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Big blow to wind as power source

Homes and businesses risk being left in the dark if governments get too sidetracked by wind power. A House of Lords report yesterday warned that over-reliance on wind power could prove risky and costly. It said that nuclear energy was a much cheaper and more effective, low carbon solution. ..."Current policies would take the UK into uncharted territory, with a dependence on intermittent supply unprecedented elsewhere in Europe.

Homes and businesses risk being left in the dark if governments get too sidetracked by wind power.

A House of Lords report yesterday warned that over-reliance on wind power could prove risky and costly.

It said that nuclear energy was a much cheaper and more effective, low carbon solution.

The report examined the costs of various forms of renewable energy with the UK poised to dramatically increase production.

To meet European targets it will need to multiply its share of renewably produced electricity from today's figure of just over five per cent, to between 30 to 40 per cent in just 12 years. The report questioned whether this target could be met, but said we must try.

Lord Vallance, chairman of the Lords Economic Affairs Committee, said wind power was the obvious choice to shoulder the lion's share of UK renewable electricity production.

But, as has been argued from day one, wind's intermittency posed a real headache.

"The UK is most likely to adopt wind power as its main means of producing more renewable electricity," said Lord Vallance. "This has an inherent weakness in that it cannot be relied upon to generate electricity at the time it... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Homes and businesses risk being left in the dark if governments get too sidetracked by wind power.

A House of Lords report yesterday warned that over-reliance on wind power could prove risky and costly.

It said that nuclear energy was a much cheaper and more effective, low carbon solution.

The report examined the costs of various forms of renewable energy with the UK poised to dramatically increase production.

To meet European targets it will need to multiply its share of renewably produced electricity from today's figure of just over five per cent, to between 30 to 40 per cent in just 12 years. The report questioned whether this target could be met, but said we must try.

Lord Vallance, chairman of the Lords Economic Affairs Committee, said wind power was the obvious choice to shoulder the lion's share of UK renewable electricity production.

But, as has been argued from day one, wind's intermittency posed a real headache.

"The UK is most likely to adopt wind power as its main means of producing more renewable electricity," said Lord Vallance. "This has an inherent weakness in that it cannot be relied upon to generate electricity at the time it is needed.

"Current policies would take the UK into uncharted territory, with a dependence on intermittent supply unprecedented elsewhere in Europe.

"To guard against power shortages, wind turbines would need to be backed up with conventional generation. Together with the requirement to replace almost a quarter of the UK's older generating capacity by 2020, this represents a massive investment programme.

"Whether it is achievable in the time available is open to doubt."

He added that new electricity storage technologies must be a priority as they could potentially smooth out the intermittent supply problems.

He also said generating heat for our homes from renewable energy must be expanded.

Keith Ross, of the Swansea Green Party, said no-one in their right mind would suggest that wind power could take over from gas, coal and nuclear.

And he agreed with the anti-wind power lobby that conventional forms of energy production would always be needed as back-up.

But he said the endless arguments about cost and efficiency risked missing a crucial point.

"These kinds of comparisons are irrelevant," he said. "The question is, can we afford not to do it? My answer is, of course we can't.

"This report is right to cast doubt on how we can achieve the (2020) target - but what is lacking is the political will to grasp this problem."

An Assembly Government spokesman said wind power was the most developed form of renewable energy production currently available, but it was only part of a mix.

He said it did depend on weather conditions, but that didn't mean high production was wasted during periods of lower electricity demand.

"Weather conditions can be broadly predicted, which means it is possible to adjust conventional electricity production accordingly," he said.


Source: http://www.thisissouthwales...

NOV 25 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/18063-big-blow-to-wind-as-power-source
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