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UK Energy Minister — Windfarms are “extremely inefficient and costly”

Fiona Harvey — Environmental Correspondent — The Guardian — November 16, 2012

John Hayes: ‘windfarms will not replace gas or nuclear’

The energy minister has revealed, in a letter seen by the Guardian, the extent of his misapprehensions about wind.

Windfarms are “extremely inefficient and costly” and will not be able to replace gas or nuclear power generation, according to a letter sent by the Conservative energy minister, John Hayes, which reveals the extent of his antipathy to the technology.

It is well known that Hayes is sceptical about onshore wind and he wasslapped down by his boss at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc), Ed Davey, last month for saying that “enough is enough” for windfarm growth. But the letter gives the clearest account of his objections and is likely to concern proponents because it repeats misapprehensions about the technology.

In a letter to the chief executive of South Holland district council, seen by the Guardian, the energy minister said: “Wind turbines … create barely a trickle of nonstorable electricity and none at all when wind speed is unsuitable. They will always have to be backed up by conventional power stations because of their unreliability. Because the wind by nature is intermittent and cannot generate a steady output of energy to supply constant demand, even thousands of wind turbines won’t replace gas or nuclear power generation.”

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