November 18, 2011
Australia, Letters

Back-up costs too

The Age, 18 November 2011

Wind generators seem to have a hypnotic influence on their acceptance. Despite the thousands of homes claimed to be supplied by each wind farm, for some of the time this figure drops to zero when the turbines are becalmed; and for much of the time it is less than the claimed maximum, with the overall output being about one-third of that figure. Because electricity supply cannot be stored, wind generation requires full back-up from hydro or fossil generation, which must be available on short notice, so the net production is considerably less than one-third. And the total consumption of a metropolis is at least three times domestic consumption. So the expenditure of 41 per cent is easy to understand, but what does this come down to in terms of percentage of supply over a year, and the cost of the necessary back-up?

Graham Keith, Warrnambool

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