AEP’s Weekly Renewables Rant
By Paul Homewood
AEP is off on another of his weekly renewable rants!
Apparently Vestas are unhappy that we won’t let them build giant wind turbines over 125 meters high. We are then told that we are ditching onshore wind, just when it is so cheaper than any other source of power, before moaning that subsidies would be cut from April 2016!
As usual he includes a lot of misleading data and graphs, like this one, claiming to show that wind power is taking over the world.
Unfortunately, he forgets to show what this means in terms of global energy:
He then repeats the nonsense that the levelised cost of wind power is almost as low as gas turbine plants, without explaining that the calculation does not include the cost of providing standby capacity, and even only applies after charging of a carbon tax to the latter.
Finally he draws from an IES road map study suggesting that China might have 400 GW of wind capacity by 2030, something he calls a staggering sum. (Of course, China is so big, any number there always appears staggering to us).
But once again we need to see what this means in terms of China’s overall energy needs, which are forecast to carry on rising.
According to the official China Statistical Yearbook, China had 61 GW of wind capacity in 2012 which produced 96 TWh. This gives a capacity utilisation of 18%.
At this rate, 400 GW will produce 630 TWh/year. Electricity generation in China last year was 5650 TWh, meaning that wind would supply just 11% of this figure. In reality, of course, the percentage in 2030 will be much less as China’s demand for electricity is likely to have grown considerably by then.
Meanwhile, as AEP points out, wind power supplied 11% of the UK’s electricity last year.
Apparently this is what AEP means by abandoning onshore wind.
There is, of course, a very simple solution to all of this. Abandon all subsidies, guaranteed strike prices, renewables obligations and preferential access to the market for wind power, and let it compete on a proper level playing field. Then we’ll see how many new wind farms get built.
I suspect it will not be many.