Clearing up inaccuracies
THE letters from Adrian Davies (Have Your Say, January 4) and E Adere (January 5) contained a number of inaccuracies.
Modern wind turbines pay back the energy used in manufacture within 2 to 10 months, depending on the wind speed onsite and the type of turbine used.
Most turbines have a life expectancy of 20 to 25 years, so they will generate at least 24 times the energy used in manufacture and installation.
Wind farms do indeed receive subsidies, as do all types of renewable energy.
They are a necessary incentive, protecting and encouraging investment in all low-carbon energy technologies and ensuring a secure, cost-effective supply in the future.
However, the public subsidies for wind power in the UK are dwarfed by the tax breaks enjoyed by fossil fuels.
Data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD) reveal that the oil, gas and coal sectors in the UK were subsidised in 2010 to the tune of £3.6 billion.
Compare this with the £0.7 billion received by all onshore and offshore wind in the same year.
Most increases in electricity bills are due to rises in fossil fuel costs and the cost of electricity generated by wind is low.
Ofgem's figures show that the current cost to UK households of developing all forms of renewable energy, including wind, is less than £20 a year.
Most wind turbines will be active and producing power for about 70 to 85 per cent of the time, albeit not at full capacity.
A typical turbine is expected to generate approximately 20 to 35 per cent of its theoretical maximum output over a year.
Contrary to popular perception, conventional power stations are also limited in their power generation, in 2011 producing only 46 per cent of their maximum theoretical output according to UK Government figures.
Conventional power stations are also highly inefficient, with between half and two thirds of the input fuel being discharged to the environment as waste heat.
Advances in weather and power forecasting mean that it is inaccurate to describe the output from wind energy as 'unpredictable', as concluded by a recent report from the IPPR (Institute of Public Policy) which also found that wind energy can play a major role in a secure and reliable future electricity system.
The ostrich that Mr Davies refers to has more in common with those who ignore the cost, subsidies and health impacts of fossil fuels, than those who champion clean, cost-effective wind energy, which also supports small businesses across Wales during development, construction and operation.
Wind energy is simply the best and most economical way that we have of increasing our energy system resilience, combating climate change and improving environmental quality across Wales.