Wind energy and electricity production in the UK
WinACC briefings on wind energy are in the attachments on the full article.
Wind is a convenient source of renewable energy for this country - both onshore and offshore. The UK is relatively windy. Wind turbines produce no greenhouse gases by their operation. Their ‘fuel’ is free and relatively unlimited and they can be removed very easily.
Wind produces less than a third of the greenhouse gas emissions produced by nuclear, and less than a twentieth of that produced by gas or coal, for every unit of electricity produced, including emissions from the manufacture, maintenance and decommissioning of equipment, and production and transport of fuel.
Today, the cost of electricity from onshore wind, without subsidy, is similar to that produced by gas, coal or nuclear. Wind energy is likely to become relatively cheaper as the prices of gas, coal and nuclear fuel rise. Offshore wind energy is currently more expensive than all the options mentioned.
As we know, the wind varies. But wind is generally predictable a few days in advance, and standby generation is used when necessary. This is the same as what happens when a popular television programme ends and kettles are switched on.
Anyway, winds vary across the country. Low wind in one place doesn’t necessarily mean low wind speeds everywhere.
Over a year, a wind turbine in the UK produces about a quarter of the power that it would if it was running at full capacity the whole time. But the fuel is free, and the cost of wind turbines low compared with other methods of generation.
Centre for Sustainable Technology publication dispels myths and misconceptions surrounding wind technology. Common concerns about wind power
Website with articles and discussion on wind and climate change at http://www.skepticalscience.com/wind-carbon.html
Article from the journal of the Institute for Public Policy Research on why wind power is an effective technology - Beyond the bluster.