Wind's not the only answer
I WRITE in response to Dave Lees, of Clydach who refers to me as a "PR apologist for the wind farm industry" (Have Your Say, October 9).
I make no apology for being in favour of wind energy and share some common views with Mr Lees.
He is right to say the most power the current wind infrastructure has ever produced is just over 4GW, which happened around 10am on Friday, September 14.
At that time, wind power was supplying 10.8 per cent of the total amount of electricity going into the grid. It would have taken more than four conventional power stations to supply the same amount of energy.
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I am a little confused by his assertion that conventional power stations will need to supply 90 per cent of back-up power.
In 2009, three reports published by the National Grid, energy company Poyry and a coalition of non-governmental organisations concluded that large amounts of wind energy capacity need relatively small amounts of back-up. In its report, National Grid stated that around 30 per cent would be required.
No energy is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and the report published by the non-governmental organisations said that "thermal plant (conventional power station) breakdowns generally pose more of a threat to the stability of electricity networks than the relatively benign variations in the output of a wind plant."
Like Mr Lees, I am concerned about Ofgem's announcement that the closure of five coal-fired power stations could reduce the UK's spare capacity from 14 to four per cent over the next three years.
For this reason we need to look for alternative ways to generate our energy. Wind is by no means the only answer but it has an significant part to play.
Onshore wind is currently the most widely-deployed and cost-effective renewable source of energy in the UK. Subsidies are a necessary incentive, as they are for all types of energy.
In fact, public subsidies for the development of wind power in the UK are dwarfed by the tax breaks enjoyed by fossil fuels.
I share Mr Lees's motive in wanting the lights to stay on and I also believe that we should be looking to renewable energy, not just wind, to help us do this.