BOB SWEET: Wind power support fuelled by misleading figures
By Bob Sweet.
Although the truth that wind energy cannot reduce fossil fuel usage and therefore cannot have any effect on our climate is reluctantly being accepted by our Government, the same arguments that were used to support the use of wind as a climate change combating wonder is still being pushed as something that can give us a secure clean energy supply.
The reason as to why wind power has had very little effect in reducing the amount of CO2 produced is because when a wind farm starts generating power, other generators see a drop in their demand for power.
They have no idea how long this will continue or how stable that change will be.
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Therefore, to maintain a secure supply, they must still keep burning fuel which means they are wasting it.
The national grid, which runs around parts of Cornwall and the South West together with what is called the local grid, is connected to secure reliable conventional power stations located all over the country. This system is very good at predicting our power requirements be it 500,000 people in Cornwall boiling a kettle at tea time or more people watching TV because the Olympics are on.
What it cannot predict is what the regional weather pattern will be and, therefore, how much power our scattered assortment of turbines will produce. Wind turbine power output is very sensitive to wind speed which compounds the problem.
We all know the weather in the South West does what it likes. We may boil for a week in summer and then stay indoors for the next to keep dry.
The fact is that all this hype about reliable local renewable power and us importing too much power from outside the region – as spouted by the likes of Julian German, Cornwall's Cabinet member for localisms, sustainability and devolution – is absolute rubbish.
One would only assume that such silly statements are either an attempt to defraud us or that they are spoken by a nice-but-dim politician.
When we are told that some wind farm will supply enough power for 3,000 homes, that does not mean that those turbines turning gently in the wind are always doing that.
Far from it because those misleading figures are derived by adding together all the randomly generated bits of power in a year and then dividing it by a number that is suppose to be a households average usage per hour, nothing to do with powering any number of homes at any instant. A wind turbine or solar panel cannot suddenly turn on when 3,000 people in Truro decide to boil a kettle.
Renewables are very good at making money but at the expense of all those that do not have it. If you pay someone several times the going rate to generate electricity, it stands to reason several other people will have to cover the cost. When we are told wind energy can be as cheap as 2p per unit, that's another attempt to fool us as that figure is the cost to the wind farm – not what it will cost us customer.