Energy alternatives must actually do the job
THE installers of three 850kw wind turbines, proposed for a site on the Rame Peninsula, inform us, in the manner favoured by the renewals industry, that they will generate sufficient energy to supply 1700 homes.
This equates to 1.5kw per home, a very small amount, when the average kettle consumes 2-3kw, not to mention the cooker and the shower, if these items are in the household.
We will be told the figures quoted are based on average consumption over a whole year, but unfortunately electricity is not consumed in this way. Consumption needs to be met on demand and in full, whatever the demand may be at any particular time, and there's the rub.
However, do not take my word for it, have a look at your own situation and start with your electricity bill. Most of them, regardless of supplier, tell you the number of kilowatt hours consumed in the previous twelve months. Divide this number by the number of hours in a year and you will have your average annual consumption.
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It could be less than the 1.5kw favoured by most wind farm installers, and also used by the University of Strathclyde in a study concerning Scottish wind farms.
Next, have a look in your meter cupboard and you will see your meter is probably rated at 100 amps, and protected by the supply company's 100 amp fuse, which means a potential consumption up to 23kw, far in excess of the 1.5kw deemed to be sufficient for the purpose of promoting wind farms.
It should be about maximum demand, not averages, and what about when they are generating nothing at all? Another figure quoted with regard to the proposed turbines is the predicted generation of 7.5 gigawatt hours of renewable energy per year.
According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, in 2010 wind farms delivered a lowly 20 to 30 per cent of their potential output, a not very encouraging figure.
I am all in favour of seeking alternatives to our depleting resources, but we need something that does the job. Industry and commerce cannot plan their enterprises around the whims of a fickle wind, not to mention the aficionados of Coronation Street, who might, heaven forbid, miss an episode.
Cover the whole of Devon and Cornwall with wind turbines if you must, but you will still not know how much you will get, or when. Coincidentally the very same Rame Peninsula is home to some of the finest rip tides around the British Isles, constantly moving. Not too far away we have the University of Plymouth, and others engaged in the marine sciences, raring to go. Who speaks for them?
MR R C PERRY