Minister for Energy Charles Hendrey has defended onshore wind energy at a Westminster debate this week saying that the renewable energy technology is essential if we are to move to a low carbon economy.
Several Conservative MP’s – primarily Chris Heaton – Harris attacked wind energy as not being right for the UK at the debate held yesterday. Heaton – Harris claimed that onshore wind energy diverts valuable resources from “other renewables that do work and that people like“.
Hendry said the Government expects onshore wind energy to increase over the years ahead. “We recognise, of course, that wind is intermittent…. back-up is required, including from gas, coal or biomass. It could also be done through storage-pump storage and hydrogen or battery technologies are coming through at an impressive rate. That will start to move the technology on from working only when the wind blows to allowing electricity to be available when people need it” said the Minister.
Hendry went on to say “However, there is another side to the argument. Sizewell B one of our more recent nuclear power stations, has been out of operation for seven months. In that time, it did not produce a single unit of electricity, but our wind system produced 1.8 TWh of electricity, the equivalent of the annual consumption of 400,000 homes. We believe that security of supply comes from a mix of technologies. We cannot put all our eggs in one basket. Having a mix means that if there is a problem in one part, we have a better chance of keeping the lights on, and doing so affordably.
Turbines generally turn about 70% of the time. The load factor figures suggest that it is lower than that, but the turbines may be turning at a relatively low speed for 70% or 80% of the time; there are only a few hours when they are not generating. There was a period at the beginning of the year when they were contributing perhaps only 0.1% of our electricity consumption, but recent figures show that they have been producing 10%. The figures fluctuate, and they need to be seen as part of the totality of what is necessary.”
source: Theyworkforyou / Hansard