by Bryan Leyland

Wind power has been around for thousands of years. More than 300 years ago large areas of Holland and the Fens in the UK were drained using wind driven pumps. Because they were expensive to build and operate and the wind often did not blow when it was needed, they were replaced by low pressure steam driven pumping engines that, by today’s standards, were inefficient and extremely expensive. The drive for efficiency and low cost led to them being replaced with higher pressure steam engines, diesel engines and finally electric pumps. Modern wind farms still suffer from high cost and intermittent operation…

A report by the American Tradition Institute entitled “The Hidden Costs of Wind Electricity”

[2] shows a different picture because it ignores subsidies and factors in the costs of reserve plant, the fuel it will burn and transmission costs. As a result the US Energy Information Administration price of 8.2 cents for the bare cost of wind becomes 15.1 cents when subsidies are removed and the cost that wind imposes on the system is included. My own calculations on the cost of wind power in New Zealand came to a similar conclusion.

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