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Useless wind

I do not often agree with Niall Stuart of Scottish Renewables (Friends of The Scotsman, 11 March) but for once “changing land” unarguably describes what his trade association’s members are doing to our countryside.

Their wind turbines may be “largely out of sight of the 
energy consuming public” but they are very visible (and audible) to those who are forced to live near them.

However, he also repeats his industry’s misleading claim that the recent Contracts for Difference auction shows onshore wind power to be cheaper than nuclear.

Wind developments consented this year will receive around 9.5p/kwh. Older consents can be paid 10p/kwh, all of these guaranteed for the lifetime (up to be 25 years) of the site. New prices, which will not take effect until 2017, will be between 8 and 8.3p/kwh. While these are now somewhat lower than nuclear Hinkley C’s 9.2p, they are essentially “ex-works” prices and do not account for the infrastructure costs which intermittent wind generation in remote locations incurs but which Hinkley, providing reliable continuous generation on an established site, will not.

These, exemplified by £600 million for the Beauly-Denny power line and the costs that will be incurred when, as seems almost inevitable, Longannet is paid to remain on standby, have been independently estimated to be around 7.5p/kwh, nearly doubling the cost of wind.

Jack Ponton

Scientific Alliance 


Current Issues

Future costs of UK energy supply

The Scientific Alliance recently published part 1 of an examination of National Grid's Future Energy Scenarios, dealing with security of supply. We are now pleased to publish part 2 - cost of supply. The authors - Dr Capell Aris and Colin Gibson - conclude that building more gas and nuclear stations would be considerably less expensive than any of the NG scenarios, as well as offering better energy security.

What's New

14 October 2016: Read the new report by Dr Capell Aris, published jointly with the Adam Smith Institute - Solar power in Britain: the Impossible Dream