Now isn’t this a big surprise?

You firehose subsidies around the place and end up with products that are uneconomic. Who on earth could have predicted that?

Councils are wasting millions of pounds on wind turbines that are not working or will take hundreds of years to repay because they are generating as little as £13 worth of energy a month.

Local authorities spent hundreds of thousands of pounds installing the turbines in an effort to meet renewable energy targets.

However, some have not produced any energy at all in the last year because of faults, a Freedom of Information request disclosed.

Some turbines generate so little energy they would take hundreds of years to repay their original value. Experts argue that the failure of some wind turbines to recoup their value shows how small wind turbines are a poor way to generate renewable energy.

In Eastleigh, Hampshire a turbine costing almost £30,000 was installed in 2005. Last year the turbine generated 520 kilowatt hours of energy (kWh).

It’s just such an unexpected result, isn’t it?

In Derbyshire, a turbine costing £89,000 was installed in 2004 but has failed to produce any energy since September 2011 due to a fault.

The council said it was “disappointed” adding that the company which supplied the turbine no longer existed.

No one could ever have thought that such a thing could happen.

14 comments on “Now isn’t this a big surprise?

  1. “The council said it was “disappointed” adding that the company which supplied the turbine no longer existed. ”
    It is hard to think of a product more exquisitely designed for the purposes of the the con-artist since the discovery of snake oil. It does give vendors of Brooklyn Bridge everywhere a warm happy feeling.

  2. “The council said it was “disappointed” adding that the company which supplied the turbine no longer existed.”

    It should never be underestimated how much politicians like new and shiny, but hate long-term use. It’s ironic considering how much they like to talk about sustainability.

  3. Not only is there an economic cost but there is an energy cost as well, these turbines will never recoup the energy needed to produce them, a net loss in energy conservation, the councillors should be fined for maliciously causing unnecessary emissions.

    Wind and solar need to be examined in terms of energy costs and not financial. Once you consider the energy cost of manufacture and maintenance, multiplied many times for additional units needed for coverage, and add in the energy storage and transport, it would kill their ability to contribute to energy saving.

    An example is the “ten year” CFL bulb, once you’ve busted it or it goes pop before that time, the energy cost is way beyond what you would have got from an incandescent bulb, regardless of the financial cost.

    The end point is to save energy, just because wind and solar are presumed to use “free fuel” doesn’t make it so in the wider scheme.

  4. According to the Swiss, they also interfere with the radar used for air traffic control. Which means you can’t put them anywhere windy like the top of a hill.

  5. “An example is the “ten year” CFL bulb,”
    I’d love to see these “10 year” bulbs. The apartment got new CFL’s all through when I took it. Three years in & I’ve just replaced the one in the bathroom mainly used by visitors. Rest are on second, third & a fourth. I’m guessing the life expectancy reduces the more they’re cycled on/off, But, if to preserve device life they have to be left on more, where’s the energy saving going to come from? Does consuming 6 times 9W/h p/d in the loo beat 4x 60W/min for quick pees. Seems unlikely, even for dumps or the fixing the slap expeditions..

  6. the councillors should be fined for maliciously causing unnecessary emissions.

    Looks like it was an edict, either from central Government. Wasn’t Milliband, E, involved in that department? Make him pay.

  7. Oops, missed this bit out from the article:

    Local authorities spent hundreds of thousands of pounds installing the turbines in an effort to meet renewable energy targets.

  8. Who are the traditional experts on windmills?
    So why do the Dutch have relatively little installed capacity (less than 30% of the UK amount whereas in 1997 they had more)? Perhaps because they know that while it’s a cheap way of producing power to empty water out of the polders it isn’t much use for providing reliable power to the grid.

  9. bloke in france – “According to the Swiss, they also interfere with the radar used for air traffic control. Which means you can’t put them anywhere windy like the top of a hill.”

    The British military has also complained because they mess with the air defence radars too. They create a large radar shadow behind which anything could lurk and through which radar cannot see clearly – this is not surprising as wind turbines are straight metal blades that move fairly rapidly at a variety of angles to the radar detector. You could not ask for a better object to reflect radar but the different speeds and angles means they produce a variety of unpredictable returns. So you can’t even reliably filter them out.

    Naturally we put them in the North Sea. Just in case the former Soviet Air Force feels like taking the shortest route.

    john77 – “So why do the Dutch have relatively little installed capacity (less than 30% of the UK amount whereas in 1997 they had more)?”

    I am sure you are right but in fairness to the Dutch, they are surprisingly land locked. And flat. So no mountains or hills to build them on. No large amount of the North Sea either.

  10. @ SMFS
    I understand your response but Dutch geography hasn’t changed much since 1997 when they had more wind-power capacity than the UK. They have a use for windmills – draining polders – which are not linked to the grid and they have a few linked to the grid, the loss or gain of whose output is well within the management capacity of the grid so the grid does *not* depend on them. It is *better* suited to wind-power as it is fairly flat – the argument in the UK for putting turbines on hilltops is that there is nothing blocking the wind – and North Sea appears to be a Dutch name (“Nord Zee”), Zuider Zee being the part which was south of the chain of islands until they built a dyke across the top of it and renamed it Ijsel Meer. The North Sea is to the *east* of England and Scotland…

  11. You can’t help but wonder if the reason the Dutch haven’t gone in for wind generation much is the Dutch have several hundred years of windmill data to draw on.

    That rotor/radar problem is being worked on. They’re now talking about stealthed blades, no less. Making the things even more bloody expensive & uneconomical. S’pose the next thing will be transparent blades to make them invisible. Maybe that’s the cunning plan. Then they can just say they’ve built them & no-one will be any the wiser.

  12. @ bis
    “You can’t help but wonder if the reason the Dutch haven’t gone in for wind generation much is the Dutch have several hundred years of windmill data to draw on.”
    My point exactly

  13. john77 – “I understand your response but Dutch geography hasn’t changed much since 1997 when they had more wind-power capacity than the UK.”

    They had a tiny capacity with few places to go. Britain had an even smaller capacity but with lots of Welsh hills to ruin and sea to expand into.

    “They have a use for windmills – draining polders – which are not linked to the grid and they have a few linked to the grid, the loss or gain of whose output is well within the management capacity of the grid so the grid does *not* depend on them.”

    They *had* a use for them. At a time when the only alternative was a couple of donkeys. I am willing to bet the Zuiderzee project used no windmills at all. At least not any part of it in the 20th century. Just as the Fens used wind power right up to the moment that Steam became available.

    “It is *better* suited to wind-power as it is fairly flat – the argument in the UK for putting turbines on hilltops is that there is nothing blocking the wind”

    There is a point here but I am not sure what it is. You’re saying that it is wrong to put turbines on hilltops? It is often said there is nothing blocking the wind. Which is why it is a bad idea to build them on flat land.

    “and North Sea appears to be a Dutch name (“Nord Zee”),”

    Which is interesting but it does not change the fact that the Dutch own so little of it.

    “Zuider Zee being the part which was south of the chain of islands until they built a dyke across the top of it and renamed it Ijsel Meer.”

    You know, I know you’re going somewhere with this, but I am not sure where. There is a point here?

    “The North Sea is to the *east* of England and Scotland…”

    You don’t say.

    bloke in spain – “That rotor/radar problem is being worked on. They’re now talking about stealthed blades, no less.”

    Would that help? Stealth mainly works by making sure any return does not bounce in the direction of the transmitter which is usually where the detector is too. It will not stop the radar being unable to see behind the rotors because the rotors will be scattering all the radar signals across the landscape. At least if they get a totally messed up return, they know they have a problem. If they get nothing, they won’t even know that.

    “Maybe that’s the cunning plan. Then they can just say they’ve built them & no-one will be any the wiser.”

    Best way to spend the money really. Especially if they take it all down to Ascot and bet it on the ponies. At least we would not be stuck with the costs of cleaning up the sites.

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