Is the case for wind power running out of puff?

As regular readers will know I abhor wind power.

It is for a number of reasons…visual pollution, noise pollution, their bird and bat destroying un-green-ness and the fact that wind power doesn’t work unless it is subsidised.

The UK more than most countries has ‘invested’ billions in wind technology, which has proved spectacularly useless at producing power.

UK electricity demand hit its highest level this winter on Monday – while wind turbines generated their lowest output, official figures show.

Cold weather saw UK demand hit 52.54 gigawatts (GW) between 5pm and 5.30pm, according to National Grid.

At the same time, low wind speeds meant the UK’s wind turbines were producing just 573 megawatts of power, enough to meet only one per cent of demand – the lowest of any peak period this winter, Telegraph analysis of official data shows.

Earlier on Monday wind output had dropped even lower, generating just 354 megawatts at 2pm, or 0.75 per cent of Britain’s needs – the lowest seen during any period this winter.

The analysis will fuel concerns that despite receiving billions of pounds in subsidies, Britain’s wind farms cannot be relied upon to keep the lights on when they are needed the most.

Britain now has about 12 GW of wind capacity installed on and offshore – meaning during Monday’s peak demand period, wind farms were generating less than five per cent of their theoretical maximum output.

Gas, coal and nuclear power plants instead provided the vast majority of the UK’s electricity needs.

A spokesman for National Grid said that Britain’s spare margins – the safety buffer between supply and demand – had remained “adequate”.

On average, UK wind farms produce about 28 per cent of their theoretical maximum power output.

But critics warn that cold snaps when demand soars can often coincide with periods when the wind doesn’t blow.

Douglas Carswell blogs also:

A Ten Minute Rule Bill to outlaw public subsidies for wind farms has just been voted through the House of Commons. It squeezed through with 59 MPs in favour, and 57 against, the support of UKIP’s two MPs proving decisive.

This wasn’t just a victory for UKIP in the Commons. It was a defeat for the subsdised scam otherwise known as the wind energy industry.

Generating electricity from wind is an inherently costly thing to do. Unlike solar energy, which thanks to technology is becoming vastly more efficient, wind is – and will remain – a far more costly way of producing power than the alternatives.

Nor is it reliable. The other day, as Allister Heath points out, as UK electicity demand hit 52.54 gigawatts (GW), wind contributed just 0.573GW. That is to say about 1pc of the total. It was left to good old gas and coal to contribute the lion’s share of 71 percent.

If wind is not an effective way to generate electricity, why have so many wind turbines been built? Because of the subsidy. Billions of pounds have been deliberately diverted away from more efficient ways of generating energy into wind farms.

Why did politicians and experts decide to plough so much into such a duff way of generating power? Partly it is because they failed to foresee technological change. Policy makers plumped for wind because they assumed that oil and gas would become more expensive. They failed to see the shale gas revolution coming.

At the same time, UK policy makers subscribed to the whole renewable energy shtick. Wind, they persuaded each other, had to be the answer in order for us to meet our renewable energy targets.

This has been a disastrous way of deciding energy policy. We need to scrap the renewable targets. Allow capital and technology to find innovative ways to generate energy. And scrap those subsidies.

Wind power blows…time to end the nonsense.


– The Telegraph


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  • Canucktoo

    Windflow reporting today they are about to sack more staff and will concentrate their sales efforts in the UK – hello????????

  • bristol

    It would be interesting to know the comparable New Zealand statistics for wind power.

  • BW_Lord

    “On average, UK wind farms produce about 28 per cent of their theoretical maximum power output” – I think an average of 28% can accurately be called an epic fail in any endeavour.

    • Richard

      Isn’t that what Labour scored in the election?

  • Kevin

    Another example of ideology trumping pragmatism and the inevitable result.

    • bristol


  • KQ

    It looks like wind power and solar are slowly losing popularity even with greenies.

  • caochladh

    And in Ireland – “A 328ft tall wind turbine has mysteriously collapsed at a wind farm in Northern Ireland, despite wind speeds not being more than a medium 10 to 12 metres per second (22 to 27 miles per hour). The wind farm, home to eight turbines, has been shut down until the cause of the collapse can be ascertained.”

  • Robb

    Looking at NZ wind power is not subsidised.
    If a project doesn’t stack up it doesn’t get build.
    quite different to UK. In fact I don’t think any ‘green’ energy types, PV,
    electric cars etc. here receive any type of subsidy. Quite different to the UK model described in the article.

    • Bobb

      It doesn’t show as subsidised because ALL electricity has risen in price due to the shonky price formula they use to fleece us.

  • Bobb

    When they originally promoted windfarms in NZ it was pointed out, (but not widely published) that the per unit COST of wind generated electricity was around 28% above the then household retail price charged per unit. This was conveniently suppressed so that the Govt of the day could get closer to their targets imposed under the Kyoto scam. IT wasn’t, isn’t and never will be, viable without massive subsidies. Just another green joke.

  • Shoreboy57

    Cam, we know there is no manufacturing crisis – except in wind farms it seems.

    Greens to call for an enquiry – yeah right

  • Rodger T

    Might be a while before some of these wind farms start paying their way,

    Power company PacifiCorp will cough up $2.5 million in fines after its Wyoming wind farm was found to have killed 38 golden eagles and 336 other protected birds.

  • JustAnotherLurker
    • Matt Pearce

      Amazing info!

  • anniem

    It takes 23 yrs for a wind turbine to pay for itself by producing energy and the life usefulness of a wind turbine is 25yrs. Then it has to be replaced. Eficiency, really?