One British town is in the renewable energy game for the long run — literally. The town bought two wind turbines that will take more than four centuries to pay for themselves.
The BBC reports that the two wind turbines installed in the English town of Rushcliffe will not likely produce any financial benefits for the town. Rushcliffe spent nearly $50,000 in 2004 installing the wind turbines at a county park, which doesn’t actually get much wind.
“Due to higher than anticipated maintenance costs and relatively low generation rates, it is unlikely the council will make a financial saving within the anticipated lifespan of the turbine,” said the Rushcliffe Borough Council.
The wind turbines’ poor location and mechanical problems mean that it only produced 477 kilowatt hours in 2012 and 2013. Last year, the turbine only generated about $121 worth of power, meaning that it would take 405 years for them to pay for themselves.
The Rushcliffe council, however, contended that the “meter wasn’t operating properly” and that the two turbines usually produce 3,478 kilowatt hours annually — which would still mean a 55-year payback period.
This information was obtained by the UK Telegraph as part of an in-depth investigation on how the towns all across the United Kingdom are spending millions of dollars on wind turbines that are faulty and don’t generate enough revenue to pay for themselves.
“Some turbines generate so little energy they would take hundreds of years to repay their original value,” Telegraph reported. “Experts argue that the failure of some wind turbines to recoup their value shows how small wind turbines are a poor way to generate renewable energy.”
Only three out of a handful of the towns that responded to the Telegraph’s inquiries had wind turbines with payback periods under ten years.
“Wind energy is an experiment, and sometimes the lessons learnt are hard and dearly bought,” Dr. John Constable, director at the Renewable Energy Foundation, told the Telegraph. “The truth is that foolishly ambitious targets and silly levels of subsidy have overheated the wind industry, resulting in defective technologies and poor installations.”
In Scotland, wind power developers are being criticized for cutting down millions of trees to make room for wind turbines — all in the name of independence.
The Times of London reported that about five million trees have been cut down since 2007 in order to make way for wind farms. Only about 1,957 acres of woodland were planted after the wind farms were built.
The left-leaning Scottish National Party that wants to secede from the United Kingdom has often invoked renewable energy as a path to independence.
Scottish Conservative energy spokesman Murdo Fraser told the Times, “the [Scottish National Party] is so blindly obsessed with renewable energy that it doesn’t mind destroying another important environmental attribute to make way for it.”
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