Suppliers of electricity from wind turbines are highly erratic and cast doubts on their reliability as a source of power, official figures reveal.
Just weeks before the Government publishes its energy review White Paper, a research paper by National Grid shows that on some days, even in winter, wind turbines are virtually motionless.
The Government is said to want wind power to supply 20% of energy needs from 2020. Advocates argue that the UK is the world’s windiest advanced nation.
But, according to the National Grid, in the period between October 2006 and February 2007 there were 17 days when output from the existing 1,632 windmills was less than ten per cent of capacity.
During that period there were five days when output was less than five per cent and one day when it was only 2%. In the whole five months, the wind turbines were operating at only 35% efficiency.
Jeremy Nicholson, director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, whose members include big energy users such as Corus, said: ‘These figures show how necessary it is that the UK has a balanced energy policy. We simply cannot over rely on any one energy source.’
A spokesman for the National Grid said wind constituted 2.5% of generation capacity, assuming turbines were working at full capacity.
Tom McGhie, Financial Mail
15 April 2007
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