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We need to build fewer wind turbines, say engineers

Scotland’s wind farms are operating well under capacity – meaning more are being built than necessary, experts claimed yesterday.

The efficiency of turbines across Scotland has been called into question by the 8,000-member Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

Better investment in electricity storage would lead to fewer wind farms being built to produce the same amount of energy, the institute said. This would also spare communities the anxiety of controversial planning applications and save vital public funds. The claims suggest the countryside is being needlessly blighted by wind farms because of the inefficiency of wind energy technology.

The Scottish Tories have now urged the Scottish Government to investigate after raising the matter in a Scottish parliament debate. According to the institute, the purpose of ‘energy storage’ is to hold energy from renewable sources when there is a surplus, produced by strong winds, and use this reserve for times when there is a deficit or the blades are not turning.

In theory this could allow the SNP to hit its 100 per cent renewables target far more easily, without building significantly more wind farms.

The institute said: ‘As wind and solar power are intermittent forms of generation, when the proportion of these sources increases in the mix, additional measures are needed to maintain a safe and efficient balance between electricity supply and demand on the power system.

‘There is an urgent need in the UK for a detailed analysis to be undertaken to estimate the realistic requirements for electricity storage across the power system.’

Scottish Tory energy spokesman Mary Scanlon said: ‘Given the SNP’s obsession with wind farms, it makes sense for existing ones to be made more effective.’