THE latest government decision to spend £100bn of taxpayer’s funds on wind farms shows how the government and its advisers are totally lacking in knowledge and information on renewable energy.
This decision, fuelled by the self-interest of lobbyists on behalf of the major wind turbine corporations, will be a decision that Britain greatly regrets in the years ahead.
In this respect in 2003, as an example, the actual amount of electricity that these wind turbines produced equated to a production time of only 24.1 per cent of the year.
For the facts are that these turbines only reach maximum efficiency when the wind speed is between 10 and 20mph, and where below 8mph, they simply do not produce any electricity at all.
Added to these facts is that above 20mph, efficiencies go down and when over 56mph they all stop producing electricity completely, due to cut out and risk of damage.
Indeed, a significant number of wind turbines, in fact, cut out at 33mph.
The problem is therefore that wind turbines have a very narrow band to work within and produce electricity (less than 25 per cent of the time according to all international studies). Replacement time is also short, in the range of 9-12 years.
Therefore £100bn spent today will have to be spent again in less than two decades’ time. Maintenance costs are also at a high premium, as sudden wind gusts wear out components quickly. Therefore the government’s decision is good for the vast installers, but certainly very bad for the British taxpayer. Indeed, in many ways it will be seen over time like the Millennium Dome – a very expensive white elephant.
But the real problem is that the government’s advisers do not look further than the powerful industrial lobbyists, and where, if they had done their homework correctly, they would have seen that a more sustainable energy solution was out there.
The Western Water Highway project has now been around for ten years and John Major and Tony Blair have held meetings in 10 Downing Street concerning this independently thought-out scheme.
As a hydro-project it uses the power of the seas and the moon’s pull on those seas, something that acts 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. It is limitless in providing free energy and acts continuously, for it creates a difference in coastal depths of up to 18 metres, providing a vast energy resource that would drive hydro-turbines forever.
Therefore a series of hydro-dams along the WWH would produce Britain’s full electricity needs in perpetuity (100 per cent) and would not have to be replaced every decade or so (and probably last at least 150 years). The cost is estimated at £60bn.
The wind turbine expenditure will only create a maximum of 15 per cent of Britain’s electricity needs at a cost in excess of £100bn, but the WWH scheme will create 100 per cent of Britain’s electricity needs in perpetuity as a cost of £60bn, some £40bn less (and it will last more than 10 times longer).
If this badly thought-through decision does not prove that this government does not know what they are doing, then nothing does. The real losers here will be the people themselves, and future generations to come.
DR DAVID HILL
World Innovation Foundation Charity
Monday, 30 June 2008
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