A Wind Turbine Capacity Factor Near You.
Billothewisp has decided to have a little competition to see which parts of the UK had the highest and lowest Wind Turbine capacity factors in 2010. Then we can see what the carbon savings are, particularly for the proposed East Stoke and Silton wind farms in Dorset..
Take this document ( Here ). It is part of a document set called DUKES. (God! how Chris Huhne must hate having to publish this stuff)
In particular take this table.
Clearly the CF winner is (at a paltry 23.9%) is Northern Ireland.
Also very clearly, the CF loser is (at a wholly pathetic 17.7%) is The South West of England.
It also shows that the "wonder" of offshore windpower only managed a CF of 29.6%.
Hmmm. There is something wrong here isn't there?
RenewablesUK, the wind industry trade association drone on and on about the overall capacity factor being about 30%.
But last year not even off-shore managed the illusionary 30% CF. Dismally, not a single on-shore area came anywhere close to 25% let alone 30%.
If you believe in these things, then I expect you think that even though the output may be crap, they still help reduce carbon emissions
Unfortunately the truth is somewhat less rosy.
Billothewisp has to quote another governmental/academic document to offer some clarity as to exactly what carbon saving will be made.
The document was actually brought to my attention by a Guardian article last week written by Polly Curtis.
This Guardian article itself was the usual half-baked pro-wind "investigation", and lacked even a semblance of even handedness. (See this comically one-sided "Reality Check" ).
But it did refer to a very interesting report by the UKERC concerning wind turbine intermittency.
The document is available here - The Intermittency Report
The Intermittency Report points out that due to their intermittent output, wind turbines need carbon emitting backup.
Because this backup is is trying to track the wind and compensate for the turbine vagaries, it is running inefficiently at sub optimal output.
The extra carbon emissions from this inefficient operation statistically gets compensated by the wind turbine - but only when the collective turbine output reaches a CF of about 20%.
So, if you have a capacity factor of 30% you are in saving carbon emissions..
But, that means that turbines in places like the South-West, (CF of 17.7%), do not even cover the inefficiency they force on their carbon based backup generators. This carbon based backup generation emits more carbon due to having to backup these ineffective turbines than it would if they didn't exist and was providing the power on its own.
In the South West, more CO2 is emitted not less. All thanks to the pitifully ineffective wind turbines.
These turbines cost carbon while producing intermittent expensive and unreliable energy.
You could actually reduce carbon emissions by shutting down all the South-West's turbines. (rather than paying them a subsidy).
Even for offshore wind, the carbon savings are pitifully small and horrendously expensive..
Particularly, for the proposed East Stoke and Silton wind farms in Dorset, the most environmentally sensible thing to do is exactly what the local councils have voted for - rejection.
Unfortunately the lure of the filthy lucre means that both of the corporations involved are going to appeal against the democratic decisions of the democratically elected local councils.
It is going to be the usual sad scenario of money, power and greed versus local democracy.
The cost in national resources and finance, along with the environmental damage so outweigh any possible environmental gain that we would be massively better off both financially and environmentally by consigning the whole white elephant wind turbine fleet to the dustbin of history.