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Do windfarms work? | guardian.co.uk

The Duke of Edinburgh has reportedly said in a private conversation with the director of a windfarm company that wind turbines “never work”, that they are reliant on government subsidies and that their supporters believe in “fairytales”. …

Professor Jim Skea, research director of the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) and a member of the government’s independent Committee on Climate Change says:

The arguments against windfarms are: they are ugly, they don’t work and they need subsidies. In terms of the aesthetics, it’s a matter of taste. Some people like them, some don’t. There’s nothing scientific to say about that. On the “they don’t work” issue, it’s quite clear that they do generate electricity. If you look at the machinery they are getting nearly 30% compared to their peak capacity [the load factor]. There is a limited degree of predictability about the wind so they do need to be backed up. But not as much as people think because the law of statistics means that the wind is likely to be blowing somewhere.

The UK has one of the best wind resources in Europe. Far better than Germany. Going off-shore the wind resource is even better – with load factors up to 40%. If you are going to capture energy from wind it’s as good as you’re going to get. It’s just a question of whether you think it’s worth it. We as researchers say this is the best guess of the costs; it is a political choice whether you want to pay for it.

For more on this story, visit: Do windfarms work? | Politics | guardian.co.uk.

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