Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The Cost of Wind Farms

I drove along the West Cumbrian coast last week and saw the wind farm which is close to Whitehaven. I was speaking to a local man who told me that each turbine cost £21 million and did not see any way that they could be efficient. I thought that this capital cost was quite high and turbines should be efficient because we have used renewable energies for centuries and our ancestors did make efficient use of the resource. If the turbines did cost £21 million each then at least the manufacturer would make a profit which would eventually work itself back into the general economy. He then told me they were made in Germany.

Today I saw an article about a wind farm that is to be built near me in Heysham  Heysham South Wind Farm The cost of three turbines will be £7.5 million and 'the wind farm would produce enough renewable energy for about 4,200 homes'. Now with some simple maths this means that each household pays less than £2000. According to my bills it would take me less than two years for these turbines to become cost effective. I know there are running costs but this gives me a much better idea as to whether renewable energy pays its way.

Some people don't like the look of the turbines (especially if they think there is no way they can be efficient) but the same has been said for any new innovation - we just get used to them. On the other hand I think they look great partly because they are using renewable energy. They can be noisy so we have to be careful where they go - but other forms of technology and nature itself all make noise. It isn't always windy and other sources of energy are required, but if I had to make a decision with these figures then I know how I would vote.

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