Wind and the price of electricity in UK

From a post at wuwt  (EU violates Aarhus Convention in ‘20% renewable energy by 2020’ program) :

Mark Duchamp, Executive Director of EPAW, points that Mr. Swords initiated his recourse one and a half years ago, as it was already obvious that the European Commission was imposing an enormously costly and ineffective policy to EU Members States without properly investigating the pros and cons. “It is high time that Brussels be held accountable for the hundreds of billions that have been squandered without a reality check on policy effectiveness” says Mark. “To spend so much money, a positive has to be proven. – It hasn’t.”
He [Pat Swords] continues: “Electricity costs are soaring to implement these dysfunctional policies, which have by-passed proper and legally-required technical, economic and environmental assessments. Not only is the landscape being scarred as thousands of wind farms are being installed, but people in the vicinity are suffering health impacts from low frequency noise, while birdlife and other wildlife is also adversely impacted. It is long overdue that a STOP was put to this type of illegal and dysfunctional policy development and project planning.”

So just how has windpower affected the UK electricity prices. Presumably if Swords is correct then the price of electricity will have increased at a greater rate than the fuel used to generate it. With words like "soaring" used these differences must be substantial.

Looking at data from http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/statistics/source/prices/qep213.xls you get this graph.

Interesting! Less of a soaring price than gas or coal
So is this just another distortion from the watts crowd?

If windpower were a driving factor then perhaps the energy cost will appear as a bigger budget item in the countries with higher windpower generation.
So let's have a look at germany:
compared to UK
compared to Denmark

So with UK having the lowest penetration of windpower of the three it also has the biggest Utilities cost (this of course includes a number of utilities not just electricity.

How about Cradle to grave costs. Here is the build / working breakdown of costs over 20 years:
Project: Single wind turbine (800kw)
Location: Balloo Wood, Bangor, Co. Down, Northern Ireland
Turbine: 800kw Enercon E48
Dimensions: 56m hub height, 24m blade length, 80m overall height
NGR: 350760E 379503N (lat 54.6411N, long 5.6656W)
Status: Operational

build £        889,650.00 install
planning etc £        434,583.00 install
maintenance/year for delivered 280kwh £             562.49 per year
routine expenses £         30,000.00 per year
load factor28%
deliverd energy280kwh
Balancing Cost £               0.014 per kWh
Short term Reserve £               0.007 per kWh
total install cost= £     1,324,233.00
install cost/delivered kwh £           4,729.40
conventional backup costs/year £         51,544.08 per 280 kWh/year
running cost/year £         82,106.57 per 280 kWh/year
over n years25
total install over 25 yrs £     1,324,233.00
running cost over 25 yrs £     2,052,664.13
total cost over 25 yrs £     3,376,897.13
decomissioning cost (guess=.5*build) £        444,825.00
total cradle to grave cost £     3,821,722.13
energy generated over 25 yrs61362000kWh
cost per kwh over 25 yrs £               0.062 per kWh

most data from
This seems a reasonable figure but the decommissioning costs are pure guess work. The life time of most wind turbines is believed to be 25 years. The warranty period is 12years for this turbine.

A closer look at Germany/france:
For example:

Germany 2012 Note price Note Double peak

Germany 2012 Note price note single peak at peak volume

 PV electricity produced in Germany
check PV produced on Germany on daily basis from 2010

How about nuclear??


  1. The graph you show does not go beyond 2009, not taking into account recent electricity price hikes, and the reversal in the trend of gas prices.
    In Germany and Denmark, where windpower accounts for 10-20% of electricity produced, households pay 100% more for their electricity than in most of Europe. Governments raise proportionally more the price applicable to households, so as not to penalise industries too much. But in doing this, they raise fuel poverty among their people.
    In the UK, where wind-produced electricity is less than 5%, electricity prices have started to soar a couple of years ago, but they will continue if the ill-conceived windfarm policy of the government is not stopped.

    Mark Duchamp

    1. Perhaps I posted an earlier plot that only went to 2009. The one currently on the page is up to date (may 2012). Certainly gas is on its way down but so is electricity.

      Energy poverty in the UK is defined as when fuel costs 10% of income. Income has decreased for most of the uk so many more are in energy poverty, but this is exacerbated by the cost of fuel in general.

      I will see if I can find similar figures for Sweden and Germany. If you know were to look (preferably a government site) then please let me know.


  2. You are comparing apples and oranges.

    Here is a comment to your posting, made on the famous blog wattsupwiththat.com

    "Regardless, wind mills are THE most expensive way there is to generate power, so no matter how you cut it, electricity prices are higher than they would be if wind mills were not in use."

    I would only add: solar energy is even more expensive than wind.


    Mark Duchamp

    1. I am willing to beleive that Wind Turbines produce more expensive energy than CCGT. However Nuclear is a different matter.

      As you categorically state that wind is the most expensive energy, I assume you could send me the build to end of decommissioning costs for nuclear. I would be very grateful if you cold send this with references. Thanks

    2. I don't have the figures: I don't support the nuclear industry, sorry.

  3. Any chance you have figures for Gas or Coal?