A study by the Renewable Energy Foundation shows that England and Wales are not windy enough to generate electricity at the rates projected for them. Government targets are based on wind farms running at 30% of capacity. But most farms in England and Wales are generating only around 25%. The two poorest performers have rates of no more than 7.7% and 8.8% respectively.
In the UK, only the wind farms in Scotland and those on the Orkney and Shetland isles run above 30% of capacity. But those sites face other problems. They are far from the main consuming areas, so significant amounts of electrical power are lost in transmission. Moreover, they are often located in ecologically sensitive areas. One example is the projected wind farm on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer-Hebrides. The site is controversial since it is located near important bird sanctuaries.
This illustrates how difficult it has become to find acceptable sites for wind farms in Europe. The Renewable Energy Foundation has concluded that the most effective sites for wind energy are off-shore near major cities.
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