More misinformation in the media

Sir - Once again the public is being misled by the wind industry. The proposed windfarms in the Thames Estuary will not power one third of London homes.

If the installed capacity of the turbines is 1300 MW then the average output will only be 390MW. (this uses a generous load factor of 30% - N.D.) This would be enough to provide 5KW to 78,000 homes.If there is a high pressure system over south-east England, there will be zero output from thses windfarms. The claims about carbon dioxide savings are equally dishonest.

What your readers need to know is that the windfarms will receive 160 million per year in subsidies. This windfarm scandal has gone on long enough, and needs to be exposed for what it is.

Bob Graham, Chairman, Highlands Against Windfarms. Orton, Moray.

This letter appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 23 Dec 06 and is reproduced by permission. I have edited it slightly for clarity.


On 22 Dec I heard the newsreader announce that the new turbines would provide the electricity for "one million homes" in the London area. I was so surprised that I did the calculation myself (I used 6kW for each house) and got an answer of 65,000 homes.

The figures appear to be out by a factor of 12.


An answering letter, from David Harrington of Essex, appeared on 28 Dec:

Sir- I would agree with Bob Graham that "this windfarm scandal has gone on long enough", but it is important that those of us fighting the proliferation of these white elephants do not resort to inaccuracies. The 1300 MW of installed capacity planned for the Thames Estuary could produce around 390MW of electricity using a load factor of 30%, or a yearly equivalent of 3.42 billion kilowatt hours. Given the household consumption is 4,735 kilowatt hours, this wind power station would theoretically supply the needs of 722,000 homes.

However, the "homes served" argument of the pro-wind lobby is disingenuous; only 34% of electricity is in the home, so the reality is nearer 250,000 homes.


Firstly, wind energy can't be stored. Most of the energy will be produced outside working hours, so can't be used by industry or fed into the Grid. If we take the working week as 50 hours, the percentage usage by industry must be around 50/168, which is about 30%.

Secondly, according to a recent REF survey, the load factor for stations south of Scotland is well under 30%. In the Yorkshire Dales it's 25%. In King's Langley, Herts, it's 7.8%.

Thirdly, homes need very little electricity in the middle of the night. Base load is not met by wind power but by nuclear, which is reliable and, compared to wind, extremely cheap.


Final comments from Ian Travers, Chester, and Ron Jackson, Peterborough, 23 Dec 06:

Sir - On these cold, calm and dark December days, with conventional and nuclear power stations working hard to maintain our electricity supplies, what contribution are all those windfarms making?


Sir - Please would the Greens, others on the non-nuclear bandwagon and anyone else who needs convincing of their folly, proceed immediately to view their nearest wind turbine. They might notice that at a time of maximum demand because of the current weather conditions and consequent high energy requirements, these windmills are not turning. They are making no contribution to our needs and remain a monument to a generation's poor understanding of simple science.

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