LETTER:Potential power of wind farms

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The Independent Online
From Mr C. B. Moynihan

Sir: I would just like to point out that although Nicholas Schoon is correct in his statement that wind farms currently generate around one- thousandth of Britain's electricity production ("Vote of confidence in future of rubbish-to-power brokers", 3 November), his tone is somewhat misleading. This statistic is a reflection of the comparative youth of the industry rather than its future potential, and fails to take into account the rapid pace of technological advancement since the introduction of the Non-Fossil Fuel Obligation (NFFO) in 1989, for which I was ministerially responsible in the early Nineties.

The power output of the average wind turbine is set to double in the next few years. An average wind farm of 25 machines now might produce enough to satisfy the power needs of 5,000 houses. However, wind farms of the future could be able to produce twice that amount of electricity using the same number of turbines.The suggestion that we could get 10 per cent of our electricity from the wind by 2010 is no longer a figure plucked out of the air, but is a genuinely achievable goal.

The great success of the wind industry in rising to the challenge set by NFFO is demonstrated by the 50 per cent fall in prices over the last five years.

These achievements have taken a significant step towards realising the original objectives behind the establishment of NFFO: namely, the contribution towards pollution reduction and diversity, security and sustainability of energy supplies within an economically attractive and environmentally acceptable context.

Yours faithfully,

C. B. Moynihan

CMA Consultants

London, SE1

10 November

The writer was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy, 1990- 92.