November 14, 2005

High cost of wind energy

Letter to the Editor, The Times (London), Nov. 14, 2005:
Sir, The figure quoted for the payback time of wind turbines (letter,
November 7) is strictly for the manufacture of the turbine itself and takes no account of the huge energy costs involved in making the massive foundations, the access roads, transmission lines, the re-engineering of other generating plant to enable switching in and out of intermittent supply, nor a share of the costs of back-up conventional plant on spinning stand-by. It is these costs that make wind energy not so attractive and make financial pay-back time more like seven years. For a lifetime of some 25 years per structure this is far less attractive and were it not for massive subsidy the current scramble to despoil our upland areas would not be taking place.

Brampton, Cumbria
Note that the writer limits himself to the financial payback time. It is probable that the wind turbines never pay back the energy their manufacture, transport, installation, and operation require. See "The Low Benefit of Industrial Wind" at

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