Huge amounts of money are about to be wasted on the Sere Wind Farm, which will do nothing to overcome Eskom’s desperate shortage of electricity or to benefit the environment. It will just push up our electricity prices.
Sere, to be built about 150 km north of Cape Town and owned by Eskom, will consist of 46 wind turbines of 2,3MW each, giving a total of 106MW. Each turbine will stand 169m high from the ground to the top of the blade tip. They will satisfy the green motto of “gigantic is beautiful!” Koeberg’s two reactor buildings are only 57m high.
Wind has a range of good applications but for generating grid electricity it is extremely expensive and so unreliable as to be essentially useless.
This is because nature has made wind energy dilute and intermittent. Wind requires over 10 times as much concrete and steel as nuclear per kilowatt-hour produced.
Wind for grid electricity has proved a costly failure wherever it has been used. Britain has over 4 000 wind turbines with a total capacity of over 7 000MW, but there are occasions when they produce less than 100MW altogether.
Experience over the whole of Europe is similar. Europeans have seen their electricity bills climbing the more wind turbines they have.
Koeberg nuclear station has a load factor of 80% (it produces on average 80% of its rated capacity) and generates about 12 600GWh (gigawatt- hour) a year.
Wind is lucky to get a 25% load factor and Sere will be lucky to produce 232GWh a year.
You would require 2 500 Sere turbines to generate as much as Koeberg.
Koeberg and our coal stations produce electricity when we want it. Wind power produces electricity on the rare and unpredictable times the wind happens to be blowing at the right speed. So a kilowatt-hour of wind electricity is worth less than a kilowatt-hour of nuclear or coal electricity, if it is worth anything at all.
Sere is just the beginning in a massive, heavily subsidised expenditure on wind and solar grid power in South Africa.
It will be an expensive failure here as it has been everywhere else.
Why are we doing it? Politics and ideology is the answer. The greens are very rich and powerful, and are imposing their silly, harmful ideas on our politicians and Eskom managers.
It’s called “eco-imperialism”.
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