The bottom line is that the renewables debate, and investment in it, is as much about ideology and political belief as it is about economics and environmental issues. When the real cost of turbine power as a major player toward our future power needs is assessed, the answer just ain’t “blowing in the wind”.
Despite public subsidies to the UK wind industry of over $500 million the government has so far only seen that such a massive investment provided less than half of one percent of the UK’s electricity needs.
Even in Europe’s windiest country, the winds are just “too variable”, with most turbines consistently under-performing. Having analysed figures submitted to the UK electricity watchdog Ofgem on every farm’s load factor, Engineering Consultant Jim Oswald explained to the BBC, “It’s the power swings that worry us. Over a 20-hour period you can go from almost 100 percent wind output to 20 percent.”
the regularly repeated claim that Denmark generates 20 percent of its electricity demand from wind sources is highly misleading. That 20 percent of Denmark’s electricity is not supplied continuously from wind power. Such is the variability of supply that it relies heavily on the proximity of near neighbors Norway and Sweden to take their excess capacity.