The criticisms of wind farms range from “unsightliness and a blot on the landscape”, to noisiness and perhaps the most damning of all, to its ineffectiveness and inefficiency, particularly the intermittent and unpredictable nature of the wind. Its efficiency in supplying electricity is about the same as a nuclear power plant. As far as its intermittency is concerned, this can be addressed by embedded local generation. Locating wind farms offshore would cancel out most of the other criticisms. With improvements in aesthetic design and considerably scaled down, wind turbines could have a role in small to micro-generation on land.

  1. More than ten years’ experience of wind farms in Cornwall has shown that wind generation and demand generally go together, so its intermittency is less of a problem than its critics make it out to be.
  2. Embedded local generation improves the quality of supply, evening out fluctuations characteristic of electricity supplied by distant power plants. The central grid should act as a back-up system for local generation.
  3. A black box between the end-use consumer and the supply can take any excess power, over and above that used for lights and appliances and dump it in a buffer heating circuit. It can also warn the household that it is approaching the limits when demand for quality electricity is near to exceeding supply, and encourage households to use electricity responsibly.
  4. To supply 20 percent of UK’s electricity would require just over 1 per cent of the total UK land area.

Extracted from the article: “Which Energy”, By Mae-Wan Ho

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