Billions wasted on wind power: study

Freaking useless, and expensive

It doesn’t matter how many times the eco-loons are told that wind is a complete and utter waste of money, they refuse to listen, as they view the monstrosities as a symbol of their cause.

Earlier this week, Matt Ridley argued that the case for wind power had been torpedoed, and now another UK study demonstrates (yet again) that wind power is highly expensive, inefficient (and ugly), claiming that wind power is ten times more expensive than using gas-fired power stations to achieve the same emissions reductions:

GOVERNMENTS are squandering billions of dollars on “uneconomic” wind farms, according to a landmark study that undermines the case for Labor’s huge renewable energy subsidies.

 Investment in wind turbines will fail to cut enough greenhouse gas emissions to justify their cost, economists warned yesterday after a detailed British analysis released this week

The conclusions challenge a cornerstone of Labor’s climate change policy as the federal government pours taxpayer funds into wind projects using direct subsidies, a planned $10 billion investment fund and renewable energy targets.

In a finding with direct relevance to Australia, the study by University of Edinburgh economics professor Gordon Hughes warns that using wind turbines to cut emissions costs 10 times the price of a gas-fired power station.

“Wind power is an extraordinarily expensive and inefficient way of reducing CO2 emissions when compared with the option of investing in efficient and flexible gas combined-cycle plans,” he concludes.

Professor Hughes, a commissioner on Britain’s Infrastructure Planning Commission and a former World Bank senior adviser, conducted his study for the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which is chaired by former Conservative chancellor Nigel Lawson.

The British study warns of the rising cost to consumers of wind power subsidies on the grounds that governments could achieve the same environmental benefits by other means at much lower cost.

Comparing a £13 billion ($19bn) outlay on a combined-cycle gas plant against a £120bn outlay on wind farms, Professor Hughes found the renewable energy option was too expensive by any standard. (source)

Note that this isn’t just about rubbishing renewable energy, this is about reducing emissions in the most cost effective manner (if you believe that such reductions are required, that is). And on any basis for comparison, wind just sucks – big time. In years to come, when they are finally abandoned,  they will be regarded as a monument to astonishing Green stupidity.

The full report (PDF) is here.


  1. Pete Whittaker via Facebook says:

    They must have ‘grown up’ on Telly-Tubbies and never got past it.

  2. ..not to mention they’re also bird killers:,0,4764344.story

    It staggers me how much this extremely inefficient, environmentally unfriendly technology is being pushed. It should be shelved completely until they’re able to overcome both those issues.

  3. Glen Balmer via Facebook says:

    Labor/Greens/Indies – progressively flushing Australia down the toilet. $250B in debt and counting (which doesn’t include the $50B NBN – they’re using Enron Accounting practices), nor this years $50B deficit. Stop this Madness TOO!!!!

    • BrownOut says:

      Watching Wayne Swan parade around whilst preaching how he saved us from the GFC – but forgetting to mention the down side of borrowing all these billions….(funny that !)

      It’s a bit like giving the country a dose of Aids to save it from a nose bleed. Thanks Wayne !

  4. Baldrick says:

    You only need to look at the share prices of leading wind turbine companies to see the future:

    Vestas is the leading and the largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world. Vestas has a total market share of 28%. The company operates plants in Denmark, Germany, India, Italy, Britain, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Australia and China.
    VESTAS share price 2 year graph. Fallen from highs of 360.10 to current value of 55.00

    Gamesa is a manufacturing company mainly concerned with the fabrication of wind turbines and the construction of wind farms. It is the market leader in Spain and is the second largest company in the sector worldwide with a market share of 15.5 % in 2008.
    GAMESA share price 2 year graph. Fallen from highs of 11.29 to current value of 2.28

    Suzlon Energy is a wind power company from India. In terms of market share, the company is the largest wind turbine manufacturer in Asia (and the fifth largest worldwide). In terms of net worth, it is the world’s most valuable wind power company.
    SUZLON share price 2 year graph. Fallen from highs of 82.35 to current value of 27.15

    The future is certainly not in wind power, unless you’re willing to take a gamble!

  5. An Australian real life example (wind does/will cost 10 times more):
    The chief of Macquarie Generation, Russel Skelton, said in Tuesday’s Australian that it would take 3,500 turbines to replace the generator at Bayswater, NSW.
    I had a look at the consequences of replacing Hazelwood, in the Latrobe Valley, with wind power, a measure being contemplated by the Government as part of its direct action plan for CO2 emissions reductions.
    The figures are mind boggling. First is the cost of the buyout of Hazelwood. Probably about $3b.
    Second is the cost of the replacement turbines. Hazelwood is 1470mw. ( say 1500mw for simple sums ). A standard 3mw turbine costs about $7m. ( ) That would be 500 towers for nominal capacity of 1500mw. But, given that the average output of these devices is only 1/4 of the nameplate capacity, (or less ), a total of at least 2000 towers would be needed to replace Hazelwood.
    Bayswater is bigger than Hazelwood, so Skelton’s figure for Bayswater is probably right.
    And 2000 turbines at $7m each works out to $14b! This is 40 windfarms with 50 turbines each, scattered around Victoria.
    Thirdly, since the wind farms will spend half their time supplying less than their average output ( by definition), the system will need open cycle gas turbine backup. And backup for even 1/3 of the windfarms capacity will require at least a 500mw of gas turbine generation. This will cost maybe $1.3b, or more. Origin just built one at Mortlake.
    Then comes the cost of the gas supply infrastructure, and connection costs to the electricity grid. In total, close to $2b.
    Finally comes the cost of the grid connection for the 40 dispersed windfarms. At least another $1b.
    So the final cost to replace Hazelwood with wind and gas is 3+14+ 2+1= $20 billion! This is more than the whole Latrobe Valley generating system is worth! Where on earth is this sort of money going to come from? And what will be the price of power with such a monumental amount of capital to service?
    And here’s the kicker. The cost of abatement. Assuming that the 16mtpa of current emissions from Hazelwood are foregone, (and not counting the gas that will be used in the scheme anyway), the cost of abatement is $1,350/tonne! This is all madness.

    • Baldrick says:

      Good article Staal … just one thing you forgot to mention – $20 billion cost to the Australian taxpayer to reduce the temperature by how many immeasurable 100th’s of a degree?

  6. uhavitbad says:

    Wind in my pants.

  7. As a fully qualified Mechanical Engineer with a Science degree who has been ridiculed, ignored and treated like crap by the likes of Labor & Greens MPs. It is great that there is this type eminent and daming research against what can only be described as the BIGGEST CON in history! No wonder the Finklestein review is so critical to want to regulate the most miniscual of blog sites in an attempt to try to flush out any opposition whatsoever to their stupid AGW. The pathetic push from these “non scientific” politicians who have never really had a clue on the facts about AGW, and today are still confusing Climate Change, CO2, Pollution, Carbon Tax, Renewable Energy, Wind Turbine Design and Construction and Solar Power. The later two are in the ball park of nuclear when it comes to costs. Most of all though nobody realises the maintenance and life span of Wind Turbines leaves a much worse legacy for our children (not grandchildren).

  8. gyptis444 says:


  9. A. C. Osborn says:

    Staal March 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm
    You forgot to add in the subsidy running costs to the taxpayer.
    We have these things springing up all over the UK. They even pay them when they can’t produce electricity because it it too windy.
    I am 65 and I have never known a period of such social & political madness.


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