England just not windy enough for wind farms, admits renewables boss

Never mind, we've got loads of sunshine. Right?

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The head of the wind industry’s trade body in the UK has admitted England isn’t windy enough for any more wind farms.

“We are almost certainly not talking about the possibility of new plants in England. The project economics wouldn’t work; the wind speeds don’t allow for it,” Hugh McNeal, head of Renewable UK told the Telegraph.

McNeal joined the lobby group from the civil service, where he was “Director of Change” (a real job title) at the Department of Energy and Climate Change during its most wind-friendly phase.

Subsidies for new onshore wind projects were canned on 1 April this year.

But if the UK isn’t windy enough for wind then surely it’s sunny enough for solar? The UK has long been a destination for Mediterranean folk seeking blue skies [steady now – ed.]; Shakespeare called it “this sun-bleached isle” [That’s enough sarcasm – ed.].

Strangely, no.

In his final interview before his untimely death, DECC’s chief scientific advisor David MacKay called it an “appalling delusion” that the UK could meet its energy needs from renewables.

Wind turbines were simply a "waste of money" in winter, for "when the wind blows you are going to have to either turn those wind turbines down or something else down that you have already paid for like the nukes or the CCS", he told Mark Lynas. Solar only worked in really sunny countries.

REF’s current "real" spot price for wind power is £101/MWh – once the train has been filled with gravy.

Only at the BBC are renewables cheap

Solar only works in really sunny countries, and a spate of high profile crashes (SunEdison and Abengoa, for example) suggests that where state subsidies are involved, even then it isn't a banker.

The international renewables agency IRENA recently admitted that renewable usage is actually falling in China, India and Mexico [pdf].

The EU quietly dropped its mandate that 10 per cent of transport be powered by renewables 2020 earlier this year. Bill Gates has called for the huge renewables subsidies wasted on wind and solar to be diverted to more potentially useful low carbon innovation. ®


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