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Here is a radar picture showing two of the massive windfarms that are costing a fortune in terms of taxpayer subsidy and increased electricity bills. the bottom one is the Thanet windfarm off the NE coast of Kent, and the one top left is the London Array which covers about 50 square miles of the Thames estuary. There are several of these monstrosities in the North Sea, none of them economical in real world terms.

 

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That image sort of reminds me of the old 'space invaders' arcade game that I used to love playing Asp. 

 

Do these off shore windfarms cause ships any trouble as I imagine the more that pop up the more you will have to dodge them all.

 

I saw this interactive map a few weeks ago and it shows all the windfarms in the UK and part of Ireland.

 

You can click on the tabs to view those which are currently operational, consented, under construction or in the planning stage (or a combination of either/all) and can click on individual dots too for more info or even search by postcode/area.

 

We could be taking off soon as there's a lot of dots on the UK map.

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/9645593/Interactive-map-every-wind-farm-site-in-the-UK.html

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Nice toy Diz!

 

All they need to do now is add to it information about the total cost of each windfarm to buid and maintain - and the total value of the electricity each has produced.

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Onshore wind has the advantage of being one of the most affordable renewable energy sources. Generating electricity from onshore wind turbines typically costs around 7–9p per kWh, which is around half the cost of offshore wind and a quarter of the costs of solar photovoltaic panels. It is also slightly cheaper, on average, than nuclear power. Onshore wind generation is still slightly more expensive than fossil fuels (generating electricity from gas power plants currently costs between 4.1 and 7.5 p/kWh), but its price is expected to fall in the coming years.

 

The full article is here and worth reading before replying (dated Sept 2012)

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/sep/25/climate-change-windpower

 

I wonder HOW they can state that wind power sourced electricity comes out 'slightly' cheaper than nuclear though as in reality considering firstly the hourly rates that designers working in the nuclear industry get paid... and then he huge cost to not only build, but to run, maintain and keep safe these nuclear power stations SURELY a few windmills SHOULD be MASSIVELY cheaper as at the end of the day they are only a simple structure that spins in the wind.

 

Mmmmm ... to me that sort of says that in the greater scheme of things wind farms are indeed a waste of time and money and are a very costly/non productive solution to an alternative energy production source.

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Think you hit the nail on the head with your final sentence there Diz!

 

How they can claim that 7-9p per kWh for onshore wind power is only "slightly" more expensive than 4-7.5p per kWh for gas generation beggars belief. According to the maths I was taught at school, that makes onshore wind power anywhere between 20% and 75% more expensive than gas - with off shore wind power twice as expensive again.

 

So, we've got gas generation which can be ramped up and scaled back at will to meet changes in demand - with hundreds of years worth of gas sitting right beneath our feet - or eyesore onshore wind turbine farms sprawling across some of the most unspoilt and beautiful areas we have left which only generate at all when the wind happens to blow and costs maybe half as much again, or we've got offshore windfarms causing a navigation hazard to shipping and costing up to 3 times what gas power costs.

 

Add to that the fact that increasing gas production from the North Sea, from coal reserves, or from shale gas, will reduce the cost of gas for domestic heating and you've got to ask yourself what planet are these eco-freaks and the politicians they have in their pockets on?????

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Gas, Biomass, Nuke, Hydro, Tidal.

 

Plenty of relatively cheap, reliable, controllable options available without blighting the landscape by filling our National Parks with wind turbines which only produce power when they feel like it.

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I am sure that I have posted this before. but as an alternative household waste can be burned in power stations to produce electricity and has the added bonus of having to send less to landfill and the resultant by product can be mixed with other ingredients to be used in road repair. Now that is a greener option if you ask me.

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You have to sort household waste before burning it, ie to get the plastics out, and in so doing it becomes more expensive. And as I said maintenance on a Nuclear power station is not cheap.

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Most of the greener options tend to be none reliable i.e. relying on the wind blowing or the sun shining. Even hydro-electric’s not exactly reliable at times of drought (remember them?) Biomass isn’t at the mercy of the weather but most of these schemes tend to end up burning something or having some other undesirable impacts on the environment.

 

Having given it some thought, Tidal and Geothermal seem to be the best options for a long term secure supply although they’re probably the most expensive and difficult to implement. The Geothermal might not seem a logical but there is more energy down there than anyone could even begin to imagine and we just need the will to tap into it.

 

Bill :)

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Think we have to spread our bets on this one, and not rely on putting all our eggs in one basket (certainly not wind). One would have hoped the Gov had the IQ to look for several birds with one stone, IE. 1) We need some massive infrastructure schemes to create employment and get the economic ball rolling.2) We need flood control systems and to harness the energy of rainfall. 3) We could do with some highway shortcuts across our esturies. So, tidal looks like a safe bet, plus hydro; and meanwhile coal and gas, until we can achieve self sufficiency. If this delays our international enviromental targets - tough; as India and China won't be giving up smoking as they industrialise.

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The government is being very sneaky here (nothing new then). The Renewable Energy Obligation forces the energy supply companies to subsidise the inefficient and expensive renewables. They, naturally, pass the increased cost to the consumer and end up looking like the bad guy leaving the government squeaky clean (don't blame us, it's those greedy multi-nationals again) and gaining revenue by the increased VAT receipts from the higher charges. Win-win.

 

However the long term aim of government is to change the energy industry from a demand led to a supply led one. Hence the introduction of the so called "smart" meter which will allow the supplier to switch off appliances in private homes at will, and in this way balance demand and supply by reducing the demand rather than (as is now the case) increasing supply. End result less power for more money. Consumer gets done over as usual. Be ready to open up your fireplaces, it could get a bit chilly!

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The idea that smart meters will be able to switch off individual appliances in your home is a scare story that's been doing the rounds on the internet for a while.

 

A meter sits on the main incoming supply, and that supply only branches into separate circuits for lights, plug sockets, cooker, heating, shower etc. AFTER the power has already passed through the meter. No meter can possibly have any idea which circuits are drawing the power passing through it, much less know what appliances are plugged into which circuits.

 

Smart meters will enable suppliers to take meter readings remotely, and will enable consumers to monitor their own energy usage in real time so they know where the power they're using is going. That's all they'll do.

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What you say is correct Inky. However the "smart" meter is just the foot in the door. Once everyone has them installed, the price of the electricity will vary throughout the day depending on the availability of power on the grid (at peak times peak price, quiet times lower price). This will mean the necessity of checking the current price before, for example, switching on the washing machine, or dishwasher, cental heating, electric heating, or any other appliance. Ultimately this will lead to "smart" appliances,connected to the "smart" meter (wirelessly probably) which will be programmed to work only when the price of the available electricity drops below a set level. Thus our electricity consumption will change from demand led to supply led, so when the wind drops to zero and the sun isn't shining the price of the available electricity will mean that household tasks we take for granted now will become too expensive. There is a trial of this technology being carried out on the Danish island of Bornholm.

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I suppose it is conceivable that things could be made to work that way but as Inky says, that’s certainly not the case at the moment. I’d often wondered how they used to work out the billing for night storage heaters because they worked something along those lines. I’m not sure I’d like the idea of a washing machine that turns itself on at three in the morning because there’s some electricity going spare or finding the electric car didn’t charge overnight because too many tried to do the washing.

 

Something along these lines could turn out to be a disaster if it resulted in investment in new stations being shelved. From what I gather, the entire UK grid is at times just one step away from total shutdown and the increasing amount of unreliable sources has to make matters even worse.

 

Bill :)

 

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The scenario of what would happen if Britain suddenly became eco responsible & everyone started switching rapidly to electric cars is unthinkable & the strain on the grid would be unbearable .At least the government would then be able to build power stations to run off petrol & diesel .

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Bill, you must realise that technology is streets ahead of "night storage heaters". The government desperately needs a way to make renewable energy competitive against fossil fuel generated energy, and sees pricing as the only way to do it. They have painted themselves into a corner by pledging to reduce CO2 emmissions to unachievable levels and we are the ones being made to pay for their mistakes. As usual.

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Variable pricing of electricity throughout the day/night is nothing new - Economy 7 has been around for decades, it's just that most people only ever connected their storage heaters or Immersion heater to it.

 

Absolutely no reason (other than initial cost) why you couldn't use it to charge up a bank of batteries over night and then run the whole household on battery power for the rest of the day.

 

As far as varying the cost of power on a minute by minute basis goes, that would require a pretty serious change in consumer law because you'd have a situation where a consumer would be using a product without being notified in advance of an increase in its price.

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You must be a trusting soul if you think this won't happen Inky. There is an Energy Bill going through Parliament now which details the reform of the electricity industry.

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Yes there is. And precisely which clauses do you think will enable energy firms to increase prices above levels contracted to by their customers without prior notification?

 

That would be a fundamental breach of both consumer law and the basic law of contracts!

 

They may well be able to specify a ceiling price and then discount at various times of day and night from there, but no way will they be able to silently charge more than a customer has agreed to.

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And when your energy supplier increases rates now do they have to have the law changed? of course not, they just tell you that they're going to do it and it's up to you to accept the change or move suppliers. No great shift there I think. You seem to be forgetting that it's the government that's driving this change not the energy suppliers, and governments are very good at telling the electorate one thing and doing something else. (This will not affect the pound in your pocket and other whoppers).

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