Data released by one of the largest green energy companies shows wind farms producing enough electricity only to boil two to three kettles at a time.
At one stage last week, three big wind farms even took electricity out of the National Grid - to run basic power supplies on site - rather than actually supplying electricity to households.
The wind farms’ owner said that in still conditions electricity “import” can occur for a few hours until the wind picks up. Such a phenomenon is known in the industry as “parasitic consumption”. --
While the snapshot analysed by the Telegraph shows how little electricity was produced by some wind farms on still, summer days, there have been other times in the past month when wind farm owners have been paid by the National Grid to shut down in order not to over load the electricity supply system.
Such payments - known as constraint payments - have reached £7.5 million for the first three weeks of August.
In other words, claim critics, there are times when turbines produce too much electricity and moments when they do not produce enough.
The Government has been keen to promote wind energy in its attempt to meet a European Union-wide target of providing 15 per cent of energy needs from renewable energy by 2020. The Labour government introduced a consumer subsidy, added on to electricity bills, to encourage the construction of wind farms.
That subsidy is predicted to rise to £6 billion by 2020.
John Constable, director of Renewable Energy Foundation, a think tank which has been critical of wind farms, said: “Professional analysts have long known that fluctuating wind turbine output is poorly correlated with demand, but RWE’s new website is a very valuable addition to the data available to the general public, and will encourage informed debate about the relative potential for different renewable technologies.
"The truth will be painful for some, but the facts have to be faced sooner or later.”
Dr Constable added: “The uncontrollably variable output of wind power already imposes significant grid and system management costs on the consumer, costs which are set to grow dramatically; we need to ask ourselves whether the EU renewables targets for 2020 are really affordable.”
Read the entire Telegraph article here
Also on cold winter days - when the wind does not blow - wind farms have to rely on "parasitic consumtion".