Windy Gas Emissions
By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent
A study in the Netherlands found that turning back-up gas power stations on and off to cover spells when there is little wind actually produces more carbon than a steady supply of energy from an efficient modern gas station.
The research is cited in a new report by the Civitas think tank which warns that Britain is in danger of producing more carbon dioxide (CO2) than necessary if the grid relies too much on wind.
Wind turbines only produce energy around 30 per cent of the time. When the wind is not blowing - or even blowing too fast as in the recent storms - other sources of electricity have to be used, mostly gas and coal.
However it takes a surge of electricity to power up the fossil fuel stations every time they are needed, meaning more carbon emissions are released....
A "surge of electricity", or a surge in fuel usage? I wonder if My Little Chipmonk has transcribed the press release correctly, but whatever the point stands. But the lovely Louise finds someone to argue against it.
But Dr Gordon Edge, Director of policy at the lobby group RenewableUK, said much of the information was gathered from “anti-wind farm cranks”.
He explained that modern gas plants are not required to provide back-up for wind. Instead, wind is "integrated" into the existing system to act as a fuel saver, enabling the UK harness a free electricity source from the weather when it’s available. Some additional investment is required, but Dr Edge said “credible analysis” makes clear it will cost less for consumers than relying on fossil fuels, that are rising in price all the time.
So no backups needed for when the wind doesn't blow....hmmm.