So Storm Erik got the wind turbines turning at last and trade association RenewableUK’s executive director Emma Pinchbeck came out of the traps at full gallop extolling the wonderment that is consumer-subsidised wind power (“Storm brings energy record”, The Herald, February 13). She enthused that “at one of the coldest times of the year, when we need it most, wind is generating over a third of Britain’s power needs, setting a new clean energy record’.
This predictable haste in telling us how lucky we are to be over-deploying on industrial wind just because thousands of turbines have managed a half-decent attempt at supplying us with some unreliable power is beginning to insult the public’s intelligence.
Where was all this wind power before Erik rocked up? Ms Pinchbeck omits to tell us that image-shattering nugget. From my home in the Highlands it was freezing cold for several days and not a puff was to be had. The turbines wherever we saw them stood idle, frozen in time quietly drawing energy from the grid to keep their hundreds of litres of oil fluid and the mechanism at working temperature for when Erik or one of his windy buddies turns up.
Ms Pinchbeck continued: “Onshore wind is already the cheapest source of new power in the UK and can make a major contribution to meeting our carbon reduction targets and keeping bills down.”
That sounds all fine and dandy until you drill down into the detail. If you added the cost for the necessary 24/7 back-up required for unreliable wind it’s not quite so cheap after all. If you added in the carbon footprint of this required stand-by generation and the grid connection for often-remote wind farms any emissions savings claims would be highly dubious. As for keeping bills down, this is where we are all being taken for fools. We all see our electricity costs rocket year on year as we pay for the wind subsidies, extortionate constraints payments and extensive grid upgrades needed for volatile wind. I wonder how many consumers would willingly pay these charges if they had a choice?
Darach Brae, Beauly.
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