Energy prices and wind power

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By AdFeatures | Tuesday, August 14, 2012, 09:47

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The wind may blow free, but the electricity that is generated from it is anything but. In fact it is far more expensive than any other form of electrical power though energy prices are soaring as a direct result of providing funding for ever more wind farms.

There is a good case for going green. That the planet has warmed over recent decades is an unquestionable fact; however the mechanisms that have caused it are not as clear cut. Certainly there is a correlation between the concentration of so-called greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere and the rate of global warming, but not all climate scientists accept that as sufficient evidence of causation.

Also current thinking is now ascribing the recent spate of extreme weather conditions that are being experienced all over the planet to global warming. Such extremes were anticipated once temperatures had risen much higher than they have currently, but it now seems that the scientists had been overly optimistic, they are with us now and are already impacting on wheat production in both the US and Russia, so be prepared to pay a lot more for your bread over the coming months.

This all begs the question as to whether wind power is the way to go; after all the technology might be expensive but the energy source, wind, is free.

Unfortunately that is not the case. If the wind blew consistently or even predictable, there might be a case to be made, but it does not and additional capacity, in terms of conventional power stations, is required for when the wind fails to blow.

Neither are wind farms particularly green. When the carbon footprint that includes the carbon dioxide associated with producing the concrete that is required for casting the foundations of the wind turbines is considered, they would appear to be more environmentally hostile than the latest gas burning power stations.

It is anticipated that electricity bills will rise by around £300 a household in order to support wind power and £124 billion of tax payers money will be ploughed into wind farms over the next eight years. One result will be an estimated 50,000 more households entering fuel poverty every year. Furthermore the latest gas fired power stations can generate electricity at just one tenth of the cost of that produced by wind power.

The target is to have sufficient wind power to supply 30% of our electricity by 2020, and the plan is to build 10,000 onshore turbines many in the particularly beautiful countryside. Of course some people find wind farms majestic, even beautiful, but for most they are a blight.

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