February 4, 2005

Expensive side show

The Scotsman features a debate this week between David Bellamy, botanist and conservationist, and Duncan McLaren, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, on the question, "Are wind farms the answer to Scotland's energy needs?" A comment:
Duncan McLaren describes the urgency of the climate crisis and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He does not, however, describe any evidence that sprawling wind facilities (30-60 acres per installed megawatt) are in fact a good way to reduce such emissions, let alone preserve the environment.

A year ago, the Irish grid published a study among whose findings was, "The cost of CO2 abatement arising from using large levels of wind energy penetration appears high relative to other alternatives."

A similar conclusion was found in a leaked German government report, as recently reported in the Telegraph: that reduction of greenhouse gas emissions could be achieved much more cheaply by simply installing filters on existing fossil-fuel plants.

At a Danish Wind Industry Association meeting in May last year, the head of development of Elsam, which operates over 400 MW of wind power in Denmark, stated, "Increased development of wind turbines does not reduce Danish CO2 emissions."

At best, large-scale wind power is a very expensive (to most, not to the investors of course) side show and certainly not worth industrialising the landscape for.