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Putting the wind up renewable energy


Sir, The figures quoted in Mr Stuttard's letter (Construction News, July 3) are absurdly misleading.

He seems unable to comprehend the difference between potential output - of wind turbines among other generators - against actual demand in the system.

My letter (Construction News, June 12) quoted 5 per cent of UK electricity. That is 5 per cent of the total demand - the total amount of electricity generated.

The potential output of wind turbines and most other renewables has to be downgraded because they are intermittent: they can only generate when conditions allow.

Thus wind machines are only 40 per cent effective onshore and 50 per cent offshore. Add to this downgrading the very significant effect of the wind variations across the UK and also losses resulting from inter-grid connections - and then the true minuscule contribution of even hundreds of these monstrosities becomes apparent.

Mr Stuttard would do well to peruse the Royal Academy's Report before putting pen to paper again.

Incidentally his arithmetic is wrong, not mine. I stated two 2 MW machines a day, not one.

J C Joel Prenton Merseyside