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Wind turbines to last just half of time predicted

Anti-wind farm campaigners in Mid Wales have taken a swipe at developers after a report found wind turbines last just half as long as previously thought.

Research by Professor Gordon Hughes, an economist at Edinburgh University and former World Bank energy advisor, found turbines generally last 12 years, rather than the 25-year figure used by government to calculate subsidies.

Now campaigners claim ‘time is up’ for projects to link wind farms to the national power network.

National Grid wants to build a 400,000-volt electricity line across the Shropshire border to feed electricity generated from wind farms sited in Mid Wales, into the national power network. Its proposed route is from an electricity substation at Cefn Coch, west of Welshpool, via

Llansantffraid, south of Llanymynech and Oswestry, to Lower Frankton where it will join the main grid.

But Jonathan Wilkinson, leader of campaign group Montgomeryshire Against Pylons, which is fighting the plans, said: “The research by Professor Hughes, a highly respected engineer, confirms our view that wind turbines are just not viable and I think the companies behind these developments know the game is up. They are trying to rush through all these developments because they know time is up, nobody believes them anymore.”

Professor Hughes predicts in the coming decade more investment will be needed to replace older and ineffective turbines – a cost likely to be passed on in higher household electricity bills.

He said the performance of the UK’s wind turbines over the past 11 years had ‘deteriorated markedly’ and that ‘the subsidy regime is extremely generous if investment in new wind farms is profitable despite the decline in performance due to age and over time’.

Professor Hughes said the trend for larger wind turbines increased wear and tear. He said: “I strongly believe the bigger turbines are proving more difficult to manage and more likely to interfere with one another.”

Nobody from National Grid was available for comment today.