Sunday, March 21, 2010

British Wind Farms Failing Due to Lack of Wind

Maybe we can ship renowned blowhard export Al Gore over there to share some of his hot air and increase capacity.
Some of Britain's most beautiful landscapes have been blighted by wind farms for only small returns in energy, research shows.

The analysis of power output found that more than 20 wind farms are operating at less than one-fifth of their full capacity.

Experts say many turbines are going up on sites that are simply not breezy enough.

They also accuse developers of 'grossly exaggerating' the amount of energy they will generate in order to get their hands on subsidies designed to boost the production of green power.

Britain's most feeble wind farm is in Blyth Harbour in Northumberland, where the nine turbines lining the East Pier reach a meagre 7.9 per cent of their maximum capacity.

Another at Chelker reservoir in North Yorkshire operates at only 8.7 per cent of its potential.

Both are relatively small and old, but larger, more modern sites fared badly too, the analysis of figures provided by energy regulator Ofgem for 2008 found.

For instance, the two turbines at High Volts 2, Country Durham, the largest and most powerful wind farm in Britain when it was commissioned in 2004, achieves an efficiency of just 18.7 per cent.

Turbine efficiency is calculated by comparing the theoretical maximum output with what the farms actually generate.

While it is possible some of the results were skewed by breakdowns, the revelation that so many are under-performing will be of great interest to those who argue that wind farms are little more than expensive eyesores.

The analysis was carried out by Michael Jefferson, an environmental consultant and a professor of international business and sustainability.

He believes that financial incentives designed to help Britain meet is green energy targets are encouraging firms to site their wind farms badly.

Under the controversial 'Renewable Obligation' scheme, British consumers pay £1billion a year in their fuel bills to subsidise the drive towards renewable energy.

The professor told the Sunday Times: 'Too many developments are under-performing.

'It's because the developers grossly exaggerate potential.

'The subsidies make it viable for developers to put turbines on sites they would not touch if the money was not available.'

Professor Jefferson, of London Metropolitan Business School, has said previously: 'We should be putting our money where the wind is and that is quite often not where the development pressure is.'

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