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Wind Farms In England Only Supply 2% Of Power

December 28, 2017

By Paul Homewood


Wind turbines near the village of Bothel in Cumbria.


Anyone who lives in England knows just how ubiquitous wind farms now are across the countryside.

So it might come as a surprise to learn just how little power they actually produce.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has now published the detailed data for 2016. It shows that onshore wind farms in England produced only 5.7 TWh, out of a total generation in England of 241.8 TWh.

In other words, the princely amount of 2%.

Can anybody say it has been worth all of the bother?

  1. AlecM permalink
    December 28, 2017 9:39 am

    So what? Greenie uk politicians don’t know what % means.

    • David Richardson permalink
      December 28, 2017 10:03 am

      Too close to the truth to be funny Alec.

  2. David Vanegas permalink
    December 28, 2017 9:54 am

    But the BBC would have you believe something else.

    • John Fuller permalink
      December 29, 2017 6:29 pm

      As usual with the BBC, they cherry pick their statistics.

  3. John Palmer permalink
    December 28, 2017 9:55 am

    Ah but Paul, you should read little Gillian’s Telegraph puff today telling the masses just what a huge contribution ruinables made in UK this year…. indeed, it was a ‘RECORD YEAR EVAH’!
    Remind me how you spell it – isn’t it two ‘L’s and one ‘X’?
    What is the Telegraph doing publishing this c**p.

  4. December 28, 2017 10:14 am

    Here in Newcastle upon Tyne, householders have been given government grants to put solar panels on their roofs. At this time of the year the sun rises at 08:30 and sets at 15:40, with a maximum elevation of 12 Degrees. Currently it is 0 Celsius. We spend most of our time in Spain in the Costa del Sol (coast of the Sun) with 340 cloud free days pa., where currently it is 15 Celsius and will be 18 Celsius later today with the Sun at 45 degrees now and almost overhead in Summer. There we have wind turbines,100’s of them, you could not make this stuff up if you tried!

    • Athelstan permalink
      December 28, 2017 6:37 pm

      “Spain in the Costa del Sol (coast of the Sun)”

      “coast of the sun” – what we all really crave to hear, is stuff that we don’t know and thereby our collective knowledge and understanding is magnified and extended.

      • December 28, 2017 10:54 pm

        Costa del Sol is defined by a crescent shape of mountains (Sierra Blanca) which extend from Gibraltar in the West to Nerja in the East. They provide a micro-climate to the region, with rain falling on the summits of the mountains and providing fresh water both to north and to the coast, that would otherwise be arid.

      • Athelstan permalink
        December 28, 2017 11:18 pm

        Back in the day we called it the “Gibraltar Arc” part of the Betic Cordillera.

    • BLACK PEARL permalink
      December 28, 2017 8:27 pm

      Most of the solar panels I scope when driving around the Newcastle area are on social / council housing … not many on private properties

  5. arfurbryant permalink
    December 28, 2017 10:15 am


    Thanks for this information.

    Congrats on a great website and I wish you continuing success in 2018.


  6. Robert Jones permalink
    December 28, 2017 10:36 am

    I caught part of a clip by Roger Harrabin on this morning’s ‘Today’ programme. Surprisingly, Roger has a much rosier take on the contribution made by renewables. Apparently Wind and Solar out-performed conventional sources of electricity on a number of occasions (durations not given). Not only that, but he said that the cost of renewables is plummeting!

    It would be interesting to know how much the 2% of energy created by renewables cost the taxpayer compared with 2% of the energy from non-renewables.

    • December 28, 2017 10:59 am

      ‘he said that the cost of renewables is plummeting’

      So the huge subsidies should be doing exactly the same.

    • mikewaite permalink
      December 28, 2017 2:19 pm

      Was anyone allowed onto the programme to question the figures?

      • Adam Gallon permalink
        December 28, 2017 4:36 pm

        Of course not!

  7. Rollo permalink
    December 28, 2017 10:52 am

    The collectors of all the subsidy £billions are delighted! Most are NOT British, of course, so it’s a vast further unnecessary cash OUTFLOW. Benefit? Negligible!

  8. Tim permalink
    December 28, 2017 10:53 am

    Is there really no way of rubbing their noses in it?

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      December 28, 2017 11:36 am

      Well, how about crowd-funding a large billboard near HoC and get someone like GWPF to put up the real numbers and comparisons.
      Bet it would cause an avalanche of complaints to the ASA.

  9. Jack Broughton permalink
    December 28, 2017 10:57 am

    The Big Brothers have almost complete control of the UK meja, surprised that they have not closed-down the insurrectional web sites so far. The “spin” (lies) on any reporting of power and middle eastern affairs is beyond belief
    Honest and democratic UK press reporting RIP.

  10. December 28, 2017 10:59 am

    Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    NOT to mention the shocking admission by the wind industry chief that England is not even windy enough! 🤦‍♂️

    “Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

    • December 28, 2017 4:36 pm

      So they stick lots of wind farms in Scotland and Wales where there’s no onshore ban, and everyone in the UK picks up the subsidy tab.

      • daveR permalink
        December 28, 2017 10:13 pm

        Consent for new builds across Scotland used to be the domain of individual local authorities. Such is/was the clamour for new development that most if not all local govs. have been granted additional funding in order to ‘fastrack’ applications.

        Increasingly, sites refused consent are upon appeal called-in to Scottish Government HQ wherein the Reporter grants approval in about three of every four appeals (I believe).

        This state-determined and sponsored industrialisation approach towards centralised-only authoritarian rulings is mirrored almost exactly within the Scottish salmon farming industry. Despite three decades plus of overwhelming evidence of the disastrous effects of sea lice on local wild populations, the same top down bureaucratic approach is shamelessly applied. The result? – a proposed near doubling of farmed output by 2025.

      • Shep permalink
        December 29, 2017 4:01 pm

        100% correct. As someone living in Scotland and having fought windfarm development, usually the local authority having also objected, the SNP govt then overrides all local objections and approves the application.

      • December 29, 2017 6:16 am

        And the *blatant* scamming of public money is so blissfully and wilfully ignored by MSM and much of the gullible public as a necessary function of “save the planet” virtue. Criminal.

  11. December 28, 2017 11:29 am

    I’ve just received an email from the Western Morning News to comment on all this crap being spewed by the BBC, the renewable energy “industry” and the green troughers. I will pen something suitably acerbic.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      December 28, 2017 11:38 am

      Please post a copy here, or tell us where to find it on the web. Happy New Year, Philip.

      • Joe Public permalink
        December 28, 2017 4:45 pm


    • Athelstan permalink
      December 29, 2017 7:37 am

      “I’ve just received an email from the Western Morning News to comment on all this crap being spewed by the BBC, the renewable energy “industry” and the green troughers.”

      Interesting, contrast, there is fat chance of something similar happening up in my neck of the woods – a “local” newspaper indeed!

      Long ago I used to live down Devon way and read the “Western Morning News” – are they an independent title ie not owned, dominated by Johnson Press or whosoever they are named these days?

  12. Brian Richards permalink
    December 28, 2017 11:34 am

    Good morning Just read this in the DM.

    UK enjoys ‘greenest year for electricity ever’ in 2017

    | | | | | |


    | | | | UK enjoys ‘greenest year for electricity ever’ in 2017 More than a dozen new ‘green’ records were set this year for Britain’s power sector thanks to rising… | |



    Keep up the good work, and a happy New yearBrian

    From: NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT To: Sent: Thursday, December 28, 2017 5:35 AM Subject: [New post] Wind Farms In England Only Supply 2% Of Power #yiv6995411061 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv6995411061 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv6995411061 a.yiv6995411061primaryactionlink:link, #yiv6995411061 a.yiv6995411061primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv6995411061 a.yiv6995411061primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv6995411061 a.yiv6995411061primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv6995411061 | Paul Homewood posted: “By Paul Homewood Wind turbines near the village of Bothel in Cumbria. Anyone who lives in England knows just how ubiquitous wind farms now are across the countryside.So it might come as a surprise to learn just how little power they a” | |

  13. Dominic Moorhouse permalink
    December 28, 2017 12:02 pm

    Paul – any stat’s on bird kill from UK land-bound wind farms?

  14. Joe Public permalink
    December 28, 2017 12:22 pm

    Climate is changing:

    “In 2017 Q3, onshore wind’s load factor fell by 0.6 percentage points, from 21.0 per cent in 2016 Q3 to 20.4 per cent, due to lower onshore wind speeds. Offshore wind’s load factor fell by 1.6 percentage points, from 31.9 per cent in 2016 Q3 to 30.3 per cent in 2017 Q3. 3

    Compared with 2017 Q2, onshore wind’s load factor was down by 3.0 percentage points, while offshore wind’s load factor was 2.5 percentage points lower, with wind speeds 0.4 knots lower, at 8.0 knots.”

    • Joe Public permalink
      December 28, 2017 12:28 pm

      Strangely, no mention of annual wear-and-tear deterioration:

      ‘On the Performance of Wind Farms in the United Kingdom’ by the late Prof Sir David MacKay FRS

      “Simple graphing of the data from the older farms suggests that their load factor has declined by roughly 2% per year”

      Click to access windDecline.pdf

      • Athelstan permalink
        December 29, 2017 7:39 am

        Only 2%, I heard some engineers estimated that, the life span of a sea plugged whirlygig is ~ 7-8 years.

      • Jack Broughton permalink
        December 29, 2017 3:14 pm

        Fascinating assessment of complex data, thanks. This is not something that is given much publicity, similar to the decline of PVs with dirt. The economics assume design load factors without deterioration, as otherwise fired power plant would come out even better.

  15. Nordisch-geo-climber permalink
    December 28, 2017 12:33 pm

    Paul, the Wharrels Hill wind farm at Bothel, Cumbria is less than 1 kilometre from the National Park and blights the classic views from Borrowdale, Skiddaw and elsewhere. When we were fighting the Berrier Hill wind farm (and we won, but at great expense), two of us went on a tour of the Wharrels Hill site. The manager’s first words were: “This is an industrial site”. As I looked at the horizon, the magnificent Lake District skyline of Grassmoor, the Buttermere fells, Grisedale Pike, Scafell Pike and Skiddaw, I thought to myself, “MAN – you are SO wrong!!! This is a beautiful National Park, not an outdoor factory”.

    Wharrels Hill site is a blot on the landscape and an insult to the intelligence of the local people of this area as we all pay dearly in many ways for this madness.

  16. Chilli permalink
    December 28, 2017 2:05 pm

    Just checking the figures and wondering where you got the 5.7 TWh from?

    Page 78 of the UK energy stats gives the 2016 total non-thermal renewables output as about 19TWh for England (33 TWh for the whole UK). My understanding is about half of this is onshore wind – so that would be about 9TWh from English onshore wind – not 5.7 TWh as claimed.

    This would also tally with the renewables graphs which show roughly 5 TWh per quarter being generated by onshore wind for the whole UK (so for England say 2.5 TWh per quarter = 10 ish in total).

    Still a huge waste of money and landscapes for a pitiful amount of energy….

    • December 28, 2017 5:58 pm

      DUKES gives data for renewables:

      Table 6.1 gives onshore wind by quarter for England, which adds to 5766 GWh for 2016.

      Offshore adds 13892 GWh, solar 9261 GWh, and landfill gas 3961 GWh.

      That tots up to 32880 GWh

      • Athelstan permalink
        December 29, 2017 7:40 am

        that much – huh?

      • December 29, 2017 12:44 pm

        My word Paul you do some digging. If you take qtr 1,2 & 3 , 2016 comes out at 4267 GWh and 2017 is 5139 GWh. So over 20% increase. Comrade Harrabin will say how wonderful that is and stop there. The rest of us know that 20% increase of naff all it still naff all.

  17. Stephen Burchell permalink
    December 28, 2017 3:24 pm

    Robbing from the poor to give to the rich.

    • dave permalink
      December 29, 2017 9:19 am

      Yogi Bear was slightly more honest:

      “I steal food from the rich pickinickerners and give it to the poor ones – keeping a little on the side for my expenses!”

  18. Sheri permalink
    December 28, 2017 4:39 pm

    This is what happens when the people in the media have zero interest in the truth and no understanding of reality.

  19. Nigel S permalink
    December 28, 2017 6:12 pm

    This is electricity only of course. UK total energy consumption per capita of about 35MWh means the onshore windfarms supplied the energy needs of about 163,000 people or about a quarter of one percent of the population.

  20. Coeur de Lion permalink
    December 28, 2017 6:50 pm

    Right now 1900 29 Dec demand is 44GW, wind 8% coal 11%

    • December 29, 2017 11:42 pm

      That’s UK Paul is talking about England
      ..most wind is generated in Scotland

  21. George Let permalink
    December 28, 2017 6:56 pm

    When will the Brits wake up? Thank goodness for Donald Trump in the U.S.

    • December 28, 2017 7:20 pm

      A lot of us have never been asleep. Unfortunately we cannot elect a president, and the only one who could sort out the mess is Nigel Farage. As we can only elect MPs we have no choice, and 99% of the candidates are useless. I could give you a very long list of past and current Energy Ministers who haven’t a clue what they have done.

      • Nigel S permalink
        December 28, 2017 10:22 pm

        The list of Energy Ministers who’ve enriched themselves suggests they have a pretty good idea!

  22. December 28, 2017 7:27 pm

    Reblogged this on Wolsten.

  23. December 29, 2017 12:25 am

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    Prayer wheels are very effective at maiming and killing birds tho’

  24. roger permalink
    December 29, 2017 11:57 am

    OT but my neighbour with the renault chloe on returning from work last evening was unable to connect the car to the recharging post due to ice in the mechanical part of the arrangement.
    Already freezing from her commute home dressed in overcoat scarves and gloves, she was not best pleased after a long shift as theatre nurse.

  25. December 29, 2017 3:12 pm

    Arch-sceptic Roger Andrews has solar on the roof of 10 Mossbank Way in Shrewsbury and he is honest enough to report that his electricity bill is zero. The linked post shows that going completely off-grid is not, however, an option.

  26. December 29, 2017 9:23 pm

    If you combine both sets of reports you get this for on/offshore WIND combined for 2016:

    ELECTRICITY generation: 11%*

    ENERGY consumption: 1.06%**

    *37,368 of 339,397 GWh

    **Wind is about 44%, all renewables were 2.37% in 2016, slightly down from 2.38% in 2015.

  27. Logic and Reason permalink
    December 30, 2017 4:27 pm

    I’m guessing that 2.37% difference could have been made up just by having the existing plants run at more optimal capacities.
    In other words, the CO2 production for 5+tWh using existing systems would be just the use of those fuels. The CO2 production for the wind turbines is all upfront in the mining, processing, concrete production, road laying, new infrastructure and transmission lines. All that CO2 is frontloaded.

  28. December 31, 2017 12:53 am

    The 5.6TW figure seems to be just the fourth quarter of the year. The graph clealy shows onshore wind as making up more than 7% of all electrical generation and total wind to be 12.8%.

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