Councils waste millions on ineffective wind turbines that will take 190 years …

December 26, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Taking 30p as the average price of energy per kWh under the feed-in tariff,
this turbine generates £156 worth of energy a year or just £13 a month. At
this rate it would take 190 years to repay its original cost.

In Leeds a wind turbine costing £62,000 was installed in 2009 in an inner city
sports complex, but generated no energy last year due to faults.

In Derbyshire, a turbine costing £89,000 was installed in 2004 but has failed
to produce any energy since September 2011 due to a fault.

The council said it was “disappointed” adding that the company which supplied
the turbine no longer existed.

In Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire the council spent £30,000 on two turbines,
which generated 477kWh of electricity last year.

These turbines are on a lower tariff, which varies between 10.21p and 3.3p per
kWh, and produced £73.94 worth of power last year, a rate that would take
405 years to recoup their value.

However, the council said the “meter wasn’t operating properly” and it usually
produces 3,478 kWh, but this still means it would take more than 55 years to
repay its cost.

Dr John Constable, director at the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), said the
poor performance of wind turbines showed how they were an ineffective form
of renewable energy.

He said: “Wind energy is an experiment, and sometimes the lessons learnt are
hard and dearly bought. The truth is that foolishly ambitious targets and
silly levels of subsidy have overheated the wind industry, resulting in
defective technologies and poor installations.”

He said smaller turbines, which cover the turbines given in the responses, are
usually only expected to last between ten and 15 years.

Of the handful of local authorities that responded to the freedom of
information request about council-owned wind turbines, only three
authorities had wind turbines that would take less than 10 years to generate
enough to repay their original cost.

Rushcliffe council said it had looked at ways to increase efficiency but
found the wind speed was “relatively low” for the site. It also admitted due
to “unexpected” high maintenance costs and low generation rates “it is
unlikely the council will make a financial saving within the anticipated
lifespan of the turbine”.

Other authorities admitted their wind turbines are not producing the energy
expected. Two turbines in Staffordshire were installed at a cost of £48,545
in 2011. Last year they produced 12,986kWh. Under the feed-in-tariff this
will take more than 12 years to repay.

Mark Winnington, cabinet member for economy and infrastructure at the council,
said tests were ongoing as “energy output is lower than expected.”

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