UKERC research challenges GWPF position on wind power

19 Oct 2012

Research by the UK Energy Research Centre’s Technology and Policy Assessment (TPA) theme and Imperial College Business School has been cited as part of supplementary evidence presented to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee reviewing claims made by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) on the economics of wind energy.

The evidence, made in addendum to the written and oral evidence presented by UKERC TPA Theme Leader Dr Robert Gross in 10 July as part of a one-off hearing on the topic, addressed some of the specific contentions made by Professor Gordon Hughes on behalf of GWPF on the system implications of integrating wind.

The team, comprised of UKERC experts from the Centre for Energy Policy and Technology at Imperial College London and Imperial College Business School, was invited by the Select Committee to comment on the evidence presented by GWPF back in July. Referring to evidence from a number of sources, including UKERC, the Committee on Climate Change, DECC and the National Grid, they have concluded that a number of the claims made by Professor Hughes are not supported by the available science.

The findings of forthcoming research from UKERC, examining the ranges of estimates of the costs of wind generation, as well as studies by TPA into electricity costs, offshore wind and intermittency, were all cited in response to GWPF claims that the cost of installing wind to meet 2020 targets will be £124 billion.

eer-reviewed research by UKERC estimates the figure is likely to be less than half of that, in the region of £60 billion. Further suggestions by GWPF that there is an impending threshold on how much wind the system can absorb, and that this will be passed shortly after 2015, resulting in wind having to be permanently constrained, are challenged by the team’s analysis, which finds that the amount of wind energy needed to be ‘wasted’ in the system is likely to be very small.

The authors comment: ‘In short, Professor Hughes’ contention of a 20GW cap on the input of wind to the GB power grid makes no sense at all. Curtailment will be required extremely infrequently, and the notion of a generalised 20GW limit on the amount of wind the grid can absorb is baseless. It does not align with the evidence from simulation studies or indeed a commonsense investigation of the basic statistics’.

You can read the full evidence at

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Notes to Editors:

For further information, please contact:
Lindsay Wright, Head of Communications, UKERC
020 7594 2669
Charlotte Knight, Communications Officer, UKERC
020 7594 1573

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