Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Peter Gill on Wind Power

Re: Current policies on sustainability and climate change

This note by Peter Gill is from the Institute of Physics  forums.  Peter is chair of the London branch Institute of Energy and former chair Energy Group Institute of Physics.
Posted by Peter Gill on Mar 22, 2011 6:14 pm
The questions that you pose in your wind generator example require the consideration of economics, energy balance and environmental impacts. My simplistic view having only considered the subject for circa 10 years is that neither onshore nor offshore wind installations currently make economic sense except to those who can profit from heavy subsidies of one kind or another available ultimately from the comsumer (via government and the electricity companies). I have over the years (more than 10) argued on and off with Don Swift-Hook on the topic particularly about high pressure zones in winter.
I was less inclined to consider the overall energy balance for a different set of reasons that would require rather more space than appropriate here. Until recently I was somewhat naive over the (as I have now realised many) adverse environmental impacts. However as a consequence of conversations with Peter Taylor (ex chief scientific adviser to Greenpeace) and exposure to John Etherington’s views (ex Reader in Ecology at University of Wales) I have concluded that windfarms are not harmless.  As an AGW sceptic  I am not concerned about claims of savings in carbon dioxide emissions but in any case these are probably false because of low availability and the need for fiossil fuel back-up. Whilst the title of John’s book is rather emotionally evocative its contents tends to justify “The Wind Farm Scam An Ecologists Evaluation”, Stacey International 2009 ISBN: 978 1905299 83 6. If you read it you like myself will probably find it an eye opener.

1 comment:

  1. New research by the Canadian electrical engineer Kent Hawkins on power systems in the Netherlands, in Colorado and in Texas has found that wind power actually increases carbon emissions.He found that when the wind plant capacity reaches five percent of the overall system capacity then carbon emissions start to increase.He found this due to the constant inefficient ramping up and down of the fossil fuel back up plant because of the intermittency of the wind. (see www.masterresource.org)