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Friday, 19 September 2014

£50,000 Wind Turbine Taking 7 Centuries to Pay for Itself

The Aberystwyth wind turbine

Subtitle: the umpteenth confirmation that governments shouldn't be entrusted with our money.

This was reported last July, but I've only learned about it now.

It's got to be covered, it's too absurd to miss.

On 10 July 2014, the Daily Mail reported the planned axing of a wind turbine built with taxpayers' money - almost £50,000 - and generating only an average of £5 of electricity a month.

It was calculated that it would have required 757 years before its cost was offset.

I'm tempted to say that this must be the most absurd wind turbine ever but, given the huge cost ineffectiveness of these contraptions, I'm not so sure.

This one is a 60ft turbine in Wales, built at the Aberystwyth offices of the Labour-controlled Welsh government in 2009 "with the aim of reducing its carbon footprint".

In November 2013,
[T]he Welsh government said the turbine was part of its ‘ambitious’ green programme which also featured a biomass heating system and solar panels at its Aberystwyth offices.

‘As a result, we have seen a 17 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions over the past two years and are well on course to meet the overarching target of a 30 per cent reduction by 2020.’
Yes, you can expect that from Labour. Another sign of idiocy was its erection in a sheltered valley, away from the windy coast.

The company which supplied it, Quiet Revolution, said it had warned the Welsh government in advance that there was no wind in the area of the site, but the civil servants paid no attention. I don't think that reality mattered to them as much as making an ideolgical statement. And the money wasn't theirs, anyway.

Well, at least this monster of inefficiency is now going to be removed, I hear you say. The Welsh government has seen the light. No. The turbine is to be scrapped only because it broke down in January and then the manufacturer went into liquidation.

Otherwise, it would have stood for another few centuries, provided it survived the catastrophes caused by global warming, of course.

Incidentally, British people pay for wind turbines like this twice: first, as taxpayers, to construct them, and second, as utility customers and given their inefficiency, to subsidise them through higher electricity and gas bills.

The Aberystwyth turbine is not an isolated case:
Earlier this year Rushcliffe Borough Council in Nottingham was criticised after it emerged it spent £30,000 on two turbines which generated only £95 of electricity in 12 months.


  1. Vertical axis turbines look nicer than the ubiquitous horizontal axis ones, but are even more useless. Many of you will have seen the giant one next to the M4 near Reading - another white elephant - I believe it generates less than 10% of its theoretical rating. This is the problem - they put these things up saying "this can provide power for 10,000 homes based on its rating of blah, blah, blah". This is like saying that your new Jaguar can do 250km/hr, but in practice it only averages 90km/hr, and that only in good conditions.

  2. It's not supposed to make money, it's supposed to be a highly visible symbol of "green energy".

    Think of it as green energy performance art.

  3. It's even worse. Figure in the "carbon cost" to extract and transport the natural resources and transport costs to manufacture, ship and install the device, and like many of the greenie fantasies which look at only one side of the energy equation, this was probably the equivalent of bulldozing several acres of forest. (if you believe in that sort of thing, that is)