Scientific analysis shows wind power can be efficient
At last we hear from someone with a distillation of knowledge of what wind farms are all about.
John Dike of Crediton (Aug 24) reminds us that since windfarms in general have a much lower output than full-size power stations, the current is often (always or often?) fed into the main grid via 11,000 volt lines instead of the grid's 132,000 or 400,000 volt potential to which it is normally converted at the power stations.
This, it is true, certainly means more losses in the lines (since higher transmission voltages mean lower power losses in the lines), though whether "much" of the power is lost I'm not so sure. Obviously the increased losses will vary from installation to installation. The answer to this is, if the cost-balance works out in its favour, to install transformers at the wind farm point to upgrade the voltage, and to upgrade the insulation on the length of grid up to where it joins the main grid. This is a matter of cost accounting, an area I'm not qualified to go into.
Your contributing Nimbys are endlessly complaining about the cost of "feed-in tariffs", which is spread between all electricity users in the form of a higher price for their kilowatt hours of consumption. It will be a good day when these tariffs can be done away with, so that there's a completely level playing field, but if this happened now some of the incentive for investment in turbines and equipment would be lost, and we do need more turbines and lots of them, both onshore and offshore, if we're to wean ourselves away from highly polluting sources (coal, gas, and oil) and highly dangerous ones (nuclear).
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Without any mandate from the public, our ignorant government is hell-bent on sanctioning the construction of eight new nuclear power stations in this country, but refuses to embark on the open and honest debate on the pros and cons of nuclear power that is urgently needed in the light of the fact that the safety of this industry is now seriously discredited.
And, when it comes to subsidies, nothing has been more subsidised than nuclear power, the only difference being that instead of the levy falling on the electricity user, in the case of nuclear the levy falls on every taxpayer, as the government distributes our largesse for us, without option, and as usual when the government pays out it has scant regard for economics.
Instead of making decisions behind our backs, the government should be sponsoring a national discussion about nuclear power, and about wind power, and put all the pros and cons on the table in an honest way. But I guess pigs will fly first.
And, for all our Nimbys' ceaseless ranting, it's interesting that throughout the world wind power is expanding at a much higher rate than in the UK.