UK Energy Minister: Windfarms Are ‘Extremely Inefficient And Costly’

  • Date: 16/11/12
  • Fiona Harvey, The Guardian

Windfarms are “extremely inefficient and costly” and will not be able to replace gas or nuclear power generation, according to a letter sent by the Conservative energy minister, John Hayes, which reveals the extent of his antipathy to the technology.

It is well known that Hayes is sceptical about onshore wind and he was slapped down by his boss at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc), Ed Davey, last month for saying that “enough is enough” for windfarm growth. But the letter gives the clearest account of his objections and is likely to concern proponents because it repeats misapprehensions about the technology.

In a letter to the chief executive of South Holland district council, seen by the Guardian, the energy minister said: “Wind turbines … create barely a trickle of nonstorable electricity and none at all when wind speed is unsuitable. They will always have to be backed up by conventional power stations because of their unreliability. Because the wind by nature is intermittent and cannot generate a steady output of energy to supply constant demand, even thousands of wind turbines won’t replace gas or nuclear power generation.”

The letter is dated 14 July 2012, barely two months before the reshuffle that put Hayes into the energy minister’s job.

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