make it a bad idea to use wind power, you just have to get the sums right. It also helps to sell it to the people honestly, and not as a 'green miracle' as too many governments have.
Tasmania solved the power generation problem with hydro power,they dammed up a few valleys to hold the water and turned the resulting lakes into a tourist attraction.
Could do the same here, any volunteers want to suggest it? Or would it be another case of NIMBY?

subrosa said...

Interesting Apogee, many thanks and you're so right about wind being sold 'honestly'.

Hydro is a tourist attraction. Think about the dam at Pitlochry and the salmon ladder. There's another beautiful one Backwater Dam here too but it's artificial and attracts less trippers. Scotland could make a lot more of hydro.

John said...

Cruachan Hydro Electric Power Station. An example of what we should be doing.

subrosa said...

Poor website John. Mind you Pitlochry doesn't have one, they use others. Poor too. Such a shame they can't do good websites.

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