Study on turbine lifespan 'just more anti-wind propaganda'

Study on turbine lifespan 'just more anti-wind propaganda'

This article by Julian Scola is cross-posted from the European Wind Energy Association blog.

The anti-wind energy Renewable Energy Foundation yesterday published an “anonymously peer-reviewed” study by wind energy critic Professor Gordon Hughes (author of ‘The myth of green jobs’ and ‘Why wind energy is so expensive’) claiming that the economic life of wind turbines is 10-15 years rather than the 20-25 years stated by the wind industry.

Given that the author and publisher have a history of attacking wind energy and the fact that they do not say who peer-reviewed the study, perhaps one should not take the study too seriously. But that does not stop it being reported in the British media.

But at least some papers showed some scepticism. The Financial Times reported that the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change rejected Prof Hughes’ findings. “Our expectations of wind turbine lifetimes are based on rigorous analysis and evidence,” the department said. “Britain’s oldest commercial turbines at Delabole in Cornwall have only recently been replaced after 20 years of operation, and the technology has come on in leaps and bounds since that project started generating in 1991.”

The Financial Times also quotes Dale Vince, the founder of Ecotricity, one of the UK’s oldest renewable energy companies, saying the study was “just more anti-wind propaganda."

“Today’s turbines have been designed and built to last 25 years,” he said. “In fact Ecotricity’s first turbine was built 16 years ago using old technology and is performing better than ever and will still be around for its 25th birthday.”

RenewableUK’s Director of Policy, Dr. Gordon Edge, also rejected the study, saying  “it’s absurd to focus purely on the past as this report does, and pretend that that’s the way things are going to be in the future.”

“If what REF is claiming were true, then the industry simply wouldn’t be able to raise money–the fact that investors have remained confident in the wind energy sector demonstrates their confidence in the technology.”

In Scotland The Herald quotes Jenny Hogan, director of policy for Scottish Renewables, saying, “Let’s also remember that Gordon Hughes’s previous research on wind energy has been described by the UK Energy Research Council’s Dr Robert Gross and others at Imperial College, London, as ‘economically irrational, a nonsense scenario’ and ‘economically absurd, spurious and misleading’.”

The Renewable Energy Foundation claims to be “a registered charity promoting sustainable development for the benefit of the public by means of energy conservation and the use of renewable energy” although [its] website is made up almost exclusively of criticism of wind energy.

Related articles:

Fact check: American Tradition Institute's Taylor and Tanton blowing smoke on wind incentive, December 20, 2012

TVA named 'Utility of Year' for pioneering wind power in Southeast, December 3, 2012

AWEA honors Alabama Power for using wind power to save dollars for Southeastern customers, December 3, 2012

Opinion: Wind energy delivers good value for Montana customers, November 26, 2012

First Wind's Bull Hill project now on line, highlights wind's affordability, November 20, 2012

Fact check: Exelon-funded report inflates wind integration costs, November 2, 2012

Alabama Power 'doubles down' on wind, October 9, 2012

IEA report finds cost of wind generation dropping as technology improves, June 7, 2012

WINDPOWER 2012 Update: Transmission for wind in western U.S.: Lower cost, lower variability, June 5, 2012

New study: Wind power can save Midwestern consumers between $3 billion and $9.5 billion annually by 2020, May 23, 2012

PTC, wind power bring cost savings to Iowa utility customers, May 10, 2012

Fact check: Lomborg lacking on wind's economics, emissions reductions, March 23, 2012

Mich. Public Service Commission: Renewable energy cheaper than coal, March 2, 2012

Fact check: American Enterprise Institute FAIL on study of wind costs, February 29, 2012

More savings for ratepayers in Southeast as Louisiana utility ups wind purchases, January 26, 2012

Southeast sees consumer savings, jobs from wind, but tax credit extension needed, January 10, 2012

Is wind power holding electricity costs down?, January 3, 2012


More in Uncategorized

Into the Wind provides the latest news and expert opinion from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

1501 M Street, NW, Suite 900 | Washington, DC 20005

Phone: 202.383.2500 | Fax: 202.383.2505

Sitemap | Privacy | Terms of Use

Copyright 2020 American Wind Energy Association. All Rights Reserved.