Azara Blog: Government allegedly wants "all" power to be generated by wind power by 2020

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Date published: 2007/12/10

The BBC says:

All UK homes could be powered by offshore wind farms by 2020 as part of the fight against climate change, under plans unveiled by John Hutton.

Up to 7,000 turbines could be installed to boost wind produced energy 60-fold by 2020.

The business secretary admitted it would change Britain's coastline, and mean higher electricity bills.

Senior Tory Alan Duncan backed the plans, adding: "We're an island nation. There's a lot of wind around."
...
Mr Hutton conceded that having a wind installation every half-mile around the coast was "going to change our coastline".

"There is no way of making the shift to low-carbon technology without making a change and that change being visible to people," he said.

"We've got a choice as a country whether we rise to the challenge... or stick our head in the sand and hope it (climate change) goes away. It is not going to go away."

Asked what would happen if there was no wind for a few days, Mr Hutton said that was why there had to be a mix of energy sources - including nuclear power - to cover for calm weather periods.
...
However, the Royal Academy of Engineering said it was so concerned about the UK's ability "to meet these aspirational targets" it was starting a new study on the engineering challenges of offshore wind projects to report next year.
...
"Wind power cannot provide all our electricity - the engineering effort to build 7,000 large offshore turbines by 2020 would be enormous, unprecedented and is probably underestimated."

Given the choice between listening to a politician (any politician) or an engineer, obviously one would trust an engineer. So Hutton and the other politicians have evidently not thought about this issue very carefully. And given the serious problem that the wind is not always there, the amount of replication in the power network is going to be large, i.e. wind power is not particularly efficient. The fact that Hutton tried to avoid this issue shows that he is up to no good and that this is more of a PR exercise than anything else.

And it's unfortunate that so much emphasis is being placed on off-shore rather than on-shore wind installations. The former are much more expensive to build and to run. That is, the amount of energy taken to put them up in the first place, and keep them maintained, is massive. So wind power is not really zero carbon, it is just zero carbon if you ignore the energy taken to build and run the turbines. (The so-called environmentalists always point this out about nuclear power but funnily enough never about wind power.)

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