Tuesday 25th October 2016                 Change text size:

Industry slams ‘flawed’ Civitas wind power report

Industry slams ‘flawed’ Civitas wind power report

Members of the renewable energy sector have criticised a report into wind power by right wing think-tank Civitias, claiming it “ignores the reality“. Alex Blackburne looks into it.

A report by Civitas, the Institute for the Study of Civil Society, has labelled the wind energy sector as “inordinately expensive” and “ineffective at cutting CO2 emissions”.

Unsurprisingly, industry bodies have hit back at the claims. Some stated that the think-tank’s assertions are “outdated and inaccurate“, whilst others accused Civitas of “ignoring the reality” of renewable energy.

The report comes just a few days after RenewableUK, the trade association for the wind, wave and tidal industry, said that wind power in December and early January had contributed a record share of the UK’s electricity demand.

The organisation was therefore predictably critical of the Civitas report, which also claims rather boldly that “there is no economic case for wind power“.

Dr Gordon Edge, RenewableUK’s director of policy, said, “The UK’s energy policy over the next ten years will play a critical part in our economic success.

“Offshore wind in particular has the potential to revitalise our manufacturing sector, with the promise of over 70,000 jobs.

“This report, based on outdated and inaccurate information, does nothing to advance the debate.”

Written by Ruth Lea, an economist who is notoriously sceptical about climate science and renewable energy, the report is titled, Electricity costs: the folly of wind power.

Just one look at some of the climate change myths that Blue & Green Tomorrow published over the festive period immediately pales many of Lea’s claims and beliefs into complete insignificance.

It’s alarming that someone of supposed intelligence – she read statistics at both York and Bristol – can possess such an ill-informed opinion.

The main criticism, and a fundamental flaw of the Civitas report, was that it missed a key point about renewable energy. Wind, solar and wave, for example, are less effective on their own, but used in conjunction with one another, they have the ability to completely transform our energy market, whilst also ensuring that our future is more sustainable.

A spokesperson for 100% renewable electricity provider, Good Energy, said, “Our future energy mix is not just about utilising any one technology, but using a range of different resources to harness the huge renewable energy potential of the UK“.

Paul Thompson, head of policy at the Renewable Energy Association (REA), echoed this.

“The beauty of renewables is that they complement each other, offering reliability and energy security when operating as part of a balanced energy mix“, he said.

“Wind clearly has a vital role to play, with considerable opportunities for developing jobs and expertise, particularly offshore.”

Dr John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, said the Civitas report “highlights concerns about the overall costs of current ambitions for renewables“, and that a “rethink about the scale and pace of UK renewables is now urgently needed“.

The Department of Energy & Climate Change’s (DECC) 2050 pathways calculator, designed by its chief scientific adviser, Professor David MacKay, “offers a better estimate of the costs and benefits of low carbon energy strategies”, according to the REA’s Thompson.

“According to [MacKay’s] calculations”, Thompson continued, “a 42% renewables, 31% nuclear and 27% gas energy future offers the best value for money”.

More and more countries – particularly ones in Europe – are placing an increased focus on wind.

Under its pledge to become 100% renewable by 2020, Scotland is trialling an innovative turbine that produces four times more energy than regular ones.

Similarly, Denmark is also looking at turning 100% renewable, this time by 2050. Widely regarded as the world leaders in wind power, the Danes will aim to reach this target with a massive fleet of wind farms across the country.  

Paving the way for the UK are energy providers like Good Energy. Their 100% renewably sourced electricity pledge allows individuals to power their homes, whilst also annulling any emissions.

To convert to renewable energy, get in touch with Good Energy.

It’s clear from the industry responses that wind power is far from ineffective. In fact, it is completely necessary, especially for the UK, in creating a sustainable future.

You can help us achieve this by investing in the sector. Get in touch with your financial adviser, and they’ll show you how. If you don’t have one, fill in our form and we’ll connect you to a specialist ethical one.

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