Drop In Wind Speeds Takes Wind Out Of Wind Lobby
Parts of Scotland are gradually becoming less windy according to new research that environmentalists claim is further evidence of the “futility” of wind energy.
Scientists at Heriot-Watt university found wind speeds in the central belt have dropped by an average of 5% a decade since the 1970s.
The study, to be published in the scientific journal Renewable Energy, suggests wind energy is likely to continue to reduce in certain parts of the country.
It also challenges claims by the wind energy industry that 2010, regarded as one of the worst years on record for wind output, was a hiccup.
The study relied on wind speed data from several Met Office stations across central Scotland, from Edinburgh in the east to Islay in the west and south to Campbeltown. Records were available for up to 43 years at some sites, such as Machrihanish in Kintyre.
“On the time scale of the available wind records of 43 years at one site … it has been shown that the wind resource has significantly decreased and the decrease appears to have happened in a few discrete steps which had been masked by the large volatility of the wind climate,” the study concludes.
Researchers said that after accounting for a range of variables, such as the height of sites above sea-level, location, and surrounding land use, the data “still points to a persistent decrease of the wind resource in central Scotland at a rate of around 0.002 per year or around 5% over a decade at the better sites”…
Wolf-Gerrit Früh, author of the research, said: “I was surprised how big the change was. The move is for more green energy but if we change the climate, what happens to our wind resource?
“We cannot assume wind will be the same over 25 or 50 years.”