A report from UK thinktank IPRR (Institute for Public Policy Research) has found wind power to be an efficient and reliable source of energy, confounding critics campaigning negatively against it as a power resource.

The Guardian reports that the study also found wind power reduced reduces carbon emissions and was technically capable of providing a significant portion of the UK’s electricity, contradicting the views of Conservative backbenchers.

Wind power generation

A new study into the efficiency and reliability of wind farms has concluded that a campaign against them by Conservative backbenchers and others is not supported by the evidence.

The report, co-written by energy consultancy GL Garrad Hassan, concludes there is no technical reason why turbines should not be supported.

Reg Platt of IPRR said that while costs and planning laws should be scrutinised, the port stated “unequivocally that wind power can significantly reduce carbon emissions, is reliable, poses no threat to energy security and is technically capable of providing a significant proportion of the UK’s electricity with minimal impact on the existing operation of the grid”.

Claims to the contrary are not supported by the evidence, added Platt, who pointed out that the study had been peer-reviewed by Nick Davis, the head of the Institute of Energy at Cardiff University.

The economic model GL Garrad Hassan adopted showed that every megawatt-hour of electricity wind power produced led to carbon savings of a minimum of 350kg.

On that basis, it said, the increasing number of wind farms both on and offshore saved 5.5m tonnes in 2011, at a time when the UK is committed to meeting EU carbon reduction targets in a bid to counter climate change.

Despite being a variable energy resource, GL Garrad Hassan said it was predictable as a result of weather forecasting technology and the fact that turbines are located all around Britain, meaning that even when some areas are calm, others are likely to be windy.

DECC has predicted it could need up to 30 GW of wind power in place by 2020, compared with the current operational level of less than 7GW.

In February more than 100 Tory MPs sent a letter to David Cameron arguing for a cut in state support for onshore wind power and describing turbine technology as inefficient and less reliable than traditional power sources.

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