There is a belief amongst those not in the electricity industry that wind turbines are keeping energy bills down.
This is very far from the truth. They are pushing energy costs up. They remain viable because of a subsidy which is paid through increases in our electricity bills.
Presently about 8% of a typical electricity bill pays for wind turbines, and it will increase to about 30% by 2020 if the wind programme continues as planned.
Industry is beginning to complain but the building of wind turbines continues.
This is a result of Tony Blair committing Britain to producing 15% of its electrical energy from renewables by 2020. The only way to do this was to build more wind farms, irrespective of practicality or cost.
It is administered like this - every supplier of electricity is set a 'green target', and those who fail to hit the target can be fined. The can avoid the fine by buying 'renewable obligation certificates', the cost being passed ultimately to the consumer.
Britain gets about 2% of its electricity from renewables. To meet the European target, which has again been set irrespective of practicality or cost, we will have to build three or four times the number of turbines we already have.
As an illustration of the economics -the Renewable Energy Foundation has calculated that of the 17 turbines built (or planned) at Burton Wold in the Midlands (well south of Hadrian's Wall, receiving too little wind to be economically viable)), about half of its £14 million income since 2005 has been earned through the power it generates, and the other half has been given to it through subsidy.
John Constable, director of REF, says that people are unlikely to be keen on local wind turbines if they learn how expensive they are.
But until the mainstream media employ 'environmental' reporters who are sceptical and scientifically literate, the public will be unaware of the price we are paying for wind-generated electricity.
ND, habitat21 / 20 Feb 11
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