Written in 2000 by the Country Guardian, the UK's leading 'action group', this report addresses comprehensively wind issues in the UK. As one of the first papers of its kind, it is generally viewed as a 'classic' and 'required reading' for those interested in becoming thoroughly familiar with the diverse impacts of industrial wind.
Editor's Note: Recently updated, Elizabeth Mann's extensive research on the deceptive measures employed by proponents of industrial wind energy in the UK at both the national and local level should prove quite useful to opponents of wind energy in the UK.
This report focuses on the effects of wind
farms on air defense and missile warning radars and the resulting potential impact on
military readiness. Its scope is limited to these specific subjects and is based on the
current level of understanding regarding interactions between such defense systems and
state-of-the-art wind turbines.........
The results from those flight trials documented that
state-of-the-art utility-class wind turbines can have a significant impact on the operational
capabilities of military air defense radar systems. The results demonstrated that the large
radar cross section of a wind turbine combined with the Doppler frequency shift
produced by its rotating blades can impact the ability of a radar to discriminate the wind
turbine from an aircraft. Those tests also demonstrated that the wind farms have the
potential to degrade target tracking capabilities as a result of shadowing and clutter
..neither renewable energy nor greater energy efficiency can provide the complete solution to the shortfall we face. This will depend on securing energy supplies from abroad, in new nuclear power stations to replace those becoming obsolete and replacing older coal-fired stations with cleaner, more efficient technology.
Link to recent program aired in the UK
This important document examines the real cost of wind power after factoring in accomodations for wind's variable nature and the need to site projects long distances from load.
Wind generated electricity requires back up capacity of conventional power stations. This capacity is required to deliver electricity to consumers when wind supply is falling short. To have the non-wind power stations ramp up or down to compensate for the stochastic wind variations causes extra efficiency loss for such power stations. How much efficiency is lost in this way and how much extra fuel is required for this extra balancing of supply and demand is unknown. In this article we attempt to make an educated guess.
The extra fuel required for the efficiency loss must be added to the fuel required building and installing the wind turbines and the additions to the power cable network. While these extra requirements may be too small to notice when the installed wind power is a small fraction of the total capacity, matters change when wind capacity becomes significant. Based on the German situation with 23 GW installed wind power we show that it becomes doubtful whether wind energy results in any fuel saving and CO2 emission reduction. What remains are the extra investments in wind energy. The authors are formerly with Shell & STW of the Netherlands. They can be reached by e-mail at these addresses: email@example.com and
This thesis studies the impact of large amounts of wind power on the Nordic electricity system. The impact on both the technical operation of the power system and the electricity market are investigated.
Editor's Note:The author's focus on the averaging effect of a multitude of small wind turbines spread over a large geopgraphical area understates the reliability problems associated with wind power, particularly the cascade effect as wind turbines drop off-line.
Large-scale use of wind power can alter local and global climate by extracting kinetic energy and altering turbulent transport in the atmospheric boundary layer. We report climate-model simulations that address the possible climatic impacts of wind power at regional to global scales by using two general circulation models and several parameterizations of the interaction of wind turbines with the boundary layer. We find that very large amounts of wind power can produce nonnegligible climatic change at continental scales. Although
large-scale effects are observed, wind power has a negligible effect on global-mean surface temperature, and it would deliver enormous global benefits by reducing emissions of CO2 and air pollutants. Our results may enable a comparison between the climate impacts due to wind power and the reduction in climatic impacts achieved by the substitution of wind for fossil fuels.
Eric Rosenbloom writes:
"Driving the desire for industrial wind power is the conviction that its development is necessary to reduce the effects of fossil and/or nuclear fuel use. Thus the local impacts of large industrial wind turbine installations are justified by a greater good of healthier air and water, reduction of global warming, and moving away from harmful mining and fuel wars. These are all without question important goals.
While the wind power industry tends to downplay its negative effects, many conservation groups call for careful siting and ongoing study to minimize them. There is debate, therefore, about the actual impacts, but there is none about the actual benefits. Even the most cautious of advocates do not doubt, for example, that "every kilowatt-hour generated by wind is a kilowatt-hour not generated by a dirty fuel."
That may be true for a small home with substantial battery storage, but such a formula is, at best, overly simplistic for large turbines meant to supply the grid. The evidence from countries that already have a large proportion of wind power suggests that is has no effect on the use of other sources. This is not surprising when one learns how the grid works: A rise in wind power simply causes a thermal plant to switch from generation to standby, in which mode it continues to burn fuel."
Author Rosenbloom goes on to take a look at the experience with industrial wind of Ireland, Denmark and Germany and concludes that wind energy's benefits are largely illusory and do not warrant the degradation of rural and wild areas.