Archive for Wind Energy
www.telegraph.co.uk 10th February 2011
The 280ft wind turbine in a business park near Reading has received £600,000 from the government in subsidies since it began producing electricity in 2005. However, since then it has been running on an average of 17% capacity. Last year, the turbine produced £100,000 worth of energy put received £130,000 in subsidies (£48 for every MWh generated). A spokesman for the wind turbines owner Ecotricity said: ”The turbine is designed to power the business park and has been doing a good job. They are happy with it and we are happy with it.” The news comes amid an effort in government to make sure wind farms are only built in areas with enough wind for them to make economic sense.
www.telegraph.co.uk 27th September 2010
A report by the United Kingdom Energy Research Centre (UKERC) has revealed that due to the spiralling costs of steel as well as the decline in the value of the pound, off-shore wind power farms are now almost twice as expensive as fossil fuels in producing electricity. It is also 50% more expensive than nuclear power. Considering Britain is now the biggest off-shore producer of wind energy in the world, creating more power than the rest of the world put together, some will ask why the government is determined to drive ahead with its plans to use wind power as a way of achieving 30% of the state’s electrcity needs by renewables energies by 2020. The news coincides with the opening of the world’s biggest wind farm off the Kentish coast. The Thanet windfarm, created by Swedish company Vattenfall, cost £780 million to construct 100 turbines of 300 feet. It will power 200,000 homes. The farm takes the UK total to 436 off shore turbines and 2,640 on-land. The government hopes to increase these numbers to 4,000 off-shore and 6,000 on-shore. One major factor in the soaring prices of the off-shore funds is using external contracts. By creating the wind-turbines in the UK not only would costs be reduced to a similar level with on-shore development (which is equal to fossil fuels), but will also create new industry within the UK.
www.nationalgeographic.co.uk 15th September 2010
Biologists in the USA, searching for birds killed by a wind farm in West Virginia, have discovered the bodies of hundreds of bats. The effect on the species has been underestimated but now scientists have concluded that the Mountaineer Wind Energy Center on Backbone Mountain kills between 1,400 and 4,000 a year. The bats most affected by the turbines are the rarer migrating species such as hoary bats and eastern red-tailed bats. It appears that migrating bats are attracted to tall, windmill like towers although no one knows why. Those that are not killed by the spinning blades of the turbine (reaching speeds of 200mph at the tips) are sucked into the low pressure pocket behind them causing ruptured lungs and hearts. Two solutions are currently available to help curb the number of bat deaths. The first is to fire ultrasound noise from the turbine to drive the bats away. However, nobody knows what effect this will have on other wildlife if ultrasound is played constantly. The second is to switch the wind farms off when the bats are most active.
Bats in the USA are already having a hard time due to White Nose Syndrome which is killing hundreds of thousands of cave-dwelling bats along the East coast.
Sources: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment 9th September 2010
Europe is well on its way to producing over half of its energy from wind by the year 2050. Although currently only 5% of Europe’s energy comes from the renewable energy source, 40% of new energy generators constructed are wind turbines putting the EU on track to producing 15% of energy by wind by 2020. The success is due to the European Union who have introduced a series of progressive measures including financial incentives, tax credits, and priority access to national grids for wind energy. They also reserve the right to fine member states if they do not attain agreed levels of renewable energy production. The rate of wind farm production may be set to rise as they replace worn out coal and gas stations. With 200,000 already employed in the EU in the wind industry, it is expected this number to rise to 450,000 by 2020.
To read the Guardian’s interview between Yale Environment 360‘s senior editor Fen Montaigne and Christian Kjaer, CEO of the European Wind Energy Association, click here.