True cost of wind power revealed

A report by the UK Energy Research Centre has revealed that electricity generated by an offshore wind farm costs nearly twice as much as a conventional power station.

Wind farm
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Britain's "dash for wind" is well underway and the Government plans to build 10,000 new wind turbines on both land and sea over the next 10 years in a bid to meet climate change targets.

But while the price of wind power is expected to fall during that time, researchers admitted that there's a possibility the cost could rise.

The report, authored by a Government funded academic think tank, revealed that the cost of wind power was underestimated in the early 2000s and, instead of prices falling, the cost of buying and installing the turbines has increased by 51 per cent over the last five years.

And because the National Grid has to rely on gas and coal power stations to back up the electricity supply when the wind drops, the price is expected to be much higher than the 15p per unit originally mentioned.

Dr Robert Gross, who led the study, believes there is a "very small chance" that the unit price could reach 19p.

By 2020, the UK will have to generate 15 per cent of its energy via renewable sources and wind is likely to make up most of our green energy.

Currently, the average householder sees 20 per cent of their annual fuel bill (or £200) go towards the installation of green energy resources.

Electricity suppliers are also under pressure - a tenth of the electricity sold must come from green sources and by 2015 that figure rises to 15 per cent.

With the targets that need to be met over the next 10 years, Dr Gross estimates that we will still be subsidising renewable energy until "at least the mid 2020s".

What do you think? Are you happy to subsidise renewable energy in the UK or are you shocked at how much it may cost taxpayers? Leave your comments below...