It is only weeks since Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform John Hutton committed the UK to 33 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind power and the supporters of this madcap scheme mocked those of us who asked the logical question: “Where shall we obtain the backup?”
This truthful answer is that we shall have to provide real power stations to permit the building of so many wind farms because the intermittency of wind means that none of its output is available at a predictable time.
On January 9 Mr Paterson, MP for North Shropshire asked: “How much despatchable capacity has been installed as a result of the renewables obligation?”
Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks answered 2046 MW, which he then specified as from technologies of high despatchability (hydro-electricity and biological fuel combustion).
Mr Wicks specifically excluded wind and solar which are never despatchable to order.
So we are to build 33GW of offshore wind turbines and yet not a single megawatt of their output will help to bridge our energy gap. This is why several gas-fired power stations are in the pipeline, the first recent permission for a coal-fired station has been given and we are now going ahead with nuclear power.
Parc-y-Bont, Llanhowell Pembrokeshire
21 January 2008
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