Is Urban Wind Turbine UK's "Most Useless?"

green park wind turbine photo
Image credit: Ecotricity
Ecotricity has long been known for building urban wind turbines on brownfield sites. Perhaps their most famous turbine sits just outside London on the M4 motorway (highway) at Green Park industrial complex in Reading. But while the Green Park turbine may have made our slideshow of stunning urban wind turbines, and it gets many people excited to see renewable energy generation that doesn't have to spoil the view, others are claiming that this landmark is "the most useless" turbine in the country.

So what's the story?Wind Turbine inefficient and Expensive?
According to Britain's tabloid Daily Mail, the Green Park turbine is producing woefully inefficient electricity. It has, says the Mail, been working at "15 per cent of its capacity" last year, producing GB£100,000 worth of electricity, but using up GB£130,000 worth of Government subsidies to do so.

Is Wind Power "Efficiency" Relevant?
Unsurprisingly, the turbine owners Ecotricity say that this is a load of anti-wind-power, anti-green spin (pun intended). They claim the estimates of revenue generated are wrong (although they do not give a figure for the right amount), but more importantly when it comes to the wider wind-power debate, they claim that the incessant focus from wind critics on load factors, and efficiency measured by percentage of actual output versus maximum output, is a deceptive and pointless statistical trick.

This from Dale Vince's response to The Daily Mail:

"Opponents of wind energy often refer to their load factor or the % of their maximum output that they produce in a year. It's a statistical nonsense to use this figure as a measure of the value or merit of any device or machine. Take the average car - it runs at less than 1% of it's maximum capacity in any given year. A mobile phone, even a heavy user will struggle to rack up more than low single figure percentages. Are these devices inefficient or worthless....?"

Yes, this is the same Dale Vince making headlines by banning red meat from an entire soccer stadium. Outspoken, no?

More on Wind Power and Opposition to Wind
Ecotricity: 20 More Urban Wind Projects Planned
Stunning Urban Wind Turbines Circumvent NIMBYs
Residents Demand More Wind Turbines
NIMBYs in Minority? Many Residents Welcome Wind Turbines
Cape Wind Faces Spiritual Opposition from Native Americans
Earth First! in Anti Wind-Power Protests

Tags: Renewable Energy | United Kingdom | Wind Power

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