Recent developments in the tidal power sector are causing many to speak out against the UK government’s reliance on wind power to ensure we meet our renewable energy goals. According to The Times, if the government wants to hit its target, the UK needs to build around 7,000 more wind-turbines – a high number if one considers the amount of not-in-my-back-yard-ism and anti-wind petitioning that meets nearly every planned wind farm.
However, as tidal power expert Bob Smith (of Pulse Tidal) argues, the backlash against wind in favour of tidal is not merely the voice of those who deem turbines ugly or a blot on the landscape – despite the fact that tidal turbines are out of sight. Quoted at edie.net, Smith commented: “Most importantly, the UK needs predictable sources of energy and tidal is entirely predictable, unlike wind; because water is more dense than air.”
Aside from making use of a more predictable energy source, tidal turbines can produce more energy from a smaller turbine system – resulting in lower installation costs. This is a positive factor that is highlighted by The Times’ article ‘Tilting at Wind Farms’ in which it is written that the Confederation of British Industry estimate that meeting the government’s 2030 carbon-emissions target will increase ‘the average British household bill from £1,243 today to £1,615.90.’
The same article goes on to quote Professor Jack Steinberger of CERN particle physics laboratory, Geneva. He argues that wind power is an uneconomic waste of resources – and explained his reasons to the Royal Society in May. Wind is now considered one of the most expensive forms of energy – costing six times the amount of gas and three times as much as nuclear.
In another twist in the renewable energy saga, even if the UK heeds the words of experts like Steinberger and Smith, wind energy may still be very much part of our future. Speaking in June, the Swedish Deputy Prime Minister announced that the country will soon be in the position to export wind power. The country’s economy, and rugged geography lends itself well to wind power – and is set to benefit further if other countries are willing to buy green energy from them.
Sarah Maple writes about energy management and solar hot water production. The Green Project has been set up to give you and your community the best advice and recommendations on ways to make your home more energy efficient to reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
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