Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Rape of the Fair Country.

It was 1959 when Alexander Cordell wrote the first of his trilogy about iron making in Blaenafon, two centuries later the millionaire descendants of those iron masters are still at it, scarring the Welsh landscape with inefficient wind turbine monstrosities. The decsion today by Charles Hendry to grant planning permission for 76 massive wind turbines above the village of Glyncorrwg was disappointing and further evidence that Westminster takes scant regard of the views of the people of Wales.

Let's be in no doubt about it, this decision is 'exploitation' at its worst, Wales and Scotland are having their landscapes scarred to produce electricity in a most inefficient way and then transported hundreds of miles for end users. The land area of Wales is 8,019 square miles whilst the land area of England is nearly 50,000 square miles. England is six times more than Wales but Wales has half the wind turbine Megawatt capacity (438MW) of England (980MW). The situation in Scotland is much worst; where the land area is 30,000 square miles but has 3 times as much Wind Power capacity (2,813MW) as England. The situation with Offshore turbines is reversed where Wales has 150MW capacity, Scotland 190MW and England has a whopping 1,150MW wind producing capacity. I don't suppose this has anything to do with protecting England's green and pleasant land has it?

So we know how much capacity we have but how much electricity does that capacity generate? The total UK capacity in 2011, was 6470MW which produced 15,525GWh (Giga Watt Hours) per annum, which is 2.4 GWh per MW capacity. In 2011, this varied between the 3 countries, in England and Wales it was 2.5GWh whilst in Scotland it was 2.3GWh, it might not look a lot but it actually equates to 647,000 houses with solar panels generating electricity for 12 months (Based on 2MWh per house per annum).

The DECC (Dept of Climate Change) Statistics page kindly provides us with capacity and generation data for offshore and onshore for the last 5 years but on an UK level and not constituent countries. The data shows how unreliable and insecure wind power generation is. For example in 2010, 1 MW capacity onshore generated 1.76 GWh of electricity whilst offshore produced 2.27GWh. It is fair to say that in some years onshore installations has generated more electricity than offshore turbines but in the last 3 years offshore has out generated onshore wind turbines. What arguments there are for wind power is for offshore wind and not onshore

It is accepted that wind turbines only operate for 23% of the time and produce on average 2GWh, whilst a  1MW capacity 'traditional' power plant (including nuclear) operating at 100% will produce 8.76GWh per annum.

The evidence produced here is hardly a ringing endorsement for wind power and its time our representatives in Cardiff started to wake up and realise the dangers of covering our landscapes with turbines which dwarf Nelson's Column.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

'It was 1959 when Alexander Cordell wrote the first of his trilogy about iron making in Blaenafon"
The second two were set in Carmarthenshire and the Neath valley!!!

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

Glyncorrwg not too far from Neath then!

John Dixon said...

"It is accepted that wind turbines only operate for 23% of the time"

I don't often disagree with you, but in this case, no, it isn't. What is accepted is that wind farms only produce a percentage of their total nominal capacity; not the same thing at all.

There are times when turbines produce 0% of nominal capacity, and others when they produce 100% of nominal capacity. Even if we agree, for the sake of argument, the 23% figure (and newer turbines produce at a higher capacity than those currently installed, so the 'historical' figure cannot simply be applied to new capacity), producing at an average of 23% is not the same thing, in energy supply terms, as producing 100% for 23% of the time.

This is more than mere semantics; producing a variable (average 23%) amount of electricity for most of the time, and producing no electricity for 77% of the time are entirely different scenarios, and lead to entirely different conclusions.

And, by the way, no conventional or nuclear power plant produces at 100% of capacity all year round either; your comparison is invalid. Clearly, a power source depending on the weather is always likely to produce at a lower perecentage of nominal capacity than one fed with fuel from whatever source, but none can ever be relied on to produce at 100%.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather have 23% wind power than 100% nuclear.

I agree that we have to get control over our resources, but we'll need a voice louder than carwyn's wimpering tones to secure it.

Maybe a few more windfarms in lovely mid wales will finally convince the waverersand anti brigade to get behind the assembly and insist on more powers for wales.

Russell Gwilym Morris said...

NO MORE WIND FARMS IN WALES (reference to Glyncorrwg) . yes we need slow down global warming but Wales at moment produces more energy than it uses plus no u dont need stop all renewables as you dont need huge monster wind turbines when you can infact make a huge percentage of housing that is already in Wales have solar or mini turbines placed on their roof's. Also street lighting ,motorway lighting can be done by solar or wind . Their is potential there for Wales Plaid and the other parties to think 'outside the box'.Just needs the right people in the right positions to think a bit . So NO you don't need more Monster turbines In Wales . So Plaid , Labour , Cons and Libs think on it !

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

Nice one Russ, covering Wales in turbines is 10 times worse than Tryweryn.