WIND MYTHS BLOWN AWAY
A new report from Oxford University shows that the UK has the best wind
resource in Europe.
Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks said the new research was “a nail in the
coffin of some of the exaggerated myths peddled by opponents of wind power”.
The report by the university’s Environmental Change Institute and
commissioned by the Department of Trade and Industry analysed hourly wind
speeds collected by the Met Office at 66 places across the UK since 1970,
making it the most extensive research of the country’s wind resource.
Richard Ford, head of grid and technical affairs at the British Wind
Energy Association, said: “This report confirms what the industry has long
known about the quality of the UK’s wind resource. Our colleagues in
Europe are perplexed that given this abundant natural resource, a
strategic energy source as important as North Sea oil, this country has
been slow to install turbines to harness the power of the wind.”
The key findings are: ¬∑ The UK has the best wind resource in Europe. The
recorded capacity factor for onshore wind energy in the UK is 27 per cent,
greater even than in Germany (15 per cent) and Denmark (20 per cent) where
wind farms are currently most widespread. ¬∑ Availability of wind power in
the UK is greatest at precisely the times that it’s needed – during peak
daytime periods and during the winter. ¬∑ The UK wind resource is
dependable. There is little likelihood of low wind speeds affecting 90 per
cent of the country: it only occurs for one hour every five years. ¬∑ Wind
turbines shutting down because of very high wind speeds is rare. High
winds affecting 40 per cent or more of the UK would occur in around one
hour every 10 years and never affect the whole country.
The report’s author, Graham Sinden, from the Environmental Change
Institute research team, said the UK wind resource offered a reliable
source of electricity that was not only low carbon but reduced the UK’s
reliance on imported fuels.
Mr Wicks said: “The only sensible debate about energy is one based on the
facts. This new research is a nail in the coffin of some of the
exaggerated myths peddled by opponents of wind power.”