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Has dependability gone with the wind?  

Over recent years, there have appeared a great many letters from people against the concept of wind-generated electricity.

Many seem to ignore two factors which, to me, are very important. These are efficiency and dependability.

It would appear that wind generators, both on-shore and off-shore, are abysmally poor in both catgories.

I attended a public meeting at which one of the speakers was a commercial promoter of wind farms.

I asked the question: “Given that wind generators have a nominal wattage output and that the wind in Devon will not always blow strong enough to reach that figure, could you please give me an estimate of the percentage of the nominal output which is likely to be achieved on an annual basis?”

His reply was 25 to 30 per cent of the noiminal output. Bearing in mind that he is a promoter of these things, my natural cynicism leads me to be lieve that the figure, low as it is, might still be somewhat optimistic.

On the reliability side, surely ANY power generation system needs to be relied upon to ddeliver? We all know how fickle the wind can be and the totally impossible task of trying to predict it. So what is the point of installing a system that youo can NEVER rely on to deliver the goods?

In total contrast to the performance of wind generators, there are the experimental underwater todail current generators. These are 100 per cent predictable and, as I understand it, very efficient.

I have heard that these generators have been found to be far MORE erfficient than they were predicted to be. They are not unsightly, being to all practical circumstances out of sight under water. The only people likely to object to them are possibly some fishermen and possibly some recreational divers I would expect conservationists to welcome them as non-fishing zones, which potentially could become fish nurseries to help solve our current fish breeding problems.

On the reliability/predictability front, the tided runs always at about the same strength, one way or the other for about 85 to 90 per cent of the 24 houors and the slack periods are known and forecast way ahead.

The slack period ripples up and down the coast timewise and so the whole West Country would not be hit by the slack time at the same time.

L R Foster,

Great Torrington.

North Devon Gazette

13 February 2008

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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