Azara Blog: German Energy Agency speaks out against wind energy

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Date published: 2005/02/26

The BBC says:

A report from the world's biggest wind power producer denouncing wind farms as too expensive and inefficient has been widely dismissed in the UK.

Money would be better spent targeting energy efficiency to combat greenhouse gases, the German Energy Agency said.
The report by the German government-backed agency says it will cost Germany 1.1bn euro (£700 million) to link its wind farms to the national grid - which it must do if it is to reach its target of 20% of energy coming from renewable sources by 2015.

With more than 15,000 turbines, the nation has the most wind farms in the world. But, says the report, almost the same cuts in carbon dioxide emissions - at nothing like the cost of wind power - can be achieved by installing modern filters at existing fossil-fuel power plants.
"'Green' tariff consumers in the UK believe they are saving the world. In fact they are causing a heavy penalty to be transferred to all other consumers as this so-called 'green' electricity costs up to three times what they actually pay," said Angela Kelly, director of Country Guardian, which campaigns against wind farms.

"The UK's plans to rely more heavily on wind power onshore, and especially offshore, will bring the huge extra costs of more transmission lines.
Greenpeace chief executive Stephen Tindale agreed, increasing wind power was "definitely worth it".

"There are several differences between the UK and Germany. Firstly, our wind resource is better - it's stronger and more consistent.

"Secondly we are using different and better policy instruments. It is much more competitive in the UK. Elsewhere you get a guaranteed price, but in the UK the approach has led to the cost of wind power falling quite substantially in the past few years.

"The third difference is the amount of wind power used in Germany, in some parts it is 20%.

"Everyone accepts that when you get to that level it is much more of a problem because of the fact that wind is intermittent.

Like all products and services, the proponents of wind power always hype it and the opponents always claim it is the end of the world. It would be nice if occasionally someone acted as a disinterested and believable intermediary. The BBC is unfortunately extremely biased in this regard. Their headline is "Anti-wind farm report dismissed". If Greenpeace put out a press release saying how evil coal was and the coal industry dismissed it, you cannot imagine the BBC running the headline "Anti-coal report dismissed". And how Greenpeace knows wind power is "definitely worth it" is bizarre. It will not be the comfortable middle classes who go cold when energy prices go through the roof.

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