In recent months the Dutch parliament has been presented with data showing that the CO2 created in the manufacture, construction and maintenance of wind turbines will not be balanced out by the CO2 savings from the ‘Green’ electricity generated during the life time of a machine.
It has been received wisdom that a wind turbine would be 15 years into its 20 to 25 year life span before it started to have an impact on CO2 reduction. This calculation was based on ‘computer models’. We now have empirical data from a number of energy grids across the world to show that the actual savings are derisory or simply non-existent. The error in the computer models derives from the fact that savings of carbon fuel used by back-up power generation are not being realised. An extreme example is the Australian state of Victoria which uses lignite (brown coal) for its base load power stations. The power stations do not use any less fuel when they reduce energy production at times of high wind turbine generated electricity. This is because it is more energy efficient to run a lignite station at full power rather than to cycle it up and down. This is true to a lesser degree for other forms of carbon energy including gas.
As I understand it, the sole purpose of wind generated electricity is to reduce the level of industry generated CO2 going into the atmosphere. 20 years of wind farms has shown us that wind turbines cannot generate cheap electricity. Advances in technology have increased known carbon energy reserves many times over and the fear of peak oil/gas is now behind us. If the only reason we have left – low CO2 emissions, has been taken away, then let us consign the wind turbine to the dustbin of history where it belongs.