ECIU Wants To Double The Size Of Your Wind Turbines

By Paul Homewood


h/t Philip Bratby



From The Times:


Dozens of wind farms could be rebuilt with turbines twice the height of existing ones under plans to keep sites operating for at least another 20 years.

More than 750 turbines at 60 sites are coming to the end of their operational lives, with less than five years remaining of the 20-year period for which they have planning permission. They could be dismantled and the landscape restored, but the wind industry is lobbying to be allowed to replace them with much more powerful turbines.


The existing turbines are mostly 50m to 60m tall. The new ones would be up to 120m and produce up to eight times more power.

The taller turbines would increase the total capacity of the 60 sites from 440 megawatts to 1,300 megawatts and produce enough power for 800,000 homes, according to a report by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), a think tank that supports renewable energy. Wind farms could be rebuilt with fewer turbines, it said, as with the first commercial one in the UK at Delabole in Cornwall, where the ten turbines installed in 1991 have been replaced by four nearly twice as tall.

Critics say that the visual blight from taller turbines is worse even if there are fewer of them.


This all stems from the latest report from the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), the renewable energy propaganda group run by ex BBC man Richard Black.

The report contains several gross distortions.


The central one is the claim that onshore wind is the cheapest source of new electricity generation capacity.

According to the ECIU:

The latest government forecasts project that the cost of electricity from a combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) power station built in 2025 will be £82/MWh.

This is derived from a govt analysis in 2016.

But what the ECIU conveniently forget to mention is that these CCGT projected costs are artificially inflated by Carbon Costs, set at £29/MWh




Carbon costs are not “real”, and their sole purpose is to enable renewable energy to become competitive. The idea that the tiny amount of CO2 saved by this extra wind power will make the slightest difference to the world’s climate is in any event patently absurd.

Taking this out, the true cost of CCGT would be £53/MWh, well below the £61/MWh quoted for onshore wind.

BEIS also show sensitivities for fuel cost for CCGT. While costs could be £8/MWh higher, they could also be £16/MWh lower than the central scenario of £82/MWh. In other words, the projections are probably on the high side.




And, of course, the projected costs of onshore wind do not include the cost of intermittency. To get a true cost comparison, the correct way is to look at the total cost of wind power against the marginal cost of CCGT, as the fixed costs of the latter need to be paid for anyway.

If we do this, we can see that onshore wind costs £61/MWh, while the marginal cost of CCGT is £43/MWh.

ECIU quote a study by consultants by Baringa Partners, which suggests onshore wind costs could fall to £46/MWh, but anybody can come up with silly numbers. At the end of the day, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

If costs really were as low as that, developers would be queuing up to build new wind farms. But they are not, as the ECIU themselves admit, when they say

Although they represent the cheapest form of new generation, most proposed new onshore wind farms (and repowered ones) do not have a viable route to market.

 That is why they propose that new onshore wind farms be awarded guaranteed prices via CfDs. Intrinsically, wind power is worth a lot less to the market than proper dispatchable power.


The ECIU report also repeats the falsehood that government policy is effectively banning new onshore capacity.

The government’s policy, as laid out in their manifesto, is quite clear, to end all new subsidies and allow local people to have the final say:


The ECIU quote heavily skewed surveys, which purport to show that wind power is highly popular, so local planning should not be a problem!

If the ECIU are right about costs, there is no reason why new capacity should not be built. To claim that onshore wind is banned is an outright lie.

ECIU suggests that existing wind farms be rebuilt with much bigger turbines. However, the original planning permissions were given on the basis of the current turbine size, and for a strictly limited period, usually about 25 years.

To drive a horse and cart through those original decisions, and allow new turbines twice as high and for another 25 years would be a travesty.

Local people must have the final say, just as they were promised.


March 28, 2018 at 06:33AM

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