When the Wick Ain’t Worth the Candle

wind turbines

How to separate Councils (and their ratepayers) from their money.


Giant fans: costly; unsightly; noisy; inefficient; pointless, because they can never reduce CO2 emissions; the cause of millions of bird and bat deaths each year; and built with rare earths, the mining and processing of which is turning China into a toxic wasteland – what’s not to like?

Notwithstanding the growing list of dubious “benefits”, it appears that Councils in the UK couldn’t wait to sling up a few little fans of their very own.  Their blind wind-rush is unlikely to end well.  Here’s The Telegraph’s take on a tale of municipal woe.

Councils waste millions on ineffective wind turbines that will take 190 years to repay
The Telegraph
Claire Carter
26 December 2013
Energy experts condemned use of small wind turbines after Telegraph reveals many are so inefficient they will never repay their value, costing taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds

Councils are wasting millions of pounds on wind turbines that are not working or will take hundreds of years to repay because they are generating as little as £13 worth of energy a month.

Local authorities spent hundreds of thousands of pounds installing the turbines in an effort to meet renewable energy targets.

However, some have not produced any energy at all in the last year because of faults, a Freedom of Information request disclosed.

Some turbines generate so little energy they would take hundreds of years to repay their original value. 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.

In Eastleigh, Hampshire a turbine costing almost £30,000 was installed in 2005. Last year the turbine generated 520 kilowatt hours of energy (kWh).

Taking 30p as the average price of energy per kWh under the feed-in tariff, this turbine generates £156 worth of energy a year or just £13 a month. At this rate it would take 190 years to repay its original cost.

In Leeds a wind turbine costing £62,000 was installed in 2009 in an inner city sports complex, but generated no energy last year due to faults.

In Derbyshire, a turbine costing £89,000 was installed in 2004 but has failed to produce any energy since September 2011 due to a fault.

The council said it was “disappointed” adding that the company which supplied the turbine no longer existed.

In Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire the council spent £30,000 on two turbines, which generated 477kWh of electricity last year.

These turbines are on a lower tariff, which varies between 10.21p and 3.3p per kWh, and produced £73.94 worth of power last year, a rate that would take 405 years to recoup their value.

However, the council said the “meter wasn’t operating properly” and it usually produces 3,478 kWh, but this still means it would take more than 55 years to repay its cost.

Dr John Constable, director at the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF), said the poor performance of wind turbines showed how they were an ineffective form of renewable energy.

He said: “Wind energy is an experiment, and sometimes the lessons learnt are hard and dearly bought. The truth is that foolishly ambitious targets and silly levels of subsidy have overheated the wind industry, resulting in defective technologies and poor installations.”

He said smaller turbines, which cover the turbines given in the responses, are usually only expected to last between ten and 15 years.

Of the handful of local authorities that responded to the freedom of information request about council-owned wind turbines, only three authorities had wind turbines that would take less than 10 years to generate enough to repay their original cost.

Rushcliffe council said it had looked at ways to increase efficiency but found the wind speed was “relatively low” for the site. It also admitted due to “unexpected” high maintenance costs and low generation rates “it is unlikely the council will make a financial saving within the anticipated lifespan of the turbine”.

Other authorities admitted their wind turbines are not producing the energy expected. Two turbines in Staffordshire were installed at a cost of £48,545 in 2011. Last year they produced 12,986kWh. Under the feed-in-tariff this will take more than 12 years to repay.

Mark Winnington, cabinet member for economy and infrastructure at the council, said tests were ongoing as “energy output is lower than expected.”
The Telegraph

Sometimes, the wick just ain’t worth the candle.


Smart Councils would have simply cut out the
middle-man and invested in the end result.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. What the councils need is a few of these– they are affordable, they make eye-catching tokens and they are every bit as useful for electricity generation. Not only that, but they come completely free of any of the problems attributable to industrial wind turbines.

  2. Anyone who still thinks wind turbines are a viable source of electricity, is brain-dead. There is enough good, solid, reliable, information available now, that there is NO excuse for that kind of stupidity! Wind weasels feed on greed and stupidity. Don’t be their free lunch!!!

  3. Martin Hayles says:

    Well fancy that STT, the Derbyshire council said they were ‘disappointed’ the installers of the 10 yr old turbine ‘no longer existed’. Good to see the peoples representatives of Derbyshire know a short to medium term investment when they see one. They could do some great stuff with ‘other peoples money’ in the long term.

    The Notts council appear saddened that ‘the meter wasn’t operating properly. Wasn’t what! I’m fairly sure that my business partner wouldn’t be all that chuffed to hear that I didn’t get the crop in because the tractor wasn’t working (there’s that word the parasites hate) properly.

    Here on Yorke Peninsula, after much poking and prodding and many, many red faces, our local members came to their senses and saw the scam that is the Ceres Project. We haven’t won yet and due to the corrupt nature of most levels of governance we may not.

    BUT.. we have won the moral argument and we have won the economic argument.

    It must be said that this was much to the chagrin of the “Guru”, callous by name, callous by nature. A poor specimen of a man, but a bottom feeding, scum-sucking man just the same. It has only been in the order of a couple of millennia since the Hellenic Hellfires have been so utterly humiliated. Oh well…..there’s probably a bit more to scrounge from poor suffering taxpayers to fund the not-so-hot rock project (see Petratherm) and there’s always destroying fracking Tasmania.

    People of Great Britain, stand up and fight. People of North America, stand up….NEVER give in. Peoples of the EU…WAKE UP , green socialism DOES NOT WORK. Never has, never will.

    We will overcome.

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