Wind power remains ‘crucial’ to UK energy security, Government insists

The UK Government has responded to an article in the Daily Mail which claims that producing electricity from offshore wind costs nearly twice as much as coal and gas-fired power stations.

The Mail article argued that the amount of electricity generated from wind farms had dropped by 20% in September 2014, despite 900 turbines coming online in 2013.

But the Government has been quick to respond, with the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) stating: “The article fails to use the latest figures which were published on 18 December 2014.

“They showed that despite unusually low wind speeds in September, wind generation in the three months to October had increased by 5.9% in comparison to the same period the year before.”

The Mail also claimed that off-shore wind turbines take power from the National Grid to keep their blades rotating in cold weather when not generating electricity.

However, a spokesman for RWE, an energy company which owns 30 turbines off North Wales, said: “All energy generators use a small amount of electricity to keep their systems running smoothly, in the case of wind farms drawing power from either an adjacent operating turbine or the grid. These quantities are tiny compared to what is returned to the network.”

Record renewables

Figures show that electricity generated from renewables between August and October 2014 was up 24% compared with the same period in 2013, partly thanks to an increase in biomass production.

The Government statement concluded: “Investing in renewable energy is crucial to improving our energy security, as well as stimulating economic growth and reducing emissions. Since 2010 we have more than doubled the amount of electricity from renewables.

“We now have a record amount of green electricity, with over 15% of electricity coming from renewables. In October 2014 we produced more electricity from renewables than from nuclear for the first time ever.”

Earlier this week, data from the National Grid revealed that UK wind power generation rose by 15% in 2014.

In December, David Cameron claimed the public was “fed up” with onshore windfarms and said the country did not need any more subsidised turbines on land now that the energy source was capable of providing 10% of UK energy.

However, record renewable generation in the third quarter of 2014 led clean energy trade association RenewableUK to claim the Prime Minister was wrong to attack onshore wind.

Lois Vallely

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