Stuart Young Consulting, with support from the John Muir Trust, has released a report studying the ability of wind power to make a significant contribution to the UK’s energy supply. It concludes that the average power output of wind turbines across Scotland is well below the rates often claimed by industry and government.
Indeed, says the report, for numerous extended periods of time all the wind turbines in Scotland linked to the National Grid muster less than 20MW of energy – that is enough power for a mere 6,667 households to boil their kettles for a cup of tea.
Helen McDade, head of policy at the John Muir Trust, the UK wild land conservation charity, says: “This report is a real eye opener for anyone who’s been wondering just how much power Scotland is getting from the fleet of wind turbines that have taken over many of our most beautiful mountains and hillsides. The answer appears to be not enough, and much less than is routinely claimed.”
Stuart Young, author of the report, comments: “Over the two-year period studied in this report, the metered wind farms in the UK consistently generated far less energy than wind proponents claim is typical. The intermittent nature of wind also gives rise to low wind coinciding with high energy demand. Sadly, wind power is not what it’s cracked up to be and cannot contribute greatly to energy security in the UK.”
He adds: “It was a surprise to find out just how disappointingly wind turbines perform in a supposedly wind-ridden country like Scotland. Based on the data, for one third of the time wind output is less than 10% of capacity, compared to the 30% that is commonly claimed.”