New data casts doubt on Boris Johnson’s 2030 offshore wind plans

  • Date: 09/11/20
  • Press Release Global Warming Policy Foundation

London, 9 November: The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) has today written to the chairman of the Treasury Committee of the House of Commons providing new evidence for their inquiry into the Net Zero target.

The letter presents data from windfarm accounts showing that the wind industry has overestimated the technically accessible wind resource around the UK.

This new information shows that it will be necessary to introduce greater separation distances between wind turbines and wind farms, at greater costs.

This will force a move further away from shore, into much deeper water, and with a higher share of floating turbines, both increasing costs significantly.

The letter draws attention to evidence in the audited accounts of Burbo Bank Extension wind farm, recording payments made to another wind farm nearby, in compensation for reduced output caused by so-called “wake effects”. In effect, the Burbo Extension turbines have been taking the wind out of its neighbour’s sails.

Photograph showing the “wake effect” at the Horns Rev off-shore wind farm off the shores of Denmark. Source: Hasager et al. (2013)

The new evidence reveals that the industry has overestimated the density at which wind farms can be constructed, even at sea, an error that has serious implications for the Prime Minister’s aspiration for an additional 30 GW of offshore wind by the end of the decade.

GWPF director Dr Benny Peiser, said:

“Boris Johnson’s utopian wind ‘vision’ for 2030 was always going to be extremely expensive, but it now seems his plans may require spreading the wind turbines over a much bigger area, and in deeper water, with very significant environmental and economic implications. This is unlikely to be feasible, let alone affordable.” 

Letter to the chairman of the House of Commons Treasury Committee (pdf)