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Reason Foundation

Wind energy: Blowin' in the wind, or just blowin'?

Samuel Staley
November 30, 2008, 6:05am

For those hoping wind energy is going to be the next great innovation for saving us from climate change, the Energy Tribune has a sobering report on the effects of wind energy programs in Europe:
Independent reports have consistently revealed an industry plagued by high construction and maintenance costs, highly volatile reliability and a voracious appetite for taxpayer subsidies. Such is the economic strain on taxpayer funds being poured into wind power by Europe's early pioneers -- Denmark, Germany and Spain – that all have recently been forced to scale back their investments.
And the U.K.? It's an "ideal case study" for political and economic reasons. Nonetheless,
Ofgem, which regulates the U.K.'s electricity and gas markets, has already expressed its concern at the burgeoning tab being picked up by the British taxpayer which, they claim, is "grossly distorting the market" while hiding the real cost of wind power. In the past year alone, prices for electricity and natural gas in the U.K. have risen twice as fast as the European Union average according to figures released in November by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. While 15 percent energy price rises were experienced across the E.U., in the U.K. gas and electricity prices rose by a staggering 29.7 percent. Ofgem believes wind subsidy has been a prime factor and questions the logic when, for all the public investment, wind produces a mere 1.3 percent of the U.K.'s energy needs.
This is just a snippet of the criticism for wind.

Samuel Staley is Research Fellow


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