The Wind Turbine in Reading

The Daily Mail was in typical indignant mode when it reported (HERE) "Is this the most useless wind turbine?" But I think their report could had been a little more thorough.

With a quick look through the Renewable Energy Foundation database on wind turbine output (HERE) it quickly becomes evident that while the output from the Reading turbine is derisory, it is far from being the worst performing turbine. At least the Daily Mail pointed out that this  thing gets a ROC subsidy of £130,000 while producing only £100,000 worth electricity. (total payout £230,000). But the rest of the figures they present, shocking as they are, disguise the truly terrible statistics surrounding the whole of the wind power industry.

I suppose these up front figures look so bad the Daily Mail has simply not dug any deeper. If they did ( and it is not difficult) they would find that the actual situation is far, far worse.

The main area of the Mail's indignation is that for this particular turbine at Green Park in Reading, the Capacity Factor for 2010 was only 15%. But accepting this figure on face value neglects the true awfulness of the situation. If they had paid attention the the nature of wind power they would have found that this turbine would have failed to even get close to this pathetic output MOST of the time.

The day to day figures for this individual turbine, like most others, are hard to come by. But we know from the NETA data  (HERE) that nationally half the energy from wind is generated in less than 25% of the time (See earlier Post Here). This leaves the other half to cover 75%  of the time. From figures from the Le Ranch Wind farm in the USA we see that, on a single site basis this gets further scewed to 15% and 85%  (Lee Ranch synopsis half way down this Wikipedia page)

Even if you use the UK national figures this means that the typical  (i.e. the most common output)  from this turbine  falls to 10%.If you use the (probably more applicable) Le Ranch figures this typical output falls to less than 9%.

But even that fails to show how 40% the electricity will arrive when it is unneeded (i.e. at night) and that the output will be at this dismal 9% (or less) for one third of the time. But however lowly the output, or unneeded it may be, the electricity generated  is guaranteed a full market price plus the massive ROC subsidy.

High wind, or low wind, night or day, the Fat Cats in the wind industry are always smiling. Forget about bankers bonuses. Look at the money (your money) these people are raking in.

Every pound coin that people spend on electricity has its own little carbon footprint. Money has to be earned. In earning money resources are used. Using this hard earned cash to fund massively expensive and hopelessly inefficient wind generated electricity is not only foolish and wasteful but is also counter productive.

No comments: