Onshore wind is the cheapest renewable resource, so why is it not being built

Why is this not returning to a be a common thing

From 2015 to last year, there was a defacto ban on onshore wind. This was because of a change by David Cameroon, who changed planning rules, so it took just one objection to block a wind project. This was a stupid idea, and indeed was only put in place as a result of NIMBY (not in my back yard) concerns from wealthy donors and conservative MPs.

Why should we care, if these wealthy people blocked onshore wind for all that time? Well it is estimated that the lack of extra onshore wind capacity is costing around £510 million to the UK public, because it is easily the cheapest electricity. To put that in perspective that is £182 per household (this is from july 2022-june 2023).

We need to reverse this foolish decision now. We need every wind turbine we can get, in the effort to reach carbon neutral power generation in the UK as soon as possible.

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Largest offshore windfarm just powered up, and its just off UK

This vast wind farm can produce around 3.6 gigawatts of power when turned on. To put that in perspective, peak demand in the UK is currently around 61 gigawatt hours, This means that even at peak demand, this wind turbine is capable of providing roughly 5% of the UK power demand. By contrast, the average house in the UK has a low-point in power demand, during the night, when around 0.2kwh is used an hour. This equates to around 5gigawatt hours. In other words, this single wind farm is likely to be able to deal with all baseload demands of the UK housing. Of course there is other demand, from shop lights being left on, to night shifts in factories.

However, what is clear, is that this is a significant amount of power, and is likely to greatly reduce the amount of gas required to be burnt for power production.

Given that this adds to the already installed stock, we now can create around 30gwh of electricity from wind – when it is at its peak.

Now, of course the wind does not blow at this required rate to produce the maximum amount of power 24 hours a day, so these numbers are not available all day.

To put these numbers in context, in 2022, wind delivered around 26% of UK electricity. Given all the large wind farms planned, this will grow.

Looking at the capability of the world being powered from solar or wind

The sun sends 470 exajoules of energy to the earth every 88 minutes. This is how much energy the earth uses each year. If we captured just 1% of the sun’s energy this would still give a 6 times more electricity than we need. 

In a similar vein, if wind turbines collected just 20% of the wind energy on earth this would be 8 times what the entire world uses each year.

In terms of area, to generate all the power that the earth needs (using current efficiency) we would need roughly 1 million square km or about 11% of the Sahara desert. Obviously, this is an oversimplification, but it shows that the world is more than capable of running on clean energy.

The energy is there to be used, we just need to undertake it at speed. Vested interests in fossil fuel companies have fought aggressively against this move for decades. Their time must be over, the world can and must clean up its act.

Large-scale wind and solar power ‘could green the Sahara’

There has been much conversation about how to power the world on green electricity.

One suggestion would be to fill the Sahara with solar panels. This would allow us to generate all the worlds power in a sustainable way (of course the world would need a significant amount of batteries as well for when the sun isn’t shining in the Sahara – it may be one of the sunniest places, but it is still night half the time.

Could we make the vast area of the Sahara desert habitable to wildlife at the same time as creating enough green electricity for the whole world?
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Foolish attacks on renewable energy – Texas blackouts cannot be blamed on green energy

With incredibly cold weather hitting Texas (for instance the beach is covered in snow), Fox News has been making a big thing of the fact that some of the wind turbines are not turning supposedly because they froze – and that this is the cause of the blackouts.

This is factually incorrect. According to data from the Texas government wind turbine shutdowns accounted for less than 13% of the total outage. A bigger problem is freezing of oil and gas equipment throughout the state.

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Wind and solar will soon be cheaper in all markets than coal powered electrical generation

First of all this statistic is quite astounding. The drop in the cost of both wind power and and solar has been so significant over the last few years that once the preserve of wealthy countries it will soon be cheaper than anything else.

The astounding thing about this statistic though is that this is not only where you are building a grid from scratch, but wind and solar will soon be cheaper even if you have a prebuilt coal power plant. It is thought that this date will occur around about 20:30

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