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.