Europe’s focus on wind power is crippling British energy users with additional costs as it is not a cost-effective way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, a report has found.
The EU has directed governments to generate 15 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020, leading many to focus on wind.
But wind power is unreliable and requires back-up gas power stations to maintain a consistent electricity supply, the Civitas think-tank study found.
It means energy users pay twice – once for the ‘window-dressing’ of renewables and again for fossil fuels the energy sector continues to rely on.
The study, written by economist Ruth Lea, uses Government-commissioned estimates of the cost of electricity generation to calculate the most cost-effective technologies.
Gas-fired power is the most cost-effective in the short term, while nuclear power stations become the most cost-efficient in the medium term, more than twice as cost-effective as wind.
The report concludes: ‘Wind power is expensive and yet is not effective in cutting CO2 emissions.
‘If it were not for the renewables targets, wind power would not even be entertained as a cost-effective way of generating electricity or cutting emissions. The renewables target should be renegotiated with the EU.’
The study attacks Government claims that wind power is one of the more cost-effective means of generating power. In fact, it says, it is ‘unreliable and requires conventional back-up capacity’.
The report also says wind power, backed by conventional gas-fired generation, can emit more CO2 than the most effective gas turbines running alone.
Full report – Electricity Costs: The folly of windpower