Friday, January 05, 2007

Finding good sites for wind turbines is not so easy

Wind farms in England and Wales are failing to generate the predicted amount of electricity

A study by the Renewable Energy Foundation shows that England and Wales are not windy enough to generate electricity at the rates projected for them. Government targets are based on wind farms running at 30% of capacity. But most farms in England and Wales are generating only around 25%. The two poorest performers have rates of no more than 7.7% and 8.8% respectively.

In the UK, only the wind farms in Scotland and those on the Orkney and Shetland isles run above 30% of capacity. But those sites face other problems. They are far from the main consuming areas, so significant amounts of electrical power are lost in transmission. Moreover, they are often located in ecologically sensitive areas. One example is the projected wind farm on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer-Hebrides. The site is controversial since it is located near important bird sanctuaries (see article in the Sunday Times).

This illustrates how difficult it has become to find acceptable sites for wind farms in Europe. The Renewable Energy Foundation has concluded that the most effective sites for wind energy are off-shore near major cities.

Reference

Article on Telegraph.co.uk

2 comments:

KM said...

Another issue brought to the fore on Lewis is the substantial disturbance of peat that would occur, releasing so much carbon that the turbines would require 25 years to make up for it (assuming the production and displacement claims of the developers).

Ian said...

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