You report Environment Secretary David Miliband as “paving the way for a new generation of giant wind turbines” – (“Miliband puts wind turbines at the top of green agenda”, September 28).
The previous day Mr Miliband spoke on the Today programme on Radio 4 and said: “Wind cannot provide the base load.”
If Mr Milliband, with his background of political science, understands what “base load” means, and if he accedes to Sir David King’s suggestion that we should have 40 per cent of nuclear power (i.e. most of the baseload), then a substantial amount of windpower may not only be undesirable but potentially dangerous, as its installed capacity might exceed the installed capacity of the coal- and gas-fired generation which allow load-following. Thus, vagary of wind could cause fluctuations of generation greater than load-following could cope with.
A recent submission to the Institution of Electrical Engineers and to the Edinburgh Royal Society sums up the matter: “As a retired grid control engineer my instincts react against all thought of unpredictable renewable power on the scale proposed, sloshing around the system… At minimum levels of system demand with fixed base load operation of nuclear plant, in turbulent conditions, the control of system frequency would become a nightmare.”
If your report is correct it is outrageous that “Mr Miliband mocked campaigners who oppose the construction of windfarms”.
We who oppose this lunacy are concerned mainly for the security of electricity supply in the UK, and deserve better than ministerial mockery – which no doubt shows that no sane reply can justify such ignorant political “diktats” as the present “rush for wind”.
Dr John Etherington
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