A Telegraph article by Patrick Sawer before Christmas got us digging away with Google to find evidence to argue against a vehement greenie commenter, whose remarks have since been deleted, doubtless as they were so blatantly misleading.

So, we found the UK Government Dukes Chapter 5 report, which features a very nice graphic shown here.

Dukes Report - Electricity Sources

Basically, the gentleman was claiming extremely high levels of contribution to UK energy consumption, by wind power, of over 10%. A glance at the diagram above tells you he needed to get his facts right.

Here are the facts, from the government, with an analysis of the figures from the diagram above, giving percentage of electricity generated by each means:

Source Percent of output
Coal 43.6%
Natural Gas 23.4%
Nuclear 19.3%
Thermal Renewables 6.7%
Wind 2.3%
Imported Electricity 1.5%
Manufactured Fuels 1.4%
Petroleum 1.0%
Hydro 0.9%

So, to summarise:

  • Fossil – 70%
  • Nuclear – 20% (assume most of the import is from French nuclear)
  • Renewables: 10%

Renewables? Of the 10% a mere 3% comes from wind and hydro, and most of it from “thermal renewables” which are: solar thermal, deep geothermal and heat pumps.

Windmills are a waste of money, cannot be relied on as a source of power at times of peak demand, and ruin the environment. Solar panels are not much better, leaching nasty chemicals into the soil they are erected on, and we get precious little sun anyway – it’s a technology for deserts.

If you want renewables, let’s have more investment in deep geothermal and heat pumps.

And if you really want to cut down on how much electricity we have to create, perhaps investing in research to cut down the massive 62% waste in conversion, tramission and duplication of electricity might make a bigger contribution than covering the whole country in windmills.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email