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Statistic 5

In October 2014, a major study of anemometer data from airports, provided substantive evidence which even the most fanatical wind turbine lover must surely recognise and accept. The study covered a span of 25 degrees of longitude, and ten of latitude and includes 43 ‘monitoring’ sites over a period of nine years; over 6.5 million wind-speed observations are included.

A full summary may be found on the National Wind Watch web site. The original download document is: “Wind Power Reassessed: A review of the UK wind resource for electricity generation” by Dr Capell Aris, published jointly by the Scientific Alliance and the Adam Smith Institute.


In brief:

Statistics can be made to prove almost anything, but the one constant is the inconsistency and unreliability of power generation by wind, particularly when compared with the absolute reliability of tidal power or nuclear power - or coal, or hydro, or oil, or just about any other form of power generation, even French imports.

The Key Issues

A car wants to average 60mph climbing a 1 mile hill and then descending it. It only manages 30 mph on the way up. How fast must it travel on the way down?

CLICK if you don’t know the answer.

Statistic 1

The UK, in 2012, had around 3600 wind turbines and successive governments’ stated intent has been to supply 20% of the country’s demand from ‘renewables’ by 2020.

Hence by 2020 the UK will need 21,176 turbines.

Statistic 3

If there are 3600 wind turbines in the UK and:

Hence each turbine contributes 311 KW, or about 150 electric kettles!

Hence a turbine powers 150 kettles.

The developers of wind farms use similarly misleading statistic to extol the benefits of wind power. The most publicised is probably the number of houses a turbine (array) will supply. We’ll let a representative of Centrica explain how the 2.2GW array planned for the Irish Sea (Rhiannon) would have supplied 1,693,600 homes:

The industry standard used to predict output is agreed with the Advertising Standards Authority – and allows developers to quote anticipated generation from offshore windfarms over the most recently available 5 year period.  We have looked at historical data from various wind farms which have been operating in the UK for many years.  The data collected suggest 29% of the theoretical maximum output of a potential 19,272GWh. (the five year average load factor for offshore wind farms in the UK is taken from the Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics: table 6.5, chapter 6, page 187).   This means that we could expect to generate 5,580GWh.  One gigawatt hour is equal to one million kilowatt hours (the units used on most household electricity bills). 

According to recent Ofgem figures, the average household uses 3,300Kwh each year. 

HENCE 5,580Gwh would meet the electricity needs of 1,693,600 homes annually.

This is valid only if:

  1. Homes only use power when the wind is blowing between certain limits (not too little, not too much).
  2. Homes operate at the same power profile over any 24 hour period (subject to 1).
  3. Wind generation never exceeds demand (a pretty safe statistic!)

The statement accepts that turbines only deliver (on average!) 29% of their quoted output.

Statistic 2

Lies, damn lies …

Statistic 4 - Government Statistics

Early in 2013, the government produced its Energy Trends report, of which Section 5 refers specifically to Electricity.

It reveals some interesting facts:

4th qtr consumption in 2012 was down 1.3% on 2012

Coal supplied power was UP nearly 50% at 34% of total

Oil was DOWN nearly 24% at 1% of total

Nuclear was up nearly 15% at 21% of total

Wind was up nearly 54% at 5.7% of total.

Onshore wind’s share of electricity supplied including net imports, was 3.2% for Q3 2012.

Progress indeed!!

Total  Power requirement - 80TWh

Supplied by all those Wind turbines - 4.7TWh

It is more difficult to determine what ISN’T a key issue than what is! If you can’t find what you are looking for directly, try the Search facility. This will find any occurrence of a word anywhere in the web site. (It won’t find words in the linked documents though.)

If you think there is a KEY ISSUE which we have missed, please email us. No promises, but we’ll look at it.

Claims that there is always somewhere in the UK where the wind is blowing are correct, but only sufficient to generate 2% or less of full wind fleet output. The power output modal average is approximately 800 MW, 8% of nameplate capacity. The probability that the wind fleet will ever produce full output is vanishingly small.

Power exceeds 90% of available power for only 17 hours pa


Power exceeds 80% of available power for 163 hours pa


Power is below 20% of available power for 20 weeks pa


Power is below 10% of available power for 9 weeks pa

Taking UK, Irish & European wind farms together, 90% output is reached on only 4 hours pa

It is less than 20% for more than 6 months of the year.