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'Lack of wind a blow for farm'

The viability of windfarms in the Midlands is being questioned after a programme claimed that the Burton Wold windfarm is running at only 18 per cent efficiency.

BBC Radio 4 programme Costing the Earth looked into claims that the windfarm, near Burton Latimer, was performing at less than 20 per cent efficiency.

Michael Jefferson, policies chairman of the World Renewable Energy Network (Wren), said windfarms should not be located in the Midlands.

He said: “What I have a problem with is people pushing developments in areas of low speed where the load factor will be, if you are lucky, 20 per cent.

“There’s a stretch between Birmingham and London which should not be used to place windfarms.”

Electricity watchdog Ofgem said the wind-load factor of Burton Wold was 18.34 per cent, which was put to a spokesman from Pure Energy, which runs the windfarm.

Spokesman Alison Hood said: “Last year was not a full operating year for the Ofgem figures. It’s a new windfarm, there’s a lot of maintenance and things that need to get done in the first year, but it’s producing a growing amount of electricity.

“It’s doing what we hoped it would and last year the farm generated power for 8,300 homes.

“You might get a capacity factor of 30 per cent in a more notoriously windy site, such as Scotland, but we are finding that for windfarms to be effective they need to be spread across the country to cope with the demands.

“You can’t have all the farms in Scotland and Wales and take the power to the middle of the country where it is needed.

“We have experts who tell us this is a good site, and so far it has been a great site, producing electricity power for 8,300 homes.”

Ali Sayigh, director general of Wren, said: “I am outraged that this statement has been made. I apologise on behalf of Wren and wish to make clear that we are wholeheartedly in support of wind energy.”

Brian Skittrall, chairman of Bozeat and Lavendon Oppose the Turbines, is fighting plans by nPower for 16 windfarms near the two villages.

Mr Skittrall said: “This programme supports what we have been saying all along – that it is absurd to site windfarms in the part of the country that has the least wind.”

Evening Telegraph

11 September 2007