- National Wind Watch: Wind Energy News - https://www.wind-watch.org/news -

Wind turbine costs more than it saves

One of Britain’s most visible wind turbines performed so badly last year that the energy is produced was worth less than the value of its public subsidies, it was reported.

The 280ft turbine situated in a business park near the M4 in Reading operated at just 15 per cent of its capacity year, meaning it generated £100,000 of energy, despite attracting subsidies of £130,000 from the Government.

Since 2005, when it began producing energy, the turbine has been subsidised with £600,000 of public money but has run at an average of 17 per cent of its capacity.

Figures were published as ministers promised to crack down on the spending of substantial sums on turbines built in areas without enough wind to make a significant saving.

The turbine in Reading is capable of generating two megawatts (two million watts) of electricity at any time, but last year worked at 15.4 per cent of this rate, producing 2,692 megawatt-hours (MWh) – the total amount of energy measured in hours – over the year.

Government subsidies of £48 are paid to wind turbine owners for every MWh generated, with the Reading turbine’s owner Ecotricity earning £130,000.

In contrast the Burradale wind farm in the Shetlands, which has two turbines, generated 7,194 MWh last year, attracting £345,000 in public subsidies.

Lee Moroney, of the Renewable Energy Foundation, told the Daily Mail: “If the goal is to reduce greenhouse gases then you should put wind turbines in the most efficient sites, rather than have a scattergun approach.”

A spokesman for Ecotricity said: “The turbine is designed to power the business park and has been doing a good job. They are happy with it and we are happy with it.”