One of the UK's leading energy and environment economists warns that wind power is an extraordinarily expensive and inefficient way of reducing CO2 emissions. In fact, there is a significant risk that annual CO2 emissions could be greater as a result of Britain's flawed wind policies when compared with the option of investing in efficient and flexible gas combined cycle plants.
The study 'Why is wind power so expensive?' published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation is the first thorough analysis of the true cost of wind power.
In his report, Professor Gordon Hughes (Edinburgh University) finds that
- Meeting the UK Government's target for renewable generation in 2020 will require total wind capacity of 36 GW backed up by 13 GW of open cycle gas plants plus large complementary investments in transmission capacity at a cost of about £120 billion.
- The same electricity demand could be met from 21.5 GW of combined cycle gas plants with a cost of £13 billion, i.e. an order of magnitude cheaper than the wind scenario.
- Under the most favourable assumptions for wind power, the Government's wind policy will reduce emissions of CO2 at an average cost of £270 per metric ton (at 2009 prices) which means that meeting the UK's renewable energy target would cost a staggering £78 billion per year in 2020.
"The key problems with current policies for wind power are simple. They require a huge commitment of investment resources to a technology that is not very green, in the sense of saving a lot of CO2, but which is certainly very expensive and inflexible. Unless the current Government scales back its commitment to wind power very substantially, its policy will be worse than a mistake, it will be a blunder," Professor Hughes said.
The full report, with a foreword by Baroness Nicholson, is available here:
Bob Brown and his merry band of ecotards 100 per cent renewable energy push would cost a staggering $2.3 Trillion by the turn of the century.
It’s well past time to end the occupy wind subsides. If we don’t it will send us all broke.