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IPPR on wind

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has got together with some green energy consultants to discuss whether wind energy is a Good Thing. Given the nature of the co-authors, I'm sure you can guess their conclusions.

The authors propose what they call a steady state model of the electricity grid.

Adding wind energy to electricity supply without altering demand will displace or push out an equivalent amount of supply from the marginal plant.

Having established a simple model of the electricity system, in order to estimate the carbon impact of adding wind energy we need to first establish which generation type is the ‘marginal plant’ and secondly how much CO2 it emits. In the UK there are two fossil-fuel candidates for the role of the most common ‘marginal plant’ – coal and gas.

Now this is a bit sneaky. The authors start by discussing the "marginal plant" and then move on to discussing not the candidates for that marginal plant but the "fossil fuel candidates". How did that pesky modifier make it into the sentence. As Gordon Hughes points out in his report "the key margin in the UK is
between wind and nuclear power".

If you make nuclear uneconomic by replacing part of its output with subsised wind power, you will lose all of its output and will have to make up the shortfall with inefficient open-cycle gas generation. You have replaced completely carbon-free generation with a mixture of carbon-free and carbon-intense generation. So depending on how much wind you have in the system and how the rest of your electricity is generated it is certainly possible to increase your carbon emissions.

To their credit the authors mention the system effects in their report, although it is left out of the conclusions, which are based solely on the naive "steady state" model. Their justification for this presumably relates to a draft paper they cite which found that carbon emissions have been reduced on US electricity grids. Given what we have said about the importance of the relative proportions of different generation types in the system, it's not clear to me that the US experience translates to the UK, but the paper is certainly worth a look.

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Reader Comments (56)

Today (31st Aug) is the last day for submissions for/against the proposed Atlantic Array offshore wind "farm" which I believe will be an environmental and economic disaster for the SW of England/Wales.

I've sent my submission in and if you wish to do the same you can find details and guidance on

Aug 31, 2012 at 8:14 AM | Registered CommenterAndy Scrase

The only CO2 saving in US grids is replacing coal with methane. In all cases though, in the absence of hydro to sink major wind power surges, the windmills cause more CO2 emissions from the standby plant and reduce its life.

Want to have wind? Stop trying to dominate the synchronous grid and relegate above 10% to secondary grids, e.g chlor-alkali plant.

Aug 31, 2012 at 8:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

This morning the UK is on the edge of a high pressure area and consequently winds are fairly light across much of the country. But there is some wind: for example, when I look out of my window, I can see tree branches moving quite vigorously. Nonetheless, the totality of our wind installations (over 3,000 wind turbines, onshore and offshore) is contributing only 836 MW to a national demand of 36,860 MW - i.e. 2.3% ( And that's despite all the investment, all the subsidies, all the disruption, all the damage ...

Aug 31, 2012 at 8:39 AM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

PS: coal is contributing 43.5%. It would require about 60,000 windmills to achieve that this morning.

Aug 31, 2012 at 8:44 AM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

I could not agree with your comments more Robin. I am unlucky enough to live near turbines. They stand still for days on end, especially during freezing conditions, when the pressure is high and in high winds.
The subsidy for them should be cut . The question I do not understand is why the unions are allowing this to prevail? We need a sensible energy policy to create jobs and growth but more importanly energy!

Please support this petition and tweet it to friends and family.

Aug 31, 2012 at 8:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterotters

"Adding wind energy to electricity supply without altering demand will displace or push out an equivalent amount of supply from the marginal plant."

So what are they saying in English? If you dont force people to use less power then you are going to take the amount that they use out of what is already being provided...and f8ck me, Ive gone cross eyed!


Aug 31, 2012 at 9:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Long De Spiegel article on how Germany is struggling to find a balance in energy supply.

"Germany Rethinks Path to Green Future"

"Simultaneously enthusing the population and putting the breaks on the race toward the renewable-energy future promises to be an unenviable communications challenge for even a silver-tongued politician like Altmaier. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a choice since the two are interwoven: Attractive feed-in tariffs have given eco-friendly electricity production such a boost that the expansion of the power grid and many other projects simply haven't been able to keep pace. Timetables are being mixed up, costs are spiraling out of control, and every day that the chaos continues, the green-republic project risks losing more supporters."

"In an attempt to bring some order back into the energy turn-around, Altmaier now wants "to work out a coherent concept for reforming subsidies for green power generation." He hopes this will cut costs without crushing all the country's eco-friendly dreams, while at the same time winning the backing of opposition politicians.

Read it all:-

Aug 31, 2012 at 9:34 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Am I the only one who finds this saga depressing and boring? Pity the research field where you can guess a report's results by the name of its authors.

Science it ain't.

Time for the 'experts' to bang their heads together and report together what they disagree and what they agree upon. Everything else, a waste of time.

Aug 31, 2012 at 9:36 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Mailman: they are trying to claim wind energy is exactly equivalent to that from other plant so when windmills speed up and the CCGT has to slam on the brakes, the latter is the new 'norm'.

They want windmills as a symbol of totalitarian domination with the population, like the poor CCGT being forced to emergency stop, subservient to 'the cause'. This is their version of a Pol Pot regime, the proles toiling in the fields in the previously industrialised West, the Marxist bureaucrats living in dachas.

Aug 31, 2012 at 9:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

This report is predicated on nonsense:

"To ascertain this, we need to think about how supply adjusts to meet demand in the electricity system and use this model to tell us something about what happens when changes are made – in this case adding wind generation. To maintain the stability of the electricity system supply must equal demand at all times. However, in Great Britain’s electricity market, like nearly all electricity systems, supply tends to increase and decrease in response to changing demand, on a minute by minute basis, based on the price for which each power station is willing to supply an additional unit (a megawatt hour, MWh) of electricity. As demand increases, generation types with low marginal cost of production are selected (by the market) first. As demand for electricity increases, generation types with progressively higher marginal costs begin operating – the generation type that has the highest marginal cost being the last to start generating in response to increases in demand and the first to shut down as demand reduces. This generation type is known as the ‘marginal plant’."

Anyone ever heard of windmills bidding their generation to the grid operator?

Wind energy is dumped onto the grid on the basis 'here it is, take it, we don't want it, we've got our ROCs thank-you'. It's then up to the grid operator to find some fossil fuel operator to operate their plant to compensate not just for UK demand changes, but now for the variability/intermittancy of wind generation. Of course, when that operator does so, it increases the emissions of their plant . . .

Aug 31, 2012 at 9:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

"steady state"

This will only occur when there is no wind. Quite steady then.

Aug 31, 2012 at 9:57 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp

> This will only occur when there is no wind. Quite steady then.

Quite common then.

Aug 31, 2012 at 10:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Aug 31, 2012 at 8:14 AM Andy Scrase

Today (31st Aug) is the last day for submissions for/against the proposed Atlantic Array offshore wind "farm" which I believe will be an environmental and economic disaster for the SW of England/Wales.

I've sent my submission in and if you wish to do the same you can find details and guidance on

Well done. Mine is on there for both consultations. Note this is only a consultation exercise wherin RWE will ignore anyone against it (as they did with the first consultation).

The real work of objection starts when RWE put in a planning application to the IPC, probably later this year.

Aug 31, 2012 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The IPPR is mentioned by Guido who picks out the point that the people writing the report are in the wind industry and so it's not surprising that the report is in favour.

Aug 31, 2012 at 10:11 AM | Registered Commentersadbutmadlad

Is this actually a technical report? Or a socialist political pamphlet and PR exercise for the wind industry? There doesn't seem to be much supporting data.

Aug 31, 2012 at 10:24 AM | Unregistered Commenterfenbeagle

"Without altering demand" is an assumption out of thin air.
Demand varies with price - that is as basic as anything gets in economics, known bt even the most economically illiterate "economists". Thus if price is going to go up, which it obviously is, then the crossover amount demanded will actually drop. This is what we currently see.

Since electricity use closely correlates with economic output that also means we go into recession. This is also what we currently see though, for some reason, the political class are unwilling to take credit for their achievement and indeed often pretend they want to end the recession.

Aug 31, 2012 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Craig

fen: It's a socialist political pamphlet and PR propaganda exercise. There are no references to any opposing technical papers, apart from that of Ruth Lea.

Aug 31, 2012 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Lynas on twitter links to a blog where somebody computed that, according to the IPPR report, carbon displacement by wind is going to cost £130/tonne.

That's more than six times the expected carbon cost in 2020 and a surefire way to get wind to displace gas, not coal.

If this is the best the wind guys can come up with IN THEIR FAVOUR, well, wind is soon destined to be...gone with the wind! 8-)

Aug 31, 2012 at 12:11 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Up in Cambridge recently. Drove past a wind farm on A11 (must be close if not in Yeo's constituency) with 13 turbines; 6 operating, 7 not. Can't be anything to do with the wind. Perhaps we were paying for the 7 not to turn. I doubt maintenance was the reason - it was a bank holiday weekend.

Aug 31, 2012 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy

Re: Grumpy

> 6 operating, 7 not. Can't be anything to do with the wind.

It probably isn't. Wind turbines need to turn periodically. If they don't it will warp the shaft the turbines are mounted on. When there isn't enough wind to turn the turbines they periodically draw electricity from the grid to turn them. What you might be seeing is six of the turbines being turned so as to prevent the shaft warping. If go back later you might see the first six idle and the other seven being turned.

Aug 31, 2012 at 12:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Hmm no wind not a breath today and the wind farm out side my window is turning nosily but merrily? but strong wind yesterday and the field had to be turned off due to failures so more crane hire at £1000 a day just for the truck the last one was here for 8 days to change a motor and this isn't anecdotal I talked to the driver !
lol no wind it works any wind and it breaks but the cash flows all the same !

Aug 31, 2012 at 12:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterMat

What he ended up with is respondents with no shred of doubt at all - who have fixed opinions about everything - aliens, nazis in Oklahoma, SARL, AIDS - you name it. Including a number who think that global warming is a conspiracy to place alongside 9-11 and the murder of Martin Luther King.
Anyone here recognise themselves in that description?
Aug 31, 2012 at 12:04 PM geoffchambers

Nope not even me.

Which leaves us with just relatively sane, AGW enthusiast, regulars at the exclusively warmist blogs - who filled in his stupid questionnaire with the most extreme answers for a giggle.

Some of their posts at the time made it obvious this was the intention.

Incidentally, if he claimed to have offered the survey to a number of sceptic blogs who refused to co-operate, but in fact he hadn't - that would be scientific fraud, wouldn't it?

Aug 31, 2012 at 12:47 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

As far as I am concerned any generator that produces energy on a part time basis, not 24/7, must be called ''marginal''. But I live in the real world with the majority of this planet not talking behind closed doors getting paid enormous sums of my money as a QUANGO.

Aug 31, 2012 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall

If anybody cares to confirm McInnes' results, we can then certify the death of Wind Power by Ground-Based Turbines, coinciding with the publication of the IPPR report.


Aug 31, 2012 at 12:48 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Foxgoose - there must be a little wind left around, as your comment was blown to the wrong thread ;-)

Aug 31, 2012 at 12:49 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Without reference to any technical backup information, surely it is clear to the most brainless of MPs (apart from those benefitting financially from them) that wind farms are completely useless as a means of producing electricity.
As a means of picking the pockets of the ordinary electricity consumer, and transferring the proceeds to the pockets of wind farmers - yep, they are brilliant at that...!

Aug 31, 2012 at 12:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

"And yet the turbines nearest to me seem to be almost all working almost all of the time"

Output varies as the third power of wind speed, and most will typically need 8-10 mph before producing anything worth talking about. So just because your turbines are turning doesn't mean they are contributing any useful power to the grid. Plus, as Terry S points out, they may actually be DRAWING power from the grid...

Isn't the truth just great!

Aug 31, 2012 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave ward

This is from Kinky Keith on JoNova:

'The green-left would say that “Big Oil”, “Big Coal” and that other favourite, The “Big End Of Town” are all that stands between us and a Perfect Climate. A complete Nonsense. Unbeknownst to them, the other bigs have been busy establishing their Greenness in a cunning ploy to enable Governments everywhere to funnel huge amounts of money into their accounts under the guise of Saving the Planet.

Big Renewables, Big Green and Big Climate Change Incorporated are not clean-skins that they want us to believe. They are selling us a solution to a problem that does not exist. That activity could be defined as FRAUD.

Carbon abatement cannot prevent man made “Climate Change” because there is no such mechanism or process. The sooner the financial attachments of the new “Green Bigs” is established and debated widely in the media the better off we will all be........

Aug 31, 2012 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Here in Oz the Government has long outlawed nuclear power, so our backup for failed wind and solar is gas turbine.
I know that wind has failed because I'm into photography. Every time I take a photo of a wind farm, the blades are not turning. By some cunning stunt, the machines have motors built into them to turn the blades when a video is to be made. It's a scam, like faking the moon shots in Hollywood.

Aug 31, 2012 at 1:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington


I cannot state this strongly enough. ANYTHING AT ALL posted in response to a troll's lies and drivelling is a victory for them. Trolls care nothing for the truth and do not understand reason or argument. They simply post to spread FUD and to knock off course threads where far cleverer, better informed and honest people are trying to have an adult discussion.

I thought the Bish had excommunicated it, anyway?

Aug 31, 2012 at 2:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhil D

Foxgoose - there must be a little wind left around, as your comment was blown to the wrong thread ;-)
Aug 31, 2012 at 12:49 PM omnologos

Oops ;-(

Aug 31, 2012 at 2:42 PM | Registered CommenterFoxgoose

well, well, well...

31 Aug: BBC: Richard Black
Farewell and thanks for readingThis is my last entry for this page - I'm leaving the BBC to work, initially, on ocean conservation issues.
While this page will no longer be updated, it will stay here for reference...
To keep up to date with news and views about the environment, I hope you'll keep reading the science and environment pages of the BBC News website, and my science correspondent colleagues Jonathan Amos and David Shukman.

Aug 31, 2012 at 4:17 PM | Unregistered Commenterpat

BBC man Blacks just quit. where's the bubbly.

Aug 31, 2012 at 4:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterShevva

My bet is that he is going to work for the Pew Environment Group.
A google search for "Richard Black" and "Pew Environment Group" comes back with 13,000 hits.

Aug 31, 2012 at 5:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Personally I've always found the oceans to be doing just fine without any help from interfering human beings. Certainly I've never thought of them as being in need of "conservation".
Don't tell me! He's going to bore us all to death with stories about acidification and coral bleaching and polar ice and other similar crappy bits of (badly) received wisdom from FoE and WWF.
And no doubt his erstwhile colleagues at the Beeb will slaver over every press-released word he sends in their direction. Pardon me if I am less than thrilled by this!

Aug 31, 2012 at 5:16 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Update on Aug 31, 2012 by Bishop Hill
Colin McInnes analyses the IPPR report (H/T Omnologos) and finds that the implied cost of saving carbon through wind power is £130/tonne, which makes it absurdly expensive.

Once you have the land and a decent fence around it to keep deer out, it costs about £1 to plant a tree in Scotland. After 30 years each tree will have sequestered about 3 or 4 tonnes of carbon, depending on the species and soil etc. You can easily plant about 100,000 trees in a square mile. There are thousands of square miles of barren heather moorland in the Highlands, currently used for little more than recreational deer and grouse shooting. This seems like a much cheaper option then building expensive, unreliable and inefficent windmills, and it won't de-stabilise the power grid, or ruin the landscape either. Planting trees may even keep some greens happy.

Aug 31, 2012 at 5:54 PM | Registered Commenterlapogus

I know it’s easy to dismiss a report written and peer-reviewed by people who have a personal interest in the growth of wind power, but I suggest we should take it seriously because it’s probably representative of the advice being given to policymakers. I’ve heard many people ask how it’s possible that our politicians are pursuing such a manifestly absurd policy. The answer is that they don’t think it absurd. And that’s because reports such as this tell them that wind power is a viable, efficient and reliable source of energy.

Therefore this report should be taken seriously. And my next comment here (and I apologise now because it’s rather long) will attempt to do so in respect of the crucial matter of possible power outages.

Aug 31, 2012 at 6:27 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

There are many good reasons for criticising wind farms. But, in my view, the most serious is the risk of power failure when wind speeds are low or non-existent. It’s especially serious because, as I’ve said before on this site, no energy means no water, no trains, no phone systems, no computers, no traffic controls, no petrol stations, no factories, no airports, no central heating, no street lights, no refrigeration, no sewerage… etc. Had, for example, the UK’s energy depended substantially on wind during last February’s cold spell, thousands would have died of frostbite. Therefore, I believe the test of any proposal to make our electricity system substantially dependent on wind must show very precisely how any such risk would be eliminated.

How does the IPPR report measure up? Well, here’s the relevant summary:

The risks associated with ‘long, cold, calm spells’ have been overstated. The current electricity system is quite capable of managing these events.

In other words, there isn’t a problem.

So how does the detail of the report support such a positive statement? The answer is found on page 12. And it isn’t much of an answer. Having sensibly agreed that ‘long, cold, calm spells’ do happen, it refers specifically to an example in Ireland (where wind generation is a “far greater … proportion of total generation than the current GB system”). But, it says, there were no problems because the Irish system “has adequate conventional capacity in reserve”. That, it states boldly, “should provide great confidence for the UK’s electricity system”. And why is that? Well, it goes on to say:

In the case of the GB grid the current system has sufficient fossil-fuel generation in reserve to meet this requirement during a cold, calm spell. Should 20 per cent of all grid electricity be supplied from wind, which is approximately the ambition for the UK in 2020 (DECC 2010), studies suggest some additional conventional reserves [15-22% of “installed variable capacity” according to a footnote] will need to be available to the grid …

And that’s it. This absolutely critical matter is airily disposed of by a reference to a study that “suggests” something. And note the subtle shift from a reference to the adequacy of the current situation (also done in the summary quoted above) to little more than a passing reference to the critical question of how the Grid is supposed to cope when, as is planned, we have 20+% wind capacity. There is no explanation here as to how the UK, having phased out a substantial part of its coal and nuclear capacity, will somehow get that “adequate conventional supply” – nor any explanation of how “conventional reserves” of 15-20% of “variable capacity” will provide an adequate backup. Later on, the report refers rather vaguely (page 17) to the possibility of gas providing “the greatest certainty and lowest technical risk for making up the capacity shortfall” – provided it “is consistent with hitting emission reduction targets”. And if it’s not?

Conclusion: the report does not pass my test.

Aug 31, 2012 at 6:42 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

Robin: this peer reviewed report claims [Section 1] that because windmills are cheaper as marginal entries for the power system, they are preferred.

This is bare-faced lie and very clever lie. It's because if you have wind power, it has to be accepted first or you will be compensated for lost earnings AND earnings include a subsidy of average grid power cost [onshore] or double it [offshore].

So, by definition, windmill power cost is always more expensive than average but because they are always first in line, price is irrelevant.

It's called a false axiom designed to divert critical thinking from the fundamental lie.

Aug 31, 2012 at 6:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

The suggestion of conventional backup of 15-22% of “installed variable capacity” should be compared to the average production of approximately 25% of installed capacity. I.e., installing windmills of 100 MW faceplate capacity (which produces ~25 MW power, on average) must be accompanied by building fossil-fuel plants with 15-22 MW capacity. Contrast this with the capital cost of "plan B", constructing no windmills, only fossil-fuel plants with 25 MW capacity. [Well, actually a little higher than that -- availability isn't 100%.]

Aug 31, 2012 at 7:57 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Thanks, HaroldW, that's a useful observation.

Aug 31, 2012 at 8:32 PM | Registered CommenterRobin Guenier

While I haven't had the time to catch up with this, it was completed by an 'independent charity'. No law against opinions, but public authorities are required to have facts not opinions. It appears that this was peer reviewed by Cardiff University, other might check on this. As Universities are generally funded by public money, they fall under the Environmental Information Regulations (as per University of East Anglia). See the obligations in these in Section 5:

Suggest if people wanted to pursue this further, a suitable Access to Information on the Environment Request should be made to the University of Cardiff vis a vis ensuring accuracy of material peer reviewed and documents related to the same.

Finally, to me it has got to be the quote of the month, when asked recently at a public meeting in Germany as to whether electricity could be generated from sun and wind, the response of the EU Energy Commissioner was 'for christians that is decided by the Good Lord, otherwise the weather frog". An auto-translate should do it for non-german speakers:

Aug 31, 2012 at 8:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterPat Swords

@ Pat Swords - Philip Bratby, myself and others have done some digging on Nick Jenkins on the "Trouble at the mill" thread. He's hardly what one might describe as "impartial".

This report also claims that coal would be the first conventional generator to be displaced by wind, which goes against what everyone else is saying. Other commenter's point out that large coal plants are very difficult to ramp up and down quickly, and that inefficient OCGT would be the normal choice for this balancing. As to wind being easy to predict - given that the Met Office can't get the weather right most of the time I'll pass on this one!

And don't I remember reading that one of the US states came within a few minutes of complete grid collapse, when a cold front blew in quicker than expected, drastically reducing both solar & wind power at the same time? IIRC it was only by invoking several interruptible contracts with large industries that power was maintained to the rest of the customers.

Aug 31, 2012 at 10:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave ward

A quick look at the IPPR site gives some background on how this "independent" charity is funded.
The EU is well represented - it is the only one in the "Greater than £100,000" subsection, and the "Third Sector" is devoted to funding charities with government money. BP, Centrica, GE & Shell contribute as do Greenpeace and British Gas.

I downloaded their 2011 accounts - unfortunately these don't give a detailed breakdown, but show a total income of just under £2.5M

Aug 31, 2012 at 10:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave ward

"And don't I remember reading that one of the US states came within a few minutes of complete grid collapse, when a cold front blew in quicker than expected, drastically reducing both solar & wind power at the same time?"

I'd love to see a source on this, to install in my "Climate Craziness" file, which I use for various argumentation. I live in California USA, where this type of thing is never contemplated.

Aug 31, 2012 at 10:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Tabor

I thought Steven Holliday, the CEO of National Grid (who also holds at least 2,155,427 shares of it) had the answer to wobbly supply by creating variable demand:
“We are all going to have to change our behaviour and consume electricity when it is available and available cheaply”.

Mind you, he probably gets a deal on his rates.

Then again there was the allegation that his marketing executive Laura Barker's career "had been ruined because she could not meet the ‘sexual demands’ of Holliday." Demand and supply: so complicated.

Read more:

Sep 1, 2012 at 12:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterBetapug

The marginal model from the IPPR is defectively simple; it only takes the amount of wind energy produced over the year and then states that these are actual savings. Of course, this is not he case, because in a marginal model all the costs required to arrive at the marginal electricity production must be taken into account. The 15,5 TW savings mentioned by the IPPR come straight from the IEA Wind Annual report and relate to a 4.2 % contribution to UK electricity demand, produced by 6.5GW installed capacity.

C. Le Pair has shown from official Dutch CBS data (not a calculation model!) that the current net fossil fuel savings, in the scenario that only about 4% of the national electricity demand is provided by wind energy, is only 1.6 % of the installed or "nameplate" capacity. For the UK these numbers will not be different. This means that the 15.5 terawatthours the IPPR has arrived at are net only 907 gigawatthours.

From this also follows that the 5.5 Megatonnes of CO2 saved are in reality only 325 kilotonnes. The money needed to manufacture, install, connect to the grid, maintain and remove the great number of wind turbines should be set against this meagre result.

C. Le Pair characterises this as follows:
"The net total of fuel saving electricity provided by our windturbines .... is about 1,6% of the installed capacity. It makes wind developments a Mega money pit with virtually no merit in terms of the intended goal of CO2 emission reduction or fossil fuel saving."

The outlook for a scenario with 20% wind energy contribution to the grid is even worse than the result above.

Le Pair's report can be found at

Sep 1, 2012 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlbert Stienstra

@ Dave Ward / Philip Bratby

If you check the Guardian:

• This article was amended on 30 August 2012. The original said that the study had been peer-reviewed by Nick Davis, the head of the Institute of Energy at Cardiff University. That should have been Nick Jenkins, and has been corrected.

Cardiff University falls under the FOI legislation: It therefore also fall under the UK Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and has obligations in relation to; accurate, up to date and comparable. Note: The definition of environmental information is very broad and includes energy, cost- benefit and other economic analysis.

As regards the EU, Regulation 1367/2006 applies, especially Article 5 in relation to their obligation to ensure that environmental information prepared by or on their behalf is accurate, up to date and comparable.

Of course when one goes after them on these issues, what one finds is really shocking, for instance see Section 11 of my Response to the UNECE questions:

It is sad that the reason why public officials and private organisations are getting away with what is basically corruption, is that they haven't been challenged. It is long overdue that this changed. Everbody knows that the IPPR report is full of inaccuracies, the reality is that Cardiff University in their role of peer reviewers had legal obligations in relation to ensuring the information was 'accurate, up to date and comparable'. So too does the EU in relation to the output it sources from this organisation.

Sep 1, 2012 at 10:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterPat Swords

There are some excellent comments above, especially those that use actual operational data from the present instead of modelled data we used in the past. In the past, the physics of energy density and its harvesting were a big part of the economic modelling. The gap between say nuclear and wind was so huge and intractible that we thought that no sane person would embark upon windmills, except in a few small clearly recognised niche markets.
But people have installed grand windmills. This logically means, all being equal, that the windmill people either did not read the past data, or did not chose to use it. In turn, this logically throws a spotlight on the honesty and probity of people who proceeded down a large scale, highly uneconomic path, a path for which most of the gamblers cannot see fit to make an apology even now as the folly becomes hardship for battlers.
An apology is in order, because with the knowing involvement of governments in many countries, the scam has been approved, with the ordinary person being fleeced and large sums being diverted to the pockets of those in collusion with the critical government people. The names of some such are by now reasonably known as implicated.
This short story is not notable. If you seek a related historic comparison of energy corruption in government, look to the USA, searching President Harding and the Tea Pot Dome absurdity of the 1920s.
When will the wrong doers start to come forward to confess to past dishonesty?

Sep 1, 2012 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Sherrington

@ Steve Tabor - I think it was this story from 2008:

No mention of solar - that's my memory playing tricks! Sorry...

Sep 1, 2012 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered Commenterdave ward

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