The failure of Britain’s wind farms to produce electricity in the extreme cold will cost billions of pounds, create an economic crisis and lead to blackouts, leading industrialists have warned.
To cover up the ineffectiveness of wind farms the Government will be forced to build emergency back-up power plants, the cost of which will be paid by industry and consumers.
Jeremy Nicholson, director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, which represents major companies employing hundreds of thousands of workers in the steel, glass, pottery, paper and chemical industries, said the failure of wind power had profound implications.
He was speaking after new figures showed that during the latest cold snap wind turbines produced less than two per cent of the nation’s electricity.
Now Mr Nicholson predicts that the Government will encourage power companies to build billions of pounds worth of standby power stations in case of further prolonged wind failures.Last updated at 1:20 AM on 9th January 2011
And the cost of the standby generation will be paid for by industry and households through higher bills – which could double by 2020.
Industry regulator Ofgem has already calculated that the cost of achieving sustainable energy targets – set by Brussels but backed by the British Government – will amount to £200 billion, which will mean that annual household fuel bills will double to about £2,400 on average within the next ten years.
In the last quarter ending December 23, wind turbines produced on average 8.6 per cent of our electricity, but the moment the latest bad weather arrived with snow and freezing temperatures, this figure fell to as low as 1.8 per cent.
The slack was immediately taken up by efficient, but dirty, coal-fired power stations and oil-fired plants.
‘What is so worrying is that these sort of figures are not a one off,’ said Mr Nicholson. ‘It was exactly the same last January and February when high pressure brought freezing cold temperatures, snow and no wind.’
In fact last year, the failure of wind power to produce electricity was even more profound.
Then, over a few days, the lack of wind meant that only 0.2 per cent of a possible five per cent of the UK’s energy was generated by wind turbines.
So little energy was generated then that the National Grid, which is responsible for balancing supply and demand of energy in the UK, was forced to ask its biggest users – industry – to ration supplies.