A new report claims that a determination to focus on wind power as its primary source of renewable power is “preventing Britain from effectively reducing CO2 emissions while crippling energy users with additional costs”.
UK think-tank Civitas concludes that wind power is unreliable and requires back-up power stations to be available in order to maintain a consistent electricity supply to households and businesses.
The study states that “this means that energy users pay twice: once for the window-dressing of renewables, and again for the fossil fuels that the energy sector continues to rely on”.
Civitas claims that when all costs are included, gas fired power is the most cost-efficient method of generating electricity in the short term, while nuclear power stations become the most cost-efficient in the medium term.
However, trade association RenewableUK was quick to discredit the report. It claimed it made extensive use of non-peer-reviewed research from a range of anti-wind organisations.
Gordon Edge, RenewableUK’s director of policy, said: “It is surprising that a think tank such as Civitas has published a report based on the work of anti-wind cranks, repeating the same discredited assertions.
“The UK’s energy policy over the next ten years will play a critical part in our economic success. This report, based on outdated and inaccurate information, does nothing to advance the debate.”
But the UK’s wind power track record was further attacked on BBC radio yesterday, when John Constable, the director of policy and research for the Renewable Energy Foundation – a charity promoting energy conservation and green power – said that consumers were going to be hit harder than expected to pay the country’s wind power bill.
He said: “It’s costing well over GBP1bn a year at the moment to subsidise renewables. By 2020 it will be somewhere in the region of GBP8bn a year and then there are the integration costs.”
Constable said that while “this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do any wind energy, it does mean you have to be realistic about the scale and pace of development and right now government plans look set to impose very, very high costs on the consumer in 2020. On our calculations we reckon it’ll be well over GBP10bn, possibly as much as GBP15bn a year.”