The Renewable Energy Foundation came out with a recent report that sited serious concerns with the performance of UK windfarms. The first independent study to rate farms according to how much electricity they produce shows that wind farms south of the Scottish border are not generating as much as the Government assumed when it set the target of producing a tenth of Britain’s energy from renewables by 2010 and 15 per cent by 2015. According to an advisor to the Renewable Energy Foundation, the UK governments projections are based upon the wind farms delivering electricity at 30 percent efficiency. Some turbines only generated electricity at an efficiency of 7 or 8 percent and were labeled little more than garden ornaments.
The study shows that even wind farms in Cornwall on west-facing coasts, which might be expected to be the most efficient, operated at only 24·1 per cent of capacity on average. Turbines in mid-Wales ran on average at only 23·8 per cent. Those in the Yorkshire Dales ran at 24·9 per cent and Cumbria 25·9 of capacity. The only regions with turbines operating at or above 30 per cent of capacity were in southern Scotland, which averaged 31·5 per cent, Caithness, Orkney and Shetland at 32·9 per cent and offshore (North Hoyle and Scroby Sands on opposite sides of the country), which came in at 32·6 per cent.
The report concludes that the most effective place to site the turbines is at sea near major cities where they can harness the greater power of off-shore winds without losing much of the electricity generated in transmission through the National Grid from remote areas such as the north of Scotland.
More from the REF press release here. I suggest you read more about REF. They have a particular concern to protect the countryside from ‘a developer-led industrial feeding-frenzy that is neither green nor sustainable.’