Power Delivery (or not)
Britain now has about 3,500 onshore wind turbines. Government means to increase this to more than 11,000. That’s a problem because their power delivery is unpredictable. Sometimes they work flat out; sometimes they don’t work at all. When the winds exceed 55 m.p.h. they either shut down or they explode. Pretty ironic really - when it’s windy, they don’t work..
When wind farms do work, it’s not always when we need them. It might be at night or during the weekends when demand is low. When that happens, we can’t store what they produce and it’s wasted. This means we can’t afford to close a single power station.
So, why bother building wind farms? Read on.
Cost - Between the ROC and the Hard Place
Free as the wind, they say. Maybe, but the energy it produces is very expensive. Wind farms sell electricity at the going rate and that’s fine. But on top of that, there’s a hidden charge. The law says all energy suppliers - yours, mine, everyone’s - must buy green energy certificates called Renewable Obligation Certificates; ROCs for short.
Who sells ROCs? The wind farms, that’s who. Where do energy companies find money to pay for ROCs? From us, their customers. No surprise there, but don’t go checking your electricity bill - the ROC charge isn’t listed.
Anyone can buy ROCs; in May 2013, they cost £44.19 each, which doubles the wholesale price of wind generated electricity. Who pays? We, the electricity consumer pays. Don’t go checking your bills – the extra cost is hidden..