Research showing that the efficiency of wind turbines drastically falls as they get older “drives a coach and horses” through Scottish Government energy policy, according to a Tory MSP.
A study by Edinburgh University Professor Gordon Hughes found that the “load factor” (maximum output divided by a set period of time) for an onshore wind turbine in the UK fell from 24% in year one to 15% in year 10 and 11% at year 15.
While a smaller decline was found for onshore wind in Denmark, the decline in offshore wind output there was even greater falling from 40% in year one to less than 15% over a decade.
In the Scottish Parliament yesterday, Tory MSP and energy committee convener Murdo Fraser asked the government for its response considering the target to generate all of Scotland’s electricity from renewables by 2020.
Stating the fall in output was around 50%, he said: “That would mean that in order to meet renewable targets we would have to double the number of wind turbines than are currently proposed. Surely this drives a coach and horses through the Scottish Government’s whole energy strategy.”
Energy Minister Fergus Ewing replied that David Cameron had said: “We need more windfarms.”
He said the Scottish Government was committed to a mix of electricity sources and renewable energy supported 11,000 Scottish jobs.
Referring to the money that Tory MSPs Alex Fergusson and Jamie McGrigor make from wind developments on their land, he said: “There does appear to be division among the Tory MSPs on the issue of windfarms.”
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