Friday, December 02, 2005

New research blows away wind power myths

The most extensive study yet of the UK's wind resource, blows away many myths about wind power.

The research, conducted by Oxford University's Environmental Change Institute for the DTI, analysed hourly wind speed records collected by the Met Office at 66 locations across the UK since 1970.

The key findings are:
• The UK has the best wind resource in Europe. The recorded capacity factor for onshore wind energy in the UK is 27%, greater even than in Germany (15%) and Denmark (20%) where wind farms are currently most widespread.
• Availability of wind power in the UK is greater at precisely the times that we need it - during peak daytime periods and during the winter.
• The UK wind resource is dependable. The likelihood of low wind speeds affecting 90% of the country would only occur for one hour every five years.
• The chance of wind turbines shutting down due to very high wind speeds is exceedingly rare - high winds affecting 40% or more of the UK would occur in around one hour every 10 years and never affect the whole country.

Graham Sinden, author of the report from the Environmental Change Institute research team said:

"The UK wind resource offers a reliable source of electricity that is not only low carbon, but reduces the UK's reliance on imported fuels.

"By examining such extensive wind records from throughout the UK, we can be very confident that the study identified both long term trends and the most extreme wind conditions the UK will experience."

Many anti-wind farm campaigners persist in saying wind turbines are useless, don't work when needed, and inefficient. This evidence will hopefully finish the argument once and for all (who am I kidding?!).

More: Wind Power and the UK Wind Resource from the Environmental Change Institute

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